Worcester, MA --- Wheaton received game-highs of 18 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks and a key 3-pointer with 1:40 remaining from sophomore Kiley Shoemaker (Fayetteville, NY) en route to a hard-earned 65-60 NEWMAC women's conference victory over host WPI on Saturday afternoon.
The Engineers never went away during a Saturday Alumnae Day matinee at Harrington Auditorium, closing within two points twice in the final 38 seconds on baskets by Dani Davis (East Granby, CT) and Rachel Pineda (Shrewsbury, MA).
Lyons junior Laura Pierce (Hampstead, NH) added 16 points, seven assists, and matched Shoemaker with two steals. Meanwhile sophomore Rebecca Arnone (Litchfield, NH) 14 points, including 4-of-4 shooting on free throws. Arnone hit two of those free throws following Davis' late jumper as WPI fouled on the inbound.
Abbie Brickley (Sandy, UT) only had six points, but made two foul shots with seven seconds left to make it a two-possession game and set the final score.
Wheaton improved to 18-4 overall and 13-4 in conference, giving the Lyons a game advantage over Smith and a 1.5 game lead over Coast Guard and Wellesley.
Davis led WPI (8-13, 6-10 NEWMAC) with 14 points, to go with six rebounds and three assists, while Pineda followed with 12 points, three rebounds and a team-leading six assists. Pineda did most of her damage in the second half, coming alive for eight points, while Davis scored seven points on both side of halftime.
The hosts went up, 16-10, over Wheaton just past the midway point of the first half as Siena Mamayek (Melrose, MA) and Lisa Mendez (Yonkers, NY) engineered a four-point swing on a layup and two free throws within 17 seconds.
The Lyons countered with the next 10 points as Brickley started the rally with 8:36 to go in the first half. Just 2:26 later, Wheaton had reversed the momentum, as Shoemaker exploded for two jumpers, a rebound and a blocked shot, all over 56 seconds to help make it 20-16 Wheaton with 6:10 to go before halftime.
The visitors twice sent the lead to six, first on a Pierce 3-pointer to make it 23-17 with 4:03 left in the half, and then on a pair of free throws by Kirsten Ferrari (Lynn, MA) to set the score at 26-20 with 1:46 left before the intermission.
Jumpers from the WPI's Pineda and Davis helped draw it to 28-24 at the half.
The Engineers twice held a one-point lead in the second half, first on a Sarah Rogers (Colchester, CT) jumper and then midway through the period when Mendez sank her second 3-pointer to put the hosts briefly in front, 41-40.
Just over three minutes later, with 6:39 to play, Shoemaker converted on a jumper to put Wheaton back in control with a 50-44 advantage.
Mendez, a sophomore, finished third on the team with eight points, while Tess Nogueira (Merrimac, MA) and Jackie DeCristoforo (North Kingstown, RI) each chipped in six. DeCristoforo made her first career start in a revamped WPI lineup.
Ferrari totaled eight points for the Lyons, while Brickley pulled in nine rebounds.
The battle of the boards finished tied at 36-36, but Wheaton won second chance points, 15-4. The Engineers held the edge on points in the paint, 24-12.
Next up for WPI is a Wednesday away game at 7pm out in Boston at Emerson College. Wheaton also hit the road to play against MIT at 8pm Wednesday.
Release by Carl Setterlund - WPI Athletics Intern - Emerson '14
Thanks to all the alums for returning back to campus and supporting the 2013-2014 team!