Wellesley, MA --- Wellesley basketball held on to take a 34-32 NEWMAC victory over WPI on Wednesday evening at Dorothy Towne Fieldhouse.
Junior Alyssa Cho (Hillsborough, CA) and senior Caitlin Aguirre (El Paso, TX) posted eight points apiece to lead the Blue (11-4 overall, 3-1 NEWMAC). Cho also grabbed three steals and pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds on the night. First year Pujita Shukla (Austin, Texas) added in seven points, two steals, and three boards.
Senior Spencer Vinson (Los Angeles, CA) scored 12 points and had 14 rebounds and five blocks to lead the Engineers (11-7 overall, 1-2 NEWMAC). The double-double was the fourth of the season for Vinson, while her five blocks matched a career-high. Sophomore Alex Scariati (Scotch Plains, NJ) chipped in seven points, two steals, and two rebounds in the game.
A frantic first quarter ended with the Blue holding a 9-7 lead. Cho and Aguirre each dropped in four points for Wellesley in the first stanza, with Aguirre breaking a 7-7 score with a jumper in the final minute of the period. Vinson scored all six points in the second quarter for WPI, breaking a 2:43 stalemate to open the quarter and tie the score at 9-9. However, the Blue outscored the Engineers 8-4 over the remaining seven minutes, taking their largest lead of the game, 17-11, when Shukla hit a jumper at 1:45. The Blue would take a 17-13 lead into the half.
The Blue continued to hold a 17-13 lead until Scariati hit a pair of free throws at 5:24 of the third. WPI got as close as a one-point deficit when first year Emily Raynowska (Brentwood, NH) finished on an and-one to make the score 19-18 at 4:04. Raynowska scored five of the eight WPI points in the quarter but the Blue would take a 25-21 edge into the fourth. WPI again cut the deficit to one in the fourth, when Vinson hit a layup at 3:35, but the Blue would eventually hold-on down the stretch.
Cho hit a big bucket at 2:32 that pushed the Wellesley lead back to three, at 33-30. WPI sophomore McKenna Finken (Simsbury, CT) countered with just under a minute to play, hitting a layup that cut the lead back to one, 33-32. However, Wellesley senior Kendall You Mak (San Francisco, Calif.) knocked down one of two free throws with six seconds left to push the Blue lead to 34-32. A final bid from WPI's Maddie Blake (Bedford, NH) was off target and the Blue held on for the victory.
Wellesley finished the game shooting just 23.4% from the floor (15-of-64) but limited the Engineers to 31.0% shooting on 13-of-42 attempts. The Blue forced 26 WPI turnovers while holding a slight 42-40 edge in rebounding. The Blue had a stagger 23-11 edge in offensive rebounding but only a 13-11 edge in second chance points.
Both teams return to NEWMAC play on Saturday February 1, at 1:00PM as Wellesley will host Wheaton and WPI will entertain Coast Guard.
Release Courtesy Wellesley Sports Information