Blue Basketball Drops Daytona Beach Opener to Bridgewater State, 53-43

First year Lane Arkangel had five points and four points in the setback (Miranda Yang).
First year Lane Arkangel had five points and four points in the setback (Miranda Yang).

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida – Bridgewater State University outscored Wellesley College basketball 21-14 in the third quarter to pull away for a 53-43 victory in non-conference play on Thursday afternoon at the Daytona Beach Ocean Center.

With their respective campuses separated by just 40 miles, the two sides squared off over 1,200 miles from home on day one of the Land of Magic Classic. The Bears improved their record to 3-7 with the win, dropping the Blue to 3-5 on the season.

Junior Sara DaSilva (Chelmsford, Mass.) scored a game-high 13 points to lead Bridgewater State, adding three rebounds, four assists and three steals. Classmate Olivia DelGrosso (Ledyard, Conn.) chipped in with 11 points, while junior Kailyn Aguiar (Acushnet, Mass.) finished one bucket shy of a double-double, scoring eight points and pulling down a game-high 11 rebounds to lead Bridgewater to a 37-31 advantage on the glass.

Sophomore Caitlin Aguirre (El Paso, Texas) scored 10 points and collected a team-high three steals for Wellesley. First year Alyssa Cho (Hillsborough, Calif.) added nine points and seven rebounds in 23 minutes of action. Sophomore Emily Kopp (King Ferry, N.Y.) chipped in with eight points on 4-of-6 shooting to go along with three rebounds, while senior Chelsea Brown (San Jose, Calif.) matched Cho with seven boards and scored six points.

Wellesley outscored Bridgewater in the first quarter, taking an 11-7 edge at the end of the opening stanza. With the game knotted at 4-4 following the first 2:13, Wellesley scored five straight points, getting a jumper from Cho, a free throw from Brown, and a layup from Aguirre to take a 9-4 lead with 2:50 left in the frame. A triple from senior Jennifer Whyte (Braintree, Mass.) cut the Bridgewater deficit to three, at 9-7, but Wellesley first year Lane Arkangel (Redondo Beach, Calif.) capped the quarter with a layup at 1:08 to give the Blue an 11-7 lead heading into the second.

Kopp extended the Wellesley advantage to six with a jumper to start the scoring in the second. Bridgewater senior Chanelle Melton (Brockton, Mass.) and Aguirre exchanged buckets at 8:14 and 6:35, before DelGrosso cut into the six-point Blue lead with a layup to make the score 15-11 at 6:26. DelGrosso went on to score six of the final eight Bridgewater points in the quarter, as the Bears took a 19-16 lead into the half when the junior dropped in a layup with two seconds left in the second.

The Bears opened the second half on an 8-2 run, taking a 27-17 advantage when senior Rhiana Page (Brookline, Mass.) hit the second of two free throws with 6:35 left in the third. Back-to-back Blue buckets from sophomore Kendall You Mak (San Francisco, Calif.) and Brown made the score 27-21 at the 5:40 mark, as Wellesley chipped away at the deficit. The Blue got to within four, when Cho made the score 29-25 at 3:35, but the Bears outscored Wellesley 10-5 over the final 3:25 to take a nine-point, 39-30, lead into the fourth. 

Bridgewater took their largest lead of the game 8:05 into the fourth, when DaSilva hit a triple to put the Bears up by 13, at 45-32. The Blue briefly closed the gap to nine, 50-41, thanks to an Aguirre triple at 2:18, but could not put together a run in the game's final minutes.

The Bears connected on half of their attempts (6-of-12) from long range, finishing at 39.1% (18-of-46) overall from the floor. The Blue countered at 30.4% (17-of-56) and hit just three shots from beyond the arc. 

The Blue will play their second and final game in Florida tomorrow, Friday, December 29, against Messiah at 1:00 PM. Bridgewater State will play Bridgewater (Va.) at 11:00 AM in Daytona Beach.