Worcester, MA --- Dani Davis (East Granby, CT) registered 16 of her game-best 21 points in the first half as WPI women's basketball knocked off visiting Coast Guard 59-50 in the NEWMAC opener for both squads on Wednesday evening.
The Engineers (5-1, 1-0 NEWMAC) never trailed in the contest and led by double digits in both halves but it wasn't easy as each time the Bears (1-3, 0-1 NEWMAC) battled back to get within a single possession.
Davis did most of her damage in the opening half, connecting on 6-of-9 shots from the floor and draining 4-of-5 3-point attempts. She spearheaded a 19-6 run in the first half by contributing 11 points, including a trio of trifectas, as the Engineers transformed a 3-3 deadlock into a 22-9 advantage midway through the first half.
WPI led 29-21 at the break but saw the visitors rattle off the opening seven points of second stanza to get back within one at 29-28 with 15:54 remaining. Later the hosts used a 9-2 spurt fueled by a Stasha Greenalch (Newington, MA) long ball to go along with four free throws by Davis and Lisa Mendez (Yonkers, NY) to the push the bulge back to double figures at 44-34 with nine minutes left. Coast Guard made one final charge, pulling to within two at 47-45 with six minutes to go but WPI canned 10 of 12 free throws over the final 5:42 to secure the victory.
Davis was the only WPI player in double digits in scoring. The senior was just one point off of her career-high of 22 set two weeks ago against UMass Dartmouth. Tess Nogueira (Merrimac, MA) and Yasmeen Luna (North Providence, RI) totaled eight and seven points respectively off the bench to help the Engineer reserves outscore their Coast Guard counterparts 24-8. Point guard Rachel Pineda (Shrewsbury, MA) pitched in with seven points, a pair of assists, two steals and two rebounds.
Meghan Fornaro (Charlton, MA) tallied 13 of her team-high 20 points in the second half for Coast Guard. The local product from Shepherd Hill Regional High School also filled the stat sheets with nine rebounds and four assists. Her nine rebounds shared game-best honors with teammate Dani Knox (Centerville, VA), who narrowly missed a double-double with eight points. Torie Sutherland (Houston, TX) and Alex Howland (Latham, NY) both tossed seven points, as the Bears enjoyed a 44-35 edge on the glass but only shot 4-of-23 (17.4%) from 3-point land.
WPI wraps up a two-game homestand on Saturday, hosting Babson at 2pm while Coast Guard concludes a three-game road trip the same day versus Wellesley at 6pm in a game played at Babson.
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