BOSTON – Sophomore Caitlin Aguirre (El Paso, Texas) scored 12 of her game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter to lead Wellesley College basketball to a 61-53 victory over Emerson College in the New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference (NEMWAC) opener for both squads on Wednesday evening at Brown & Plofker Gymnasium.
Wellesley improves to 3-2 overall, winning at Emerson for the second straight season to move to 1-0 in the NEWMAC. Emerson is now 2-4 overall and 0-1 in conference.
Aguirre finished 7-of-11 from the floor, knocking down two of her three attempts from distance, while grabbing five rebounds, two assists, three steals, and a block. First years Alyssa Cho (Hillsborough, Calif.) and Lane Arkangel (Redondo Beach, Calif.) combined for 22 points, with Cho scoring 14 and Arkangel adding eight. Senior Kayla Jang (South Pasadena, Calif.) had a team-high eight rebounds to go along with three assists, three steals, and six points.
Emerson sophomore Kate Foultz (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) and first year Sam Boyle (Scotts Valley, Calif.) each scored 16 points to pace the hosts, with Boyle securing a game-high 10 rebounds to record her third double-double of the season. Foltz scored nine of her 16 from beyond the arc, shooting 3-for-7 from distance while adding four assists and three boards in 29 minutes. Sophomore Natalie Clydesdale (Pittsburgh, Penn.) chipped in with nine points and four assists.
Wellesley built a 6-2 lead at 4:06 of the first when sophomore Kendall You Mak (San Francisco, Calif.) hit a layup. Emerson scored the next four points to tie the contest, 6-6, but the Blue would take a 9-6 lead to the second as Arkangel hit a free throw before Jang finished at the bucket with 26 seconds left in the quarter.
Wellesley took a four-point edge into halftime, but not before having to rally past the Lions in the second quarter. With the Blue now leading 13-8 following a Cho jumper at 7:08, Emerson used a 6-1 run to tie the contest, 14-14, with 4:05 left in the quarter. You Mak put the Blue back up, 16-14, at 3:31, but a triple from Clydesdale and a Sophia Detweiler (West Chester, Pa.) free throw gave the Lions an 18-16 advantage with 2:04 left in the second. However, the Blue closed out the quarter on a 6-0 run to take the lead at halftime.
Emerson's two-point second quarter lead would be their largest of the evening, as Wellesley led throughout the second half. The Blue used an 11-2 run out of the half to build a 33-20 advantage at 5:33 of the third. Emerson started to chip away over the final five minutes of the quarter, eventually cutting their 13-point deficit to seven when Foultz hit a jumper in the final minute to make the score 39-32. An Aguirre layup would extended the Wellesley edge to nine, at 41-32, to close out the quarter.
Wellesley continued to hold a nine-point edge with 6:25 remaining in the fourth, but Emerson made a late charge to cut the Wellesley lead to just four when Boyle went up and under on a layup with 2:37 remaining. Emerson would get no closer, as Aguirre scored six points over the final 2:18 to help the Blue seal the 61-53 victory.
Wellesley finished at 46.9% (23-of-49) from the field and scored 18 points off 23 Emerson turnovers. The Blue limited the Lions to 36.5% (19-of-52) shooting, while Emerson had a slight edge, 35-32, on the glass.
Both teams will continue NEWMAC play on Saturday, December 2, at 1:00 PM. Wellesley will play at Springfield and Emerson will travel to Coast Guard.