Blue Basketball Drops 73-56 Final at Emerson in NEWMAC Opener

First year Valentina Morakis tallied nine points off the Blue bench (Frank Poulin).
First year Valentina Morakis tallied nine points off the Blue bench (Frank Poulin).

BOSTON, Mass. -- Junior Natalie Clydesdale (Pittsburgh, Penn.) scored a career-high 21 points to lead Emerson College to a 73-56 win over Wellesley College basketball in the New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) opener for both teams on Wednesday evening at Brown & Plofker Gym.

The Lions improve to 4-2 overall (1-0 NEWMAC) with the win. Wellesley, who got a team-high 17 points from junior guard Caitlin Aguirre (El Paso, Texas), is now 3-2 (0-1 NEWMAC).

Clydesdale, who added five steals and four assists, was one of four Emerson players to finish in double figures, along with juniors Kate Foultz (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) and Quinn Madden (Mokena, Ill.) and sophomore Rachel Davey (Saratoga, Calif.). Foultz finished with 12 points off the Emerson bench, while Madden chipped in 11 and Davey added 10. Sophomore Sam Boyle (Scotts Valley, Calif.) added nine rebounds and classmate Ashley Toner (Barnegat, N.J.) dished out seven assists in 23 minutes of action.

Aguirre was 7-for-18 from the floor with five rebounds, two assists and three steals to lead the Blue. Classmate Emily Kopp (King Ferry, N.Y.) totaled 10 points and four rebounds. First year Valentina Morakis (Long Island, N.Y.) added nine points, while classmate and Caitrin Spottiswoode (Storrs, Conn.) added a team-high six rebounds in just 12 minutes of action. Junior Kendall You Mak (San Francisco, Calif.) matched Aguirre with a team-high three steals. The Blue finished the game with a 29-28 lead in rebounds and a 13-12 edge in steals.

Emerson opened the game on a 7-2 run, as a triple from Clydesdale gave the Lions at five-point lead at 5:37. Wellesley cut the lead to one, at 7-6, when Kopp hit a jumper at 4:15, but Emerson would use a 9-4 run to take a 16-10 lead at 2:39. Kopp and Alyssa Cho (Hillsborough, Calif.) hit back-to-back buckets to close out the quarter and send the Blue into the second trailing by two, 16-14. 

Emerson jumped to a seven-point lead when Foultz canned a triple at 9:03 of the second to make the score 21-14. The Blue trimmed the deficit back to three midway through the quarter, but Emerson would go on to outscore Wellesley 17-10 in the frame to take a nine-point lead into the half. With Wellesley trailing 28-24 following a pair of Kopp free throws at 1:20, Foultz hit a three and Boyle dropped in a layup at the buzzer to make the score 33-24 at the break.

Wellesley continued to trail throughout the second half, with Emerson eventually taking a 21-point lead with 4:38 remaining in the fourth. The Lions outscored the Blue 18-14 in the third and 22-18 in the fourth to close out the 73-56 win, as Clydesdale scored 13 of her 21 points after the break. Emerson finished 26-of-45 from the floor (57.8%) and 11-of-19 from three-point range (57.9%). The Blue shot 38.6 percent (22-of-57) and knocked down just 2-of-9 attempts from distance.

Both teams continue NEWMAC play on the road on Saturday. Wellesley will travel to Mount Holyoke at 1:00 PM and Emerson will take on WPI at 2:00 PM.