Worcester, MA --- Senior Dani Davis (East Granby, CT) canned two free throws with 12.7 seconds remaining in overtime as host WPI rallied from a double-digit second half deficit to defeat NEWMAC tri-leader Springfield 56-55 on Saturday afternoon.
The Engineers led by three in the extra session at 54-51 following a Jessica Larsen (Poway, CA) layup with 1:45 remaining. Springfield retook the advantage with four straight points by Heather Lewis (Saratoga, Springs, NY). After both teams came up empty on their ensuing possession, Davis was fouled driving in on the left block. Springfield had a chance to win following a timeout but a 3-point attempt was successfully defended by point guard Rachel Pineda (Shrewsbury, MA) following a screen.
WPI used a 7-0 spurt midway through the second half to trim a 11 point deficit down to four but the Pride quickly countered with seven of the next nine points to push the bulge back to nine at 47-38 on a Dina Pitsas (Milford, NH) jumper at the 7:06 mark. That would mark the final SC points of regulation as the Engineers went on a 9-0 run spearheaded by five points from Davis, including a game-tying layup with 23 seconds left, and a pair of Larsen baskets, to force overtime. The Crimson and Gray defense took center stage during the end of regulation, not allowing a Springfield basket in eight attempts from the field and forcing two turnovers.
The hosts sprinted out to a 7-0 lead following a 3-pointer by Lisa Mendez (Yonkers, NY) just 3:04 into the contest. Springfield evened it up 2:26 later with a seven-point spurt of its own featuring a pair of buckets by Lewis. The Pride held a three-point advantage with 1:06 remaining following a Lewis jumper only to see Amaia Gritsko (Milford, CT) respond with one of her own. Larsen canned a free throw with 12.8 seconds showing on the scoreboard for the 23-23 halftime stalemate. In all, there were six ties and three lead changes in the opening stanza.
Davis amassed a game-best 11 points for the Engineers with Ama Biney (Worcester, MA) joining her in double figures with 10 points. Gritsko narrowly missed a double-double with eight points and 14 rebounds to go along with three blocks, a pair of assists and two steals. Larson, who netted all three of her field goals in the final four minutes of regulation and overtime.
Lewis' led all players with 20 points and corralled five rebounds while senior forward Jaimie Bickelhaupt (Brookfield, CT) posted 11 points, six rebounds and a game-high four rebounds, while sophomore guard Lexi Windwer (Milton, MA) converted three triples on the afternoon, finishing the game with nine points. Junior forward Emily Gins (Fort Myers, FL) posted a game-high 15 rebounds.
WPI (13-6, 6-4 NEWMAC) heads down Park Ave. for its next game Wednesday, squaring off at city rival Clark at 7pm. Springfield (14-6, 9-2 NEWMAC) is also back in action Wednesday, hosting Smith at 5:30pm.
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