Fourth Quarter Wheaton Outburst Dooms Women’s Basketball in NEWMAC Opener

McKenna Finken

Norton, MA --- Juniors Natalie Wind (New Canaan, CT) and Ashley Hill (Pembroke, NH) each accounted for a pair of fourth-quarter 3-pointers as Wheaton pulled away with a 58-47 NEWMAC women's basketball triumph over visiting WPI Wednesday night in Emerson Gymnasium.

The Lyons move to 3-2 with the win while the Engineers slip to 4-2.

WPI enjoyed a 33-31 lead in the fourth thanks to an early score by freshman Victoria Mirecki (Rock Tavern, NY). Wind and Hill, however, hit back-to-back treys and junior Sara McLeman (Auburn, NH) capped the 10-0 run for Wheaton with 5:48 to play. Moments later, freshman McKenna Finken (Simsbury, CT) ended the outburst with a conventional three-point play. The triples continued until sophomore Caitlin Boermeester (Billerica, MA) canned a two with 1:11 remaining. The Lyons scored their remaining points at the charity stripe.

The hosts claimed a pair of three-point leads only to have WPI score each time to make it a one-point game in the opening 10 minutes. With less than 10 seconds left in the first quarter, junior Spencer Vinson (Los Angeles, CA) gave the Engineers the three-point margin with a layup.

After freshman Mia Len (Amherst, NH) converted a traditional three-point play to even the game at 15-all, senior Alyssa Paul (Schaghticoke, NY) fueled a 7-0 run for the 22-15 lead with 2:47 left in the half. Wheaton answered with seven of its own to cut the deficit to one (22-21) with just over a minute to play in the frame. Finken made the back end of a pair of free throws for the two-point advantage at the half.

Sophomore Maddie Blake (Bedford, NH) began the third with a pair of buckets to force a Wheaton timeout at 8:17. It remained between three and five points in favor of the Engineers until rookie Sadie Shore (Portsmouth, NH) and McLeman teamed up to cut it to a point with 1:24 left in the stanza. Sophomore Mikayla Pucci (Hopkinton, MA) then tied it up at 31 on the front end of a pair of freebies with 20 seconds to go until the fourth.

Finken led all scorers with 14 points to with five rebounds, three steals and two assists, and Mirecki totaled eight of the 12 points from the reserves. Vinson accounted for the other four, as well as a game-high eight rebounds.

Wind paced Wheaton with 13 points and senior Abby Hamilton (Gorham, ME) chipped in with 11. Shore shared game-best honors with eight boards.

Each side totaled nine assists, including three each by Boermeester and Hill for their respective teams. The Engineers owned advantages in the paint (18-10), second chance points (13-9) and points off turnovers (9-6), and committed five fewer turnovers than the Lyons who had a 19-12 margin from the bench and a 38-37 edge in rebounds.

WPI returns to Harrington Auditorium to host Emerson Saturday at 2pm. Wheaton travels to Coast Guard for a 1pm tip.