Worcester, MA --- Tournament MVP Dani Davis (East Granby, CT) paced WPI with 18 points and eight rebounds as the Engineers earned their sixth Worcester City Women's Basketball Tournament championship with a 75-59 triumph over Clark on Sunday afternoon in Harrington Auditorium.
The Engineers (2-0) claimed the title for the sixth time in the 34-year history of the tournament and first since 2011. Clark, who won in 2012 and 2013, is now 1-1 on the season.
Rachel Pineda (Shrewsbury, MA) joined Davis on the All-Tournament team while Brooke Brennan (Weston, CT) and Sam O'Gara (Worcester, MA) took home the honor for the Cougars. Also named to the team was Julie Frankian (Millbury, MA) from Worcester State and Brooke Martel (Griswold, CT) from Becker. Earlier in the day, WSU defeated the Hawks 84-24 in the consolation game.
Lisa Mendez (Yonkers, NY) led all scorers with a career-high 20 points and Tess Nogueira (Merrimac, MA) hauled in a career-best 10 boards. Pineda added nine points for the Crimson and Gray while Haili Welton (Southbury, CT) tallied six points, five rebounds, three assists and a game-high three steals.
Clark was led by O'Gara with 15 points and three helpers. Brennan added 11 points and Sami Dukas (Littleton, MA) chipped in with 10. Torieana St. Pierre (Portsmouth, NH) and Dukas each grabbed six boards.
The Cougars took the early 5-0 lead on a triple and a layup by St. Pierre just 1:43 into the contest. After a free throw by WPI's Jessica Larsen (Poway, CA), Davis cut the Engineers deficit to a pair twice with a jumper at 17:44 and 15:33. Just over a minute later, Pineda sparked a WPI 17-2 outburst that resulted in a 22-11 Engineer lead with 10:29 left in the half.
After O'Gara brought the Cougars within eight following a jumper at 9:42, Yasmeen Luna (North Providence, RI) answered for the hosts 24 seconds later to push the advantage back to 10. WPI went on to build a 13-point cushion before a Clark five-point spurt, capped by a St. Pierre layup at 5:55, brought the game back within eight once again. The Crimson and Gray pushed the advantage to 13 and the Cougars whittled the deficit to nine twice in the final 2:17 before the break.
The Cougars pulled within seven courtesy of a layup by Olivia Lyons (Belmont, MA) at 16:34 left in the second half. Mendez responded for the Engineers with a 3-pointer 21 seconds later to push the Crimson and Gray's lead back into double digits. Nogueira added two more to the margin before Brennan ignited a 6-0 run to slice it in half with 12:52 to play. Welton halted the rally with a jumper 50 ticks later only to have Brennan respond with a triple to get the Cougars within five at 11:47. A minute later, Nogueira corralled a missed Clark 3-point attempt and dished it off to Pineda, who went coast-to-coast for the layup. Lyons canned a pair of free throws at 10:22 to get the visitors within five for the final time as the Engineers slowly began to pull away for the 75-59 final.
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Worcester, MA --- Worcester State used a stifling defense and torrid first half 3-point shooting to defeat Becker 84-24 Sunday in the consolation game of the 2014 Worcester City Women's Basketball Tournament hosted by WPI.
With the result, WSU levels its record at 1-1 on the young season while Becker dips to 0-2.
The Lancers rattled off the first 11 points of the contest and forced the Hawks to misfire on their first seven field goal attempts and commit two turnovers in the opening 6:30. WSU displayed tremendous balance with four different players denting the scoring column during the spurt, including a pair of layups by Bianca Langford (Worcester, MA). After Becker began to settle in offensively, a Langford bucket with 9:24 left before intermission pushed the lead to 19-8 where it remained in double figures the rest of the way. From there the Lancers saw five different people drain six of their final 3-point attempts of the stanza.
Langford registered game-bests of 16 points and eight rebounds while Julie Frankian (Millbury, MA) chipped in with 15 points, including a trio of trifectas. Kiesha Jones (Worcester, MA) and Kelli McPherson (Mansfield, MA) each neared double figures with nine points with McPherson accomplishing the feat by canning all three of her 3-point attempts. Nani Perez (Worcester, MA) had a strong game at the point, leading all players with seven assists while committing just two turnovers.
As a team, the Worcester State bench outscored the Becker reserves 40-0 and the Lancers notched all 20 of the points scores in transition.
Gabrielle Gallo (Northport, NY) paced the Becker attack with eight points to go along with four rebounds while Brooke Martel (Griswold, CT) stuffed the stat sheets with six points, five boards, a pair of assists and a block. The Hawks were credited with eight assists on their 10 made field goals with Alycia Dery (Millville, MA) leading the way with three helpers.
Both teams now turn their attention to home openers this week. Becker hosts Pine Manor at 7pm on Tuesday while Worcester State entertains Mount Holyoke at the same time on Wednesday at Clark.