Springfield, MA --- The WPI defense held host Western New England without a made basket on it opening 13 possessions as the Engineers cruised to a 63-40 victory in a non-conference women's basketball contest played on Tuesday evening.
With the victory, the Engineers have now defeated the Golden Bears the past three seasons, all by double-digit margins. The Crimson and Gray is now 3-0 for the fourth straight campaign while Western New England is now 1-3 on the young season.
Defensive took center stage for the Crimson and Gray from the start, forcing a WNEU shot clock violation on the opening possession and then forcing eight straight missed attempts from the field to start the contest as the Golden Bears were 1-for-12 on field goals in the opening quarter with five turnovers. Meanwhile Alice Kelly (Wethersfield, CT) paced a torrid start for WPI, which shot 56.3% (9-for-12) in the first 10 minutes. The junior was 3-for-3 with seven points and an assist in the early going.
After leading 19-5 after the end of the first, WPI only saw its lead slip to single digits briefly on three occasions in the second stanza and had five different score during a 10-2 spurt to open the third quarter that put the contest out of hand.
Lisa Cristiano (Valhalla, NY) went 7-of-8 from the field for the Boynton Hillers on her way to amassing a season-best 15 points and a career-equaling-high five assists. Kelly finished with nine points and five boards while McKenna Finken (Simsbury, MA) and Victoria Mirecki (Washingtonville, NY) each tossed in eight points and Alex Scariati (Scotch Plains, NJ) netted seven. Finken established a new career standard with eight rebounds, Cristiano, Kelly and Scariati all hauled in five boards and Melanie Presseau (Manchester, NH) shared game-high assist honors with Cristiano with five helpers and canned a pair of 3-pointers.
Emma Elrod (Stratford, CT) was the only Golden Bear to reach double figures in scoring. The senior forward tallied 10 points.
WPI is back on the court on Friday, hosting it first of four games this season versus teams currently ranked in the D3hoops.com Top 25. The Engineers square off with Tufts at 7:30pm. Western New England closes out a brief two-game homestand on Thursday, tangling with Western New England at 7pm.