WORCESTER – Senior Lisa Mendez (Yonkers, NY) netted nine of her season-high 13 points in the fourth quarter as WPI broke open a tight game by erupting for 15 of the final stanza's 18 points as the Engineers posted a 47-34 triumph over visiting Wellesley in a NEWMAC women's basketball contest played Wednesday evening.
WPI is now 6-1 overall and 2-0 in conference play for the second straight season while the Blue dips to 1-6 on the year and 0-2 in NEWMAC matchups.
Mendez drained all four of her fourth quarter field goal attempts, including a 3-pointer, as the Crimson and Gray were 7-of-13 in the frame while holding the guests to just 7.7% (1-of-13) from the floor. The senior put the game out of reach by scoring the final seven points over the last 5:45 of the contest. Ama Biney (Worcester, MA), Yasmeen Luna (North Providence, RI) and Maura Buckley (Melrose, MA) all added fourth quarter baskets for the Engineers, who out-rebounded the Blue 15-5 during the spurt.
The Engineers tallied the first seven points of the game before Wellesley came storming back with eight straight of its own behind a pair of 3-pointers by Kayla Jang (South Pasadena, CA). The rest of the first three quarters was nip-and-tuck affair with 14 lead changes, including 10 in the third quarter alone, and five ties with WPI holding a one-point advantage at the end of the first quarter (11-10), half (19-18) and third quarter (32-31).
Biney led all scorers with 14 points to go along with five steals, four rebounds and three assists. Meneza chipped in with five boards and Luna and Priscilla Dunphy (Barrington, RI) finished with six points each. Dunphy excelled on the defensive end with a career-best eight steals and Jessica Larsen (Poway, CA) aided the defensive effort with a pair of blocks.
Ailis Hanley (Cranston, RI) collected 11 points for Wellesley, highlighted by 3-of-4 shooting from 3-point land. Jang and Zojajha Ayub (Belle Mead, NJ) ended the night with eight and seven points respectively while Chelsi Scott (Portland, MI) turned in a 6 point, 10 rebound, four steal performance for the Blue.
WPI will begin a stretch of six straight games away from Harrington Auditorium on Saturday with a 3pm NEWMAC contest at MIT. Wellesley closes out first semester play the same day, hosting Mount Holyoke in a conference tilt at 2pm.
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