Second Half Rally Falls Short for Blue Basketball in 59-50 Setback to Springfield

Emily Kopp was one of three Wellesley players to finish in double figures (Frank Poulin).
Emily Kopp was one of three Wellesley players to finish in double figures (Frank Poulin).

WELLESLEY, Mass. – Wellesley College basketball made a second-half charge but couldn't make it all the way back from an early deficit, falling 59-50 to Springfield College in a hard-fought New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contest on Saturday at Dorothy Towne Fieldhouse. 

Springfield moves to 3-0 in the NEWMAC and 5-3 overall with the win. Wellesley is also 5-3 overall and is now 2-2 in conference.

Springfield point guard Alex Goslin (South Windsor, Conn.) tied for game-high honors with 18 points, adding seven assists, four rebounds and a steal in 40 minutes of action. Senior Chelsea McAllister (Baltimore, Vt.) dropped in 12 points, while collecting seven rebounds and four steals and classmate Gracie Restituyo (Barrington, R.I.) added nine points and four boards for the Pride. 

Wellesley point guard Caitlin Aguirre (El Paso, Texas) matched her counterpart with a game-high 18 points, dishing out six assists, while grabbing five rebounds and three steals in 37 minutes. Aguirre was one of three Wellesley players to finish in double figures, as sophomore Alyssa Cho (Hillsborough, Calif.) added 11 points and junior Emily Kopp (King Ferry, N.Y.) had 10 points. Cho also recorded a team-high seven boards. 

The Blue fell behind early in the contest, with the Pride opening the game on an 8-2 run through the opening five minutes of the first. Four straight points from Cho cut the deficit to 8-6 at 3:26, but Springfield scored seven of the final 11 points in the frame to take a 15-10 lead into the second. 

Taylor Hall (Tolland, Conn.) knocked down a jumper at the start of the second to extend the Pride lead to 17-10, but the Blue moved back within three following buckets from Zojajha Ayub (Belle Mead, N.J.) and Kopp at 9:21 and 8:20. Leading by three, Springfield went on a 16-3 run, taking a 33-17 lead when Lauren Rudolph (Franklin, Mass.) laid the ball up and in at 3:37. Kopp and Aguirre combined for six straight Blue points to end the run as Springfield eventually took at 35-23 lead into the half. 

Leading by 12 at the break, the Springfield lead would grow to as many as 18 points with just under eight minutes to play in the third quarter. With Wellesley trailing 41-23, Aguirre hit a three at 7:33 to spark a 12-1 run that eventually cut the deficit to seven, 42-35, following a Cho jumper at 2:07. Restituyo and Cho exchanged buckets to close out the quarter, sending the teams to the fourth with the Pride leading, 44-37.

Wellesley would get as close as six in the final ten minutes but never found a way past the Pride. Caitrin Spottiswoode (Storrs, Conn.) hit the second of two free throws at 6:16 to make the score 46-40 and Daisy Ella Johnson (Westport, Mass.) knocked down a triple at 5:14 to make it 49-43 with 5:14 left in regulation. Springfield knocked down all ten of their free throw attempts in the fourth to close out the 59-50 victory.

The Pride finished the game shooting 41.9% from the floor (18-of-43), while Wellesley countered at 36% (18-of-50). Springfield made 17-of-21 (81%) free throws and Wellesley was 10-of-17 (58.8%) from the line. The Pride had the advantage on the glass (33-28), while Wellesley had the edge in steals (11-8).

Wellesley returns from semester break to take on Framingham St. at 5:00 PM on Saturday, December 29, at the Clark Basketball Holiday Classic in Worcester. Springfield will host Worcester St. next Tuesday, December 11 at 5:30 PM.