Smith Sends Blue Basketball to 67-42 NEWMAC Setback

(Julia Monaco)
(Julia Monaco)

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – Smith College opened the game on a 13-4 run and never trailed en route to a 67-42 New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) victory over Wellesley College basketball on Wednesday night at Ainsworth Gymnasium.

Smith improves to 15-7 overall and 7-6 in conference with the win, dropping Wellesley to 8-11 on the year and 4-9 in the NEWMAC. Wednesday night's game was also part of the annual national Play4Kay initiative to benefit the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.

Sophomore Kennedy Guest-Pritchett (Fairburn, Ga.) had a game-high 12 points and seven rebounds to lead the Pioneers. Classmate Lauren Bondi (Burnaby, British Columbia) chipped in with 11 points, shooting 4-of-6 off the bench. Senior Mandy Castro (San Diego, Calif.) and junior Samantha Alakai (Pukalani, Hawaii) each pulled down seven boards, as the Pioneers finished with a 45-22 advantage on the glass.

For the Blue, senior Ailis Hanley (Cranston, R.I.) and first year Lauren Dines (Tenafly, N.J.) tied for team-high honors with nine points apiece. Junior Kayla Jang (South Pasadena, Calif.) added eight points and first year Caitlin Aguirre (El Paso, Texas) registered six points and a pair of assists. Sophomore Zojajha Ayub (Belle Mead N.J.) grabbed four rebounds and first year Kendall You Mak (San Francisco, Calif.) had a game-high four steals.

Smith held the Blue to just one basket in the opening quarter, as a jumper from Alakai with 11 seconds to play in the period capped a 13-4 first quarter run for the hosts. Wellesley found its rhythm on the offensive end of the floor in the second quarter, knocking down 6-of-10 attempts from the floor, but the Blue failed to slow the Pioneer attack, as Smith outscored the Blue 19-17 in the period to carry a 32-21 lead into the break.

The Pioneers continued to extend their lead in the third quarter, opening the second half on an 11-0 run to take a 43-21 lead when Bondi hit a jumper at 2:46. Hanley snapped the Smith run with a triple at 2:01, but the Blue managed just one more basket in the quarter, as Smith took a 47-26 edge into the fourth. Smith led by as many as 28 points in the final quarter of play, before closing out the 67-42 victory.

Wellesley will travel to WPI on Saturday, February 11, for a 1:00 PM NEWMAC tip-off with the Engineers. Smith will play host to Wheaton in a conference matchup on Saturday at 2:00 PM.