Women's Basketball Falls in Tight Battle with Smith, 56-63

Melanie Presseau - WPI Women's Basketball 2022

Northampton, MA --- In a battle of one-loss teams, Smith came away the victor in a tight competition with the WPI women's basketball team on Wednesday night. The Pioneers eked out a 56-53 victory over the Engineers, handing WPI its first conference loss of the season. 

Smith is now 11-1 overall and 2-0 in NEWMAC play, while the Engineers slip to 12-2 on the season and 1-1 in conference action. Both teams are receiving votes in the latest D3hoops.com top 25. 

An Alex Scariati (Scotch Plains, NJ) layup made it a 55-53 ballgame with 2:41 to go in the fourth quarter and forced Smith into a miss with the clock winding down on the ensuing possession. The Engineers had a pair of looks at a 3-pointer in their next possession, but couldn't get it to fall.  

With just over 30 seconds left, missed its own three try, and the Engineers had a look, but were called for a charge.  WPI ultimately had to foul Smith multiple times in the final seconds and the hosts added a point to its total for the 56-53 victory.

The two teams were back and forth all game in a contest that featured 16 ties and 16 lead changes. The evenly matched contest saw 21 made field goals from the Engineers and 22 from Smith. The Engineers knocked down six treys to Smith's five. The Pioneers outrebounded the Engineers 30-25 and out-assisted WPI 16-8. Smith also netted 32 points in the paint to WPI's 26.  

The Engineers were led by a game-high 17-point effort from Melanie Presseau (Manchester, NH) who also added two assists and two steals on the night. Scariati added 10 points and seven rebounds while Alice Kelly (Wethersfield, CT) added nine points and four rebounds off the bench for WPI.  

Smith had four double-digit scorers, paced by Amelia Clairmont's (Laconia, NH) 15-point, five rebound effort. Morgan Morrison (Detroit, MI) chipped in 11 points and a pair of steals off the bench while Katelyn Pickunka (Westhampton, MA) and Jessie Ruffner (Rocklin, CA) added 10 points apiece. Pickunka had the near double-double adding nine rebounds, while Ruffner finished with six boards and five assists.  

The Engineers look to rebound on Saturday afternoon at 2pm when they head out for another road contest at Mount Holyoke. Smith will also return to action Saturday at 2 when it plays host to Clark.