Strong Bench Effort Propels Women's Basketball Into City Tournament Final

Tess Nogueira

Worcester, MA ---  Dani Davis (East Granby, CT) and Rachel Pineda (Shrewsbury, MA) reached double-digits in scoring as WPI opened the 2014-15 season with a hard-earned 55-48 victory over visiting Worcester State in a Worcester City Women's Basketball Tournament contest Saturday evening in Harrington Auditorium. 

WPI (1-0) advances to the City Tournament finals for fifth straight year and will meet the Clark-Becker winner at 3pm on Sunday.  Worcester State (0-1) will face the loser of the nightcap between the Cougars and Hawks in consolation game at 1pm. 

After Worcester State used 12-3 spurt to cut a 13-point deficit to four points at 45-41 on a Bianca Langford (Worcester, MA) basket in the paint with just under six minutes remaining, Pineda tossed in a layup to stop the rally.  Worcester State chipped away again late and was back to within three points late when WPI's Ama Biney (Worcester, MA) grabbed a long rebound of a missed 3-pointer that would have tied the game for WSU and took it the length of the floor and laid it in to push the WPI advantage edge back to five at 53-48 with 1:09 left.  The freshman then drew an offensive foul on the ensuing possession and Pineda canned two free throws with 41 seconds left to secure the win.  

The first half featured strong defense and four lead changes and three ties.  Worcester State was poised to take a 22-20 advantage into the locker room at the break following a pair of free throws by Cheyenne Jennings (Worcester, MA), but Tess Nogueira's (Merrimac, MA) offensive rebound and subsequent layup beat the buzzer and forced a 22-22 halftime deadlock. 

After Worcester State's Julie Frankian (Millbury, MA) scored the opening four points of the second stanza, the Engineers rattled off the next 17 points to transform a 26-22 deficit into a 39-26 bulge with 12:31 left on the clock.  Davis spearheaded the run with seven points while Biney added a pair of layups. 

Davis and came off the bench to score 17 and 11 points respectively and Maura Buckley (Melrose, MA) and Biney chipped in with eight and six each to led a WPI effort that saw it outscore its Worcester State reserve counterparts by an impressive 42-11 margin.  Nogueira grabbed a team-best eight rebounds to go along with four points. 

Frankian paced all players with 20 points for the Lancers, including a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line and a pair of 3-pointers.  Langford flirted with a double-double, ending with eight points and a game-high 12 rebounds while Nani Perez (Worcester, MA) doled out three assists and Kiesha Jones (Worcester, MA) swiped four steals. 

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Clark Defeats Becker; Advances to Worcester City Tournament Championship Game

Worcester, MA ---  Brooke Brennan (Weston, MA) logged 20 points to pace all scorers as Clark defeated Becker, 80-20, in the nightcap of the Worcester City Women's Basketball Tournament hosted by WPI on Saturday night. The Cougars (1-0), the defending champions, advance to face WPI in the 3pm title game on Sunday while the Hawks (0-1) will face Worcester State in the consolation at 3pm. 

Brennan also had five steals and four assists as Sam O'Gara (Worcester, MA) added 17 points, four helpers and five swipes and Aretha Sullivan (Worcester, MA) pitched in with 11 points, seven rebounds, five assists and five steals. Victoria Russo (Arlington, MA) and Sami Dokus (Littleton, MA) hauled in seven rebounds apiece. 

Becker's Brooke Martel (Griswold, CT) narrowly missed a double-double with 10 points and a game-best eight rebounds to go with four steals. Gabrielle Gallo (Northport, NY) pulled down seven boards and blocked a pair of shots. 

After Clark opened the game with a 14-0 run, Becker's Kaitlyn Rose (North Attleboro, MA) broke through with a jumper at 13:42 to put the Hawks on the board. Later in the frame, Marissa Turner (Coventry, RI) used a layup at 8:17 to disrupt a 14-1 run by the Cougars. Clark closed out the half on a 13-7 run highlighted by 3-pointers by Brennan and Sullivan. After the break, Clark never saw its advantage cut below the halftime (41-12) margin of 29.