Welton and Luna Led Charge as Women's Basketball Rallies to Defeat Wheaton

Haili Welton

WORCESTER – Haili Welton's (Southbury, CT) layup with 4:17 remaining snapped a 43-43 stalemate and host WPI pulled away with a 56-46 victory over Wheaton in a NEWMAC women's basketball matchup Saturday afternoon in Harrington Auditorium. 

It's the 11th consecutive win for the Engineers (13-1, 5-0 NEWMAC) who end a five-game skid against the Lyons (9-4, 2-2 NEWMAC). The 11-game winning streak for the Crimson and Gray is program's third best run behind a 12-game streak in 1995-96 and a 16-game run during the 1982-83 campaign.     

Down 43-35 with 8:53 to play, WPI used a 17-0 run to enjoy a nine-point lead with less than a minute remaining. The spurt, ignited by a Yasmeen Luna (North Providence, RI) jumper, included back-to-back layups by Priscilla Dunphy (Barrington, RI) and an Ama Biney (Worcester, MA) jumper to tie it up at 43-43, as well as Welton's go-ahead runner. The Engineer defense, meanwhile, held Wheaton off the scoreboard for a stretch that lasted just over eight minutes in the fourth. 

After Wheaton's Rebecca Arnone (Litchfield, NH) canned a 3-pointer 24 seconds into the game, WPI saw eight different student-athletes register no more than two-points apiece en route to the 15-5 lead at the first break. Luna  made it a 12-point game before the Lyons went on a 15-2 run, highlighted by seven – including a traditional three-point play – by Kiley Shoemaker (Fayetteville, NY). Alyssa Almario (West Orange, NY) completed the outburst with a layup to give the guests the 20-19 advantage with 1:59 remaining before the break. Wheaton eventually went into the locker room with the 24-19 advantage. 

The Lyons continued to increase their margin and held their largest lead of the game (39-26) with 2:20 left in the third. Oppie Morris' (Ware, MA) 3-point play with 45.6 on the clock ended the guests drought in the fourth. 

Biney paced WPI with 11 points and six rebounds while Dunphy added 10 points and three boards. Madison Beck (Syracuse, NY) chipped in with nine points as Luna and Welton each tallied eight for the Engineers. Tess Nogueira (Merrimac, MA) and Jessica Larsen (Poway, CA) pulled down five rebounds apiece while Welton was credited with a game-best three steals. 

Shoemaker led Wheaton with 14 points to go along with five rebounds. Arnone followed with 10 points and four caroms while Morris and Ruthie Zientek (Holmdel, NJ) shared game-high honors with seven rebounds. Zientek also handed out a contest-high three assists. 

The Engineers held large margins in points in the paint (30-14), points off turnovers (23-8), fast break points (20-3) and bench points (25-9). The Lyons commanded the second chance points with a 15-7 differential. 

WPI hosts Smith Thursday while Wheaton heads to Mount Holyoke on Tuesday. Both games are set for a 7pm tip.

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A photo posted by WPI Athletics (@wpiathletics) on Jan 9, 2016 at 11:59am PST