Streaking Smith Upends Women's Basketball in NEWMAC Matchup

Lisa Mendez

Worcester, MA --- Junior Paulina Solis (Santa Ana, CA) pumped in 24 points and classmateLauren Weston (Florence, MA) dropped a career-high 14 points as the Smith College basketball team defeated WPI, 66-34, in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's basketball game on Thursday night in Harrington Auditorium. 

The Pioneers (11-10, 11-5 NEWMAC) captured their fifth-consecutive conference win while WPI slipped to 8-12 overall and 6-9 in the league.

Smith took a 5-2 lead following a three-point play by Weston less than two minutes into the contest. Junior Amaia Gritsko (Milford, CT) then hit a layup and later drained a jumper, after picking up the loose ball in the paint, as the Engineers took a 6-5 advantage with 16:57 showing on the scoreboard. Senior Rosa Drummond (Rye, N.H.) responded 13 seconds later with her first bucket of the night to give the Pioneers the lead for the rest of the evening. 

After Drummond scored her next jumper, Solis reeled off the next 10 points of the game to push the guests lead to 13 (19-6) with 12:50 remaining in the frame. Mandy Castro (San Diego, CA) continued the Smith run, and coupled with a layup by Weston, pushed the lead to 18. WPI sophomore Lisa Mendez (Yonkers, NY) broke up the spurt with a layup with 9:34 left in the stanza. Just over five minutes later, the Engineers used a jumper by Gritsko and a triple by Mendez to cut the hosts deficit to 19. The Pioneers ended the half with a 26 point lead courtesy of a one-handed catch and layup by Weston at the buzzer.

The second half saw Smith take a 41-point advantage following a jumper by sophomoreSamantha Saywell (Groton, MA) with less than eight minutes to play. Junior Jackie DeChristofaro (North Kingstown, RI) then sparked a 14-5 Engineer run to close out the contest.

Mendez paced the Engineers with 10 points as sophomore Haili Welton (Southbury, CT) grabbed seven rebounds and junior Dani Davis (East Granby, CT) blocked a game-high three shots.

Solis added a game-high four assists to go with three steals and three defensive rebounds. Drummond collected 10 points and hauled in nine caroms while Weston pitched in with eight boards. Rookie Jazmine Collins (Springfield, MA) chipped in with four steals.

As a team, Smith had a 46-28 margin in rebounds and committed six less turnovers. The Pioneers also shot 44.1 percent from the floor compared to the WPI's 26 percent. 

Both teams return to action on Saturday with a home NEWMAC contest at 2:00 p.m. as Smith welcomes MIT, who defeated Wellesley, 55-35, earlier in the evening, and WPI entertains Wheaton.