WORCESTER -- Ama Biney (Worcester, MA) led all scorers with 13 points and Sarah Rogers (Colchester, CT) chipped in with 10 as WPI used a strong fourth quarter to defeat visiting Springfield 61-49 in an important NEWMAC women's basketball contest played Wednesday evening in Harrington Auditorium.
With the victory, WPI wins its fourth straight contest and pushes its record to 15-2 overall and 7-1 in conference action. Springfield, who saw its six-game winning streak snapped, is now 11-5 on the season and also 7-1 in NEWMAC play.
Nursing a three-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, Biney and Madison Beck (Syracuse, NY) combined for 13 points to help the hosts outscore the Pride 24-15 over the final 10 minutes. After Heather King (Lebanon, NH) nailed a jumper on Springfield's second possession to slice the lead to one, Beck hit back-to-back shots and Biney canned a basket and a free throw to headline a 7-0 spurt. The Engineers used a critical 3-pointer by Britney Lambert (Hudson, NH) and four free throws from Priscilla Dunphy (Barrington, RI) to keep the visitors at bay.
WPI started off quickly, rattling off the game's first 10 points over the opening 4:08. The Engineers defense was impressive, holding the Pride scoreless on its opening six possessions (0-4 shooting, three turnovers), while draining 4-of-6 field attempts themselves. WPI senior Tess Nogueira (Merrimac, MA) ignited the strong play for the hosts early, accounting for six of the Crimson and Gray's first 12 points. Springfield battled back behind 10 first half points off the bench by Chelsea McAllister (Baltimore, VT) to even the game at 26-26 right before half but Rogers' 3-pointer beat the buzzer to send WPI to the locker room ahead 29-26.
The third quarter saw the first two lead changes of the game along with a pair of ties. Springfield scored the first five points of the frame on a layup by King and a trifecta from Danielle Racette (North Adams, MA) but the Engineers answered back by netting four of the stanza's five points on jumpers by Biney and Stasha Greenalch (Newington, CT) to preserve the 3-point margin at 37-34 heading into the fourth quarter.
Biney added six rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals to go along with her 13 points while Rogers corralled a team-best eight rebounds. Nogueira and Lambert each finished with eight points while Dunphy amassed six boards and two steals.
McAllister headlined three Springfield players in double figures in scoring with 12 points as Racette and King both collected 11. Ava Adamopoulos (Ludlow, MA) grabbed a game-high nine boards for the Pride and shared team-high honors in assists with King with three.
WPI held a 26-10 advantage on the night in points in the paint while both teams shot well from the free throw line. The Engineers were 9-of-10 while Springfield was 9-of-12.
Both teams are back in action on Saturday. WPI heads to Boston to take on Emerson at 3pm in a NEWMAC contest while Springfield steps out of conference and ventures to North Adams to face MCLA at 1pm.
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