Presseau, O'Neil and Niles Help Women's Basketball Soar Past Falcons to Stay Unbeaten

Melanie Presseau - WPI Women's Basketball

WORCESTER -- The WPI women's basketball team kept rolling to a 7-0 start to the 2021-22 season with a decisive 76-34 victory over Fitchburg State on Tuesday night at Harrington Auditorium. The team continues to improve upon its best start under 22-year head coach Cherise Galasso.  

WPI held Fitchburg State (1-7) to just 10 field goals throughout the entire contest, while forcing 35 turnovers which they turned into 40 points. The Engineers dominated once again in the paint outscoring their opponents 36-8.  

The team distributed the ball evenly with 12 different bucket getters tallying at least three points apiece, led by Melanie Presseau's (Manchester, NH) 12-point outing behind four treys, while also adding four steals on the night. 

Kara ONeil (Holden, MA) added 11 points and six rebounds off the bench, while Adrianna Niles (Tewksbury, MA) finished with a 10-point outing on 5-of-6 shooting from the field.  Lisa Cristiano (Valhalla, NY) netted eight points and Jordan Wynn (Groton, MA) and McKenna Finken (Simsbury, CT) both tallied six while Alex Scariati (Scotch Plains, NJ) doled out nine assists while only committing one turnover.  The senior shared team-high rebounding honors with O'Neil and Wynn with six. 

Fitchburg State got out to a fast 5-0 lead thanks to a Rylie Harlow (Hanson, MA) layup and a trey from Lovashia Rosario (Worcester, MA), but from there on, it was all WPI. Harlow finished with four points and a pair of assists while the Falcons were paced by 10 points from Jadelen Harold (Nantucket, MA). 

The Engineers responded with a 21-2 run that spanned the rest of the first quarter, and the first 90 seconds of the second quarter to gain a 21-7 lead until Morgan Genness (Belgrade, ME) ended the streak with a three. Fitchburg State got within eight, 24-16, with just over five minutes to go in the first half, but the Engineers responded and took a 37-19 lead into the locker room at halftime.  

In the second half, WPI continued to build on its lead utilizing a 20-0 run that spanned much of the third quarter, and eventually got out to its largest lead of the game, a 46-point advantage after a three from Samantha Curtis (Ellington, CT) with 1:24 remaining in the game. Fitchburg State netted the final four points of the game en route to the 76-34 victory for the Engineers.  

WPI looks to keep its momentum going on Wednesday, Dec. 8 when they head to Tufts to face the Jumbos at 7pm. Fitchburg State will return to the court on Saturday, Dec. 4 when they will host New England College at noon.