WELLESLEY, Mass. -- First year Valentina Morakis (Long Island, N.Y.) scored a career-high 18 points to lead Wellesley College basketball in a 60-49 win over WPI in a New England Women's & Men's Conference (NEWMAC) game on Saturday afternoon at Dorothy Towne Fieldhouse.
The Blue improve to 7-8 overall, snapping a three-game skid to improve to 4-5 in NEWMAC play. The Engineers fall to 7-9 and 2-7 in conference play.
Wellesley had two other players in double figures in points, with junior Caitlin Aguirre (El Paso, Texas) scoring 15 and classmate Kendall You Mak (San Francisco, Calif.) pitching in 11 for the Blue. Sophomore Alyssa Cho (Hillsborough, Calif.) scored seven points and corralled six rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench.
WPI was led by first year Alex Scariata (Scotch Plains, N.J.) who scored nine points. Junior Spencer Vinson (Los Angeles, Calif.) led the game in rebounds with seven, including four offensive boards for the Engineers. Vinson, and first years McKenna Finken (Simsbury, Conn.) and Bailey Savage (Charlton, Mass) each scored seven points for WPI.
The Blue got on the board first on a Morakis lay-up to start the game and did not look back as Wellesley never trailed in the contest. WPI trailed by five at the end of the first quarter, but was able to play a strong second quarter, shooting 54.5% (6-of-11) from the field, including 50% (3-of-6) from beyond the arc. Wellesley answered the resurgent effort by WPI and was able to hold their five point lead at halftime as the Blue shot 53.8% (7-of-13) in the second.
Savage scored six of her seven points in the third quarter, but once again, the Blue answered, as Aguirre converted on two three pointers in the frame to maintain the Blue lead heading into the fourth quarter. Wellesley held an eight point lead over WPI for the majority of the fourth quarter, but the Engineers were able to bring it to a five point deficit (50-45) on a Scariata three pointer at 2:07. However, the Blue capitalized on their opportunities at the free throw line down the stretch, shooting 75% (6-of-8) in the quarter to seal the win.
The Blue forced 25 turnovers, which they converted into 16 points. They also held the edge in points in the paint, outscoring WPI 28-16. Wellesley's defense was strong throughout the game, holding WPI to shoot 37.5% (18-of-48), while the Blue shot 44.9% (22-of-49).
Wellesley hits the road on Wednesday, January 23 to take on Clark at 7:00 PM for a NEWMAC match-up, while WPI is set to travel to Tufts in non-conference action on Tuesday, January 22 at 7:00 PM.