Worcester, MA --- Lauren Weston (Florence, MA) drained a close range jumper with 24.1 seconds left in the game to lift Smith to a 58-57 NEWMAC women's basketball victory over host WPI on Saturday afternoon at Harrington Auditorium.
With the win, the Pioneers (7-13, 3-8) snap a three game skid and at the same time stall the Engineers (14-7, 7-5) winning streak at three.
Ama Biney (Worcester, MA) put the hosts up one with just under a minute to play. After Weston's heroics, Mandy Castro (San Diego, CA) forced the Engineers to turn the ball over under their own basket while drawing a key foul with less than four seconds to go.
WPI opened the game with a 6-0 run, highlighted by four from Tess Nogueira (Merrimac, MA). Samantha Alakai (Honolulu, HI) then broke the ice for the Pioneers with a pair of free throws at 15:14. The Engineers held Smith without a field goal until Weston sank a jumper 8:45 into the contest. With 6:54 remaining in the frame, Stasha Greenalch (Newington, CT) used a layup to push the hosts lead to 10. Smith began to whittle away and utilized a 13-4 outburst to cut its deficit to one courtesy of a pair of free throws, and later a layup, by Weston with under a minute to play. Dani Davis (East Granby, CT) drilled a long 3-pointer at the buzzer for the 27-23 halftime advantage.
Smith evened the game twice shortly after action resumed as Alakai sank a layup at 19:04 and Paige Marquez (San Francisco, CA) canned a jumper at 18:31. The Pioneers then took the 34-33 lead following a Meghan Holland (Atherton, CA) bucket with 16:22 to play. Biney responded with a contested 3-pointer along the baseline to give the Engineers the lead once again. The Crimson and Gray then increased their cushion to six with 11:47 on the clock. Smith's Alyssa Barrett (Berlin, CT) used a personal 5-0 spurt to bring the guests back within one. The game, which saw four ties down the stretch, remained close the rest of the way.
Biney paced the Engineers with 13 points to go with six rebounds while Davis finished with 11 points and a team-best nine boards. Haili Welton (Southbury, CT) and Jessica Larsen (Poway, CA) each pulled down seven caroms for the Engineers as Larson added eight points and three steals. Rachel Pineda (Shrewsbury, MA) contributed with three helpers on the day.
Weston scored a game-high 16 points and doled out a game-best four assists while Holland led the Pioneers with eight boards. Jade Chihara (Lahaina, HI) pitched in with three swipes for the guests.
WPI held advantages in the paint (24-20), second chance points (17-12), fast break points (6-2) and bench points (21-13). Despite both teams turning the ball over 15 times each, Smith held an 18-15 edge in points off turnovers.
The Engineers play Emerson Wednesday at 8pm in the middle contest of a three-game homestand. Smith steps out of conference the same day at home at 7pm against Trinity in the first of four straight in Northampton.