WORCESTER -- A 9-0 run in the fourth quarter sealed a 67-58 Senior Day victory for the WPI women's basketball team over Coast Guard on Saturday afternoon at Harrington Auditorium. Eight different Engineers netted at least five points in the outing, led by a 13-point, six-rebound, three-assist performance from senior Melanie Presseau (Manchester, NH).
Regionally-ranked WPI improves to 18-3 on the season and 7-2 in NEWMAC play while Coast Guard falls to 12-9 on the year and 4-4 in conference action. The Engineers, who have the NEWMAC bye on Wednesday, can secure a home game in the upcoming NEWMAC Tournament and perhaps jump to as high as the two seed with a win next Saturday in its regular season finale.
Alongside Presseau, seniors Lisa Cristiano (Valhalla, NY), McKenna Finken (Simsbury, CT), Victoria Mirecki (Washingtonville, NY), Eileen Piombino (West Chester, PA), Alex Scariati (Scotch Plains, NJ), and Jordan Wynn (Groton, MA) were honored prior to the game playing in their final regular season home game of their careers.
In addition to Presseau's contributions, Alice Kelly (Wethersfield, CT) added 11 points, five rebounds and three assists, Mirecki contributed eight points and Scariati added a near-triple-double with seven points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.
Coast Guard was led by Kyra Hartman (Shillington, PA) who finished with a game-high 15 points and seven rebounds while Jacqueline Ward (Brant Beach, NJ) added 10 points, six assists and five rebounds.
A three from Presseau followed by an and-one from Wynn got the Engineers out to a 6-0 advantage to begin things, but Coast Guard was able to battle back and even things up at eight-all after a Emma Puddington (Castorland, NY) jumper beginning a back-and-forth affair between the two teams that resulted in WPI owning a 33-31 halftime advantage.
In the third quarter, WPI bolstered its lead to a two-possession game thanks to a 5-0 run to begin the second half capped off by an Kelly 3-pointer to make it a 38-31 ballgame. The two teams alternated baskets for the remainder of the frame with WPI leading 48-42 heading into the fourth quarter.
Coast Guard was able to get the lead down to three points on a Hartman trey, but WPI was unrelenting and put together a 9-0 run at the end of the fourth quarter to put a stamp on the victory. McKenna Finken (Simsbury, CT) started the run off with a 3-pointer, followed by a pair of Mirecki free throws, an Emily Raynowska (Brentwood, NH) layup and was capped off by a Kelly lay-in to make it a 67-52 ballgame en route to the victory. Coast Guard drained a pair of 3-pointers down the stretch, but it wasn't enough.
It was a 3-point shooting affair in the outing with Coast Guard draining seven and the Engineers hitting six. WPI outrebounded the Cadets 47-32 on the day while also dishing out 22 assists to Coast Guard's 14.
The Engineers are back in action next Saturday afternoon when they head to Babson for the team's final regular season game at 2pm. Coast Guard is back at it at Springfield on Wednesday night at 7pm.