WORCESTER, Mass-- A furious second half rally helped Clark University defeat Wellesley College basketball, 60-56, in a New England Men's and Women's Conference at Kneller Athletic Center on Wednesday evening.
Clark improves to 8-11 overall and 4-6 in NEWMAC play, as Wellesley drops to 7-9 and 4-6 in conference play.
The Cougars strong second half was highlighted by a 14-0 run to start the third quarter, as the hosts took their first lead of the game on a Hannah Favaloro (Blackstone, Mass) layup at the 4:48 mark. Favaloro helped the Clark in the second half, scoring nine of her 11 points after the break. Clark had four players in double figures led by Emily Stifferlin (North Andover, Mass) with 13 points off the bench. Kacey Legare (Chicopee, Mass) finished with 12, Hannah Favaloro (Blackstone, Mass) had 11 and Ogechi Ezemma (Hope Valley, RI) ended with 10.
Wellesley's Caitlin Aguirre (El Paso, Texas) scored a game-high 20 points (7-of-18) for the Blue. Kendall You Mak (San Francisco, Calif) set a new career high in rebounds with 12, including six offensive, while pitching in nine points.
The Blue started strong and never surrendered the lead in the first half, as they led 17-13 after the first quarter. Aguirre connected on her two three point attempts to pace the Blue offense. While Sifferlin was able to keep Clark in the game as she had six of her 13 points on two three pointers. Wellesley continued their strong start into the second quarter as they outscored the Cougars by a score of 20-13 to take a 37-26 lead at halftime. The Blue shot 75% (9-of-12) from the field to build their lead. Aguirre paced all players with 16 points (5-of-8) including 80% from three (4-of-5).
Wellesley scored their first points in the third quarter with 3:13 remaining on an Emily Kopp (King Ferry, NY) layup. After the slow start, Wellesley salvaged the remaining three minutes to cut the Clark lead to one, 46-45. Kendall You Mak grabbed two of her six offensive rebounds in the final seconds of the quarter then hit a jumper as time expired to bring the Blue within one. Clark was able to stymie the Blue's fourth quarter comeback attempt, as Sam O'Gara (Worcester, Mass.) put the game out of reach with two free throws with five seconds remaining to seal the Cougar win.
Wellesley returns home to the Dorothy Towne Fieldhouse on Saturday, January 26, for a NEWMAC matchup against Smith College at 1:00PM. Clark heads to Wheaton on the 26th, where they are slated for a 1:00PM start against the Lyons.