Pair of Surges Send Women's Basketball by Coast Guard in NEWMAC Tournament Quarterfinal

Meg Donovan

WORCESTER -- Meg Donovan (Abington, MA), Maura Buckley (Melrose, MA) and Stasha Greenalch (Newington, CT) all reached double figures to propel second-seeded WPI past seventh-seeded Coast Guard 72-42 in a NEWMAC Women's Basketball Tournament Quarterfinal contest play Wednesday in Harrington Auditorium.

With the win, WPI, who is ninth in the latest NCAA regional rankings, extends its winning-streak to seven, improves to 21-5 on the season and will meet third-seeded Babson in a tournament semifinal Saturday at 3pm at top-seeded Smith.  The contest will be a rematch of the last two NEWMAC Tournament championships with the Engineers taking the title 60-59 in 2016 and the Beavers extracting revenge with a 65-45 victory a season ago.  It will also be the Boynton Hiller's third consecutive semifinal appearance and 13th overall in NEWMAC era.

WPI used a 7-0 run to start the game behind a layup by Greenalch and five points by Buckley en route to an 18-2 lead and a 18-4 advantage after the opening quarter.  The Crimson and Gray defense took center stage by holding the Bears to just 1-of-9 shooting from the floor and forcing seven turnovers while rookie sharpshooter Donovan connected on both of her 3-point attempts.

After a Maddie Blake's (Bedford, NH) layup on WPI's opening possession of the second quarter put the hosts up 16 at 20-4, Coast Guard scored 19 of the next 26 points to slice the deficit to 27-23 with Micaela Martinelli (Vero Beach, FL) leading the way with seven points.  The Engineers then used a jumper by Buckley, a 3-pointer from Greenalch and a layup by Madison Beck (Syracuse, NY) over the final 1:16 before intermission to take a 34-23 advantage into the locker room at the half.

A pair of Martinelli 3-pointers helped get the Bears as close as six (39-33) midway through the third quarter but WPI then rattled off the next 24 points, including six by Alana Keating (Leominster, MA) over the next nine minutes to put the game out of reach.

Donovan led the way offensively for the Boynton Hillers, netting 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting from floor, including 4-of-5 from downtown.  Buckley added 11 points and a team-best five rebounds while Greenalch chipped with 10 points and three steals.  Beck ended with eight points while Donovan and Katie Nugent (Huntington, NY) shared team-high assists honors with three apiece and Ama Biney (Worcester, MA) stuffed the stat sheets with six points, a pair of boards, two assists and led all players with four steals. 

The hosts shot 50% or better from the floor during the first three quarters and parlayed 25 Coast Guard turnovers into an eye-popping 44 points.  WPI also enjoyed a 32-10 bulge in bench scoring and scored all 10 of the game's fast break points.

Martinelli was outstanding for the Bears, collecting a game-high 19 points.  The junior was strong from behind the 3-point arc, draining five of her eight attempts from long range.  Annabella Farabuagh (Atlanta, GA) was 3-of-4 from the floor and ended with six points while Gillian Gerton (Lorton, VA) corralled a game-best nine rebounds, including four off the offensive glass.

Coast Guard sees its season come to an end with a 13-13 mark.