Slow Start Dooms Women's Basketball in Loss to Springfield

Elle Fontaine

Worcester, MA --- Kelly Slattery (Somers, CT) poured in a game-best 22 points to lift Springfield to a 67-51 upset over host WPI in a NEWMAC women's basketball contest on Thursday.  With the result, the Pride moves to 8-12 on the season and 8-5 in conference action while WPI dips to 14-5 overall and 10-3 in NEWMAC play.   

The visitors held the Engineers without a field goal for a 8:42 span midway through the first half that saw them break a 8-8 deadlock to surge ahead 21-8 with just over eight minutes left in the opening stanza.  The Pride parlayed 16 WPI first half turnovers into 15 points.

The hosts tried to mount a comeback late in the half but Springfield got five points in the final 31 seconds before halftime from Emily Walker (East Lyme, CT), including a conventional 3-point play with 0.6 seconds remaining to take a 37-21 advantage into the locker room at the break.  

The second half saw WPI get to within eight points on two occasions but Kelly Murphy (Mechanicville, NY) and Tamara Tribble (White Plains, NY) combined to can 9-of-10 second half free throws to keep the Crimson and Gray at bay.
Slattery's 22 points were a career-high and a season-best for Springfield player.  The junior connected on 10-of-16 shots from the floor.   Murphy chipped in with 15 points and led all players by doling out five assists.  Colleen Dignum (Albany, NY) scored all 12 of her points from behind the 3-point arc (4-of-5) and Walker added nine points and 11 rebounds.  
Elle Fontaine (Franklin, MA) paced the WPI attack with 17 points and a season-high 13 rebounds.  It marked the sixth double-double of the season for the senior and the 16th of her standout career.  Lauren Hannmann (East Greenbush, NY) netted nine of her 13 points after intermission while Cynthia Chelius (Northfield, NJ) notched eight points and six rebounds and Melissa Kuhn (Stoughton, MA) contributed seven rebounds, a team-best four assists and a pair of steals.

WPI enjoyed a 41-33 advantage on the glass, including 22 offensive rebound but could only muster 12 second chance points.  Oddly enough, Springfield turned just nine offensive rebounds into 14 second chance points.  The Pride also passed the ball well, tallying 18 total assists on 24 made field goals.

Both teams continue NEWMAC play on Saturday afternoon at 3pm.  WPI heads to Babson to take on nationally-ranked Babson while Springfield returns home to face Wheaton.