WORCESTER – Senior Haili Welton (Southbury, CT) poured in a career-high 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting with two 3-pointers and a pair of free throws to lead WPI past visiting Springfield, 59-50, Saturday in a NEWMAC women's basketball matchup in Harrington Auditorium.
The Engineers (20-1, 12-0 NEWMAC), who are receiving votes in the D3hoops.com Top 25 and USA Today Division III poll, run their program-best winning-streak to 18 games and boast 20 wins for the seventh season in team history. Of the seven 20-plus win seasons, four have come under the guidance of 16th-year WPI head coach Cherise Galasso (2006-07, 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2015-16). The Pride, who were looking for a rare regular season Harrington sweep thanks to a 63-51 decision against Worcester State back in December, slip to 13-8 overall and 7-5 in the conference.
Welton was joined in double figures by sophomore Ama Biney (Worcester, MA), who was coming off the bench to score 13 points and haul in a team-best six boards. Senior Lisa Mendez (Yonkers, NY) and sophomore Stasha Greenalch (Newington, CT) each tallied eight points as senior Jessica Larsen (Poway, CA) and junior Sarah Rogers (Colchester, CT) each pulled down four caroms. Greenalch also contributed a contest-best three steals while Yasmeen Luna (North Providence, RI) chipped in with three points, three boards and a helper.
Junior Ava Adamopoulos (Ludlow, MA) was the only Pride player in double digits with a dozen points to go with a game-best 10 rebounds. seniors Emily Gins (Fort Meyers, FL) and Heather Lewis (Saratoga Springs, NY) followed with nine points apiece while Gins and sophomore Heather King (Lebanon, NH) combined for 13 rebounds and junior Danielle Racette (North Adams, MA) paced all student-athletes with four assists.
Mendez fueled a WPI 9-2 run out of the gate with a layup and a 3-pointer. After neither team scored for two and a half minutes, Adamopoulos began a Springfield 7-0 run which led to sophomore Christa Brent's (Wilmington, MA) game-tying layup with 1:49 left in the first. Rogers converted a layup with just under a minute to play for the 11-9 advantage after 10 minutes.
Welton canned a jumper less than 20 second into the second stanza. Gins then went on a personal 4-0 run to knot the game at 13-13 with 6:58 left until the half. Welton and Brent traded 3-pointers before the Engineers closed out the frame with a six-point lead (22-16). Defensively, the Crimson and Gray forced back-to-back shot clock violations and a total of four turnovers in 95 seconds.
The Engineers lead grew to as much as 11 with 4:58 remaining in the third. Adamopoulos scored three baskets and King added one; however, the Pride were unable to get the margin under eight the rest of the period. The final frame saw another 11-point lead by the hosts only this time the Pride cut the deficit to five following a Lewis triple with under a minute to play.
For the game, WPI won each period as well as owned the margins in points in the paint (26-24), points off turnovers (23-11), fast break points (8-2) and bench points (28-22). Springfield scored 11 of the game's 17 second chance points. The Pride also had a 36-31 advantage in rebounding; however, the Engineers committed seven less turnovers (22-15).
WPI hosts Babson in a crucial NEWMAC matchup Wednesday at 7pm while Springfield welcomes Coast Guard for a 5:30pm tip, also on Wednesday.
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