WORCESTER -- Ama Biney (Worcester, MA) paced all scorers with 19 points and Stasha Greenalch (Newington, CT) equaled her career-high with eight assists as the WPI Women's Basketball team celebrated its Alumnae Day with a 55-45 victory over crosstown rival Clark in a NEWMAC conference matchup played on Saturday afternoon.
With the triumph, WPI wins its sixth consecutive outing and improves to 17-2 on the season and 9-1 in conference play. Clark is now 12-7 overall and 5-6 in NEWMAC action.
The first quarter saw a defensive showdown, including a game-high total of 13 turnovers, as WPI found a slim lead to enter the second period of play. WPI was held to just 10 points in the first quarter by Ogechi Ezemma (Hope Valley, RI) with three blocks while Haley Wilder (Rindge, NH) chipped in with one of her own. The Engineers held their own with a pair of steals each from Priscilla Dunphy (Barrington, RI) and Biney en route to limiting the Cougars to just seven points in the opening 10 minutes.
The hosts came out strong in the second period, reeling off the first eight to push the lead to 11 at 18-7. WPI found their offensive rhythm as Greenalch dished out three assists, allowing Biney to notch seven points by the end of the half. The Engineers' lead slipped to two points after Cori Ouellette (Madison, CT) cashed in on a 3-point jumper and Clark scored ten of the next 11 points. Madison Beck's (Syracuse, NY) layup in the waning second of the half let the Crimson and Gray take a 21-17 into the locker room at the half.
It seemed as if Biney could do no wrong as she led the Engineers with ten points in the third quarter alone and the hosts found their largest lead of the game at 12. Sarah Rogers (Colchester, CT) canned a conventional 3-point play as the hosts charged past the visitors, outscoring Clark 21-13 in the period.
Coming off of a dominating third period, the Crimson and Grey played a disciplined fourth period and held a comfortable lead for the remainder of the game. Aretha Sullivan (Worcester, MA) did her best to keep Clark in the game with seven points in the final period, bringing her total to a team-high 12 on the day. The senior was an impressive 5-for- 5 from the free throw line on the day. But for every one of Sullivan's points the Engineers answered, shooting 54.5% in the fourth to earn their home win.
Biney flirted with a double-double, ending with game-bests of 19 points, nine rebounds and four steals. Beck reached double figures as well with 11 points off the bench while Rogers chipped in with seven points, Dunphy matched Rogers with six rebounds and tacked on six points and Maura Buckley (Melrose, MA) collected six points. In addition to her eight assists, Greenalch gobbled up seven rebounds off the glass.
Sullivan topped the Cougars with 12 points and six rebounds. Sam O'Gara (Worcester, MA) followed with ten points and Rachel Chen (Needham, MA) tallied seven and grabbed six caroms. Ezemma carried her team in the paint, blocking four WPI shots and securing a steal on top of her six boards.
The hosts used a dominating presence in the paint, outscoring Clark by a 34-10 margin. The Boynton Hillers also drained 10-of-11 (90.9%) from the charity stripe. Clark held an impressive edge from downtown, connecting on 8-of-18 (44.4%) 3-pointers while forcing the Engineers to misfire on all but one of their 12 trifecta attempts (8.3%).
At halftime, WPI unveiled the NEWMAC Tournament Champion and NCAA Participant banners earned a season ago. On hand were last year's seniors Jessica Larsen, Lisa Mendez and Haili Welton and they were joined remotely by Yasmeen Luna, who is living in Arizona.
WPI concludes its two-game home stand on Wednesday, hosting Mount Holyoke at 7pm. Clark entertains Coast Guard the same day, also with a 7pm tip.
Majority of recap written by WPI student assistant Ranier Gran '18
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