WORCESTER – Priscilla Dunphy (Barrington, RI) netted a team-high 12 points and Maura Buckley (Melrose, MA) chipped in a career-best 10 as the WPI women's basketball team fended off a second half Nichols rally to defeat the Bison 57-50 Tuesday evening in Harrington Auditorium.
The win ups WPI's record to 4-1, matching last year's team for the best start under head coach Cherise Galasso. Nichols in now 0-4 on the young season.
After Jessica Kelliher (Marshfield, MA) nailed the first bucket of the second quarter to slice WPI's advantage to three at 18-15, the Engineers embarked upon 14-2 spurt that would keep the Crimson and Gray ahead by double digits the rest of the half. Dunphy and Tess Nogueira (Merrimac, MA) both notched four points as the hosts held Nichols to 1-of-9 shooting from the floor and forced a pair of Nichols turnovers during the run that help WPI take a 37-21 lead into the locker room at the break.
The Bison would not go away quietly. They outscored the Crimson and Gray 15-5 in the third quarter behind a stiff defense that saw the Engineers connect on just 2-of-15 shot attempts. Freshman Kristina Domantas (Holden, MA) was a spark off the bench for the guests with five points in the frame.
WPI's bulge ballooned back to 12 at 53-41 with just over three minutes remaining but a trio of Nichols 3-pointers, including a pair by Brooke Packard (Dudley, MA), the next three possessions cut the lead to 53-50 with 1:34 left. It looked like the Bison would have a chance to tie the game after a pair of missed WPI free throws but Nogueira gobbled up a rebound and put it back in to put the game out of reach with 1:16 remaining.
Taylor Daniels (Dudley, MA) led all players with 16 points as Packard and Domantas finished with 11 and nine respectively. Kelliher handed out a game-best four helpers to with three swipes.
WPI turns its attention to Saturday when it opens NEWMAC play with a 5pm home game versus Emerson. Nichols next game is also a conference opener as the Bison host Endicott to begin CCC action on Wednesday, December 2nd at 5:30pm.