WELLESLEY, Mass. — Wheaton College outscored Wellesley College basketball 39-24 in the second half, rallying from a nine-point halftime deficit to defeat the Blue, 59-53, in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contest on Thursday night at Dorothy Johnston Towne Fieldhouse.
With the win, the Lyons keep pace with Springfield atop the NEWMAC standings, improving to 9-1 in conference play and 12-5 overall. Wellesley, playing their first game of the season at the newly reopened Dorothy Towne Fieldhouse, drops to 5-13 overall and 2-8 in NEWMAC play.
For the Blue, senior Morgyne Weaver (Oklahoma City, Okla.) scored a game-high 18 points to become the 11th player in Wellesley College history to score 1,000 points in her career. She also collected a team-high 10 rebounds to record her fifth double-double of the year. Sophomore Ailis Hanely (Cranston, R.I.) chipped in 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the floor, while first-year Kayla Jang (South Pasadena, Calif.) added 11 points, five rebounds, three assists, and three steals.
Three players scored in double-figures for Wheaton, now winners of eight straight since the turn of the new year. Senior Abbie Brickley (Sandy, Utah) scored a team-high 13 points for the Lyons, grabbing 13 rebounds to record her seventh double-double of the season. Classmate Kirsten Ferrari (Lynn, Mass.) added 11 points and three steals, while Brickley, Ferrari and senior Kenzie Kuhn (Glenwood Springs, Colo.) all finished the contest with four assists. Junior Kiley Shoemaker (Fayetteville, N.Y.) added 10 points while grabbing seven rebounds and recording three blocks.
With Wheaton leading 11-7 at 12:30 of the first half, Wellesley went on a 14-0 run, capped by a back-to-back buckets from Weaver that gave the Blue a 21-11 lead with 7:42 to play before the break. Weaver would then add her third straight basket on the other side of a Wheaton three-pointer from Kuhn, as the Blue would continue to lead, 23-14, with 6:50 left in the opening session.
Ferrari and Hanley traded baskets, before Weaver would again knock down a jumper. The Wellesley senior then added a pair of free throws, giving the Blue their largest lead of the game, at 29-16, with just under two minutes to play in the first half.
Brickley then added a basket at 1:14, while Shoemaker knocked down a pair of free throws with under a minute to play, to send the teams into the break with Wellesley leading 29-20.
A layup from Chelsi Scott (Portland, Mich.) again gave Wellesley a double-digit advantage in the opening minute of the second half. With Wellesley now leading, 31-20, Wheaton countered. The Lyons scored eight unanswered points, closing the gap to 31-28 at 16:02 thanks to a Rebecca Arnone (Litchfield, N.H.) layup.
Weaver temporarily stopped the run with a jumper at 15:45, but the Lyons would continue to press. Wheaton outscored the Blue 16-6 in the opening ten minutes of the second half, eventually taking their first lead of the contest at 11:46 when Laura Pierce (Hamstead, N.H.) knocked down a three to give Wheaton the lead at 36-35.
Weaver again had an answer for the Blue, knocking down another bucket with 9:38 to play in regulation, putting Wellesley back ahead, at 37-36. However, Weaver's layup would give Wellesley its final lead of the game. Pierce, Brickley and Kuhn all scored as part of an 8-0 Wheaton run, helping the Lyons to open up a seven point advantage, at 44-37, with just under seven minutes remaining.
Wellesley pushed back with a 7-0 run of its own, tying the contest for the fourth time on the evening when Hanley knocked down a jump shot to make the score 44-all at 5:09.
The Blue would get no closer, as Wheaton scored 14 points over the games final five minutes, taking their biggest lead of the contest with 1:58 remaining when Ferrari made a pair of free throws to make the score 54-46. The Lyons then held off a late push, as the Blue cut the deficit to three twice in the final minute, before eventually taking the 59-53 victory.
Both teams will continue conference play on the weekend. Wellesley will travel to Mount Holyoke for a 1:00 PM contest, while Wheaton will return home to host Coast Guard on Saturday at 3:00 PM.