WORCESTER – Junior Priscilla Dunphy (Barrington, RI) poured in 17 points and sophomore Maura Buckley (Melrose, MA) added 10 rebounds as second-seeded WPI advanced to the NEWMAC Women's Basketball Championship Semifinals with a 54-47 victory over seventh-seeded Smith Wednesday in Harrington Auditorium.
The Engineers (22-4) will now face Coast Guard in a 7:30pm matchup Saturday at Babson. It marks the ninth time in the last 11 years WPI has reached the NEWMAC Semifinals but its first appearance since 2013.
Smith jumped out to an 8-0 lead, including the first six on two triples by freshman Lauren Bondi (Burnaby, BC, Canada). Senior Lisa Mendez (Yonkers, NY) broke the ice for the Engineers with 4:09 left in the first. Moments later, senior Yasmeen Luna (N. Providence, RI) swiped the ball and took it to the hoop to make it an 8-4 game. Sophomore Stasha Greenalch (Newington, CT) gave the Engineers the lead with a layup at the 2 minute mark and classmate Ama Biney (Worcester, MA) scored the final two buckets of the frame for a 13-8 WPI lead after 10 minutes.
The hosts continued their 20-point outburst well into the second period. Freshman Kennedy Guest-Pritchett (Fairburn, GA) broke up the spurt with a jumper at 5:22. Dunphy closed out the half with a personal 6-0 run for the 28-13 advantage at the extended break.
WPI went on to hold a 23-point margin with 3:22 to play in the third. The guests then pulled within 14 at the end of the third quarter. The outburst featured a triple by sophomore Samantha Alakai (Pukalani, HI) and a traditional three-point play by Bondi and later freshman Erin Hanley (San Francisco, CA).
Despite going silent offensively for nearly 10 minutes, WPI was up by nine (45-36) with 3:54 to play. After Dunphy restarted the offense with a jumper at 2:44, the Pioneers outscored the hosts 11-7 down the stretch for the 54-47 final.
Mendez added nine points while Buckley chipped in with eight. Biney and Dunphy each collected seven rebounds as Biney also scored six for the Engineers. Luna handed out three assists while Biney was credited with two blocks. Greenalch and Luna also came up with two steals each.
Bondi paced the Pioneers with 15 points and three assists as Alakai followed with 11 points. Guest-Pritchett totaled 10 boards to go with nine from Hanley.
The Pioneers conclude their season with an 11-15 record.
Click HERE if the video does not appear below