Worcester, Mass. – Clark University overcame a sluggish first half to rally past Wheaton College, 60-56, in New England Women's And Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's basketball action on Saturday morning.
The game, which was moved up to 11:00 a.m. due to the impending snow storm that is blanketing most of New England, saw five lead changes and five ties and a few long scoring droughts for the hosts.
Score: Clark University 60, Wheaton College 56
Records: Clark University 9-3 (3-2 NEWMAC); Wheaton College 2-11 (0-5 NEWMAC)
Location: Kneller Athletic Center, Worcester, Mass.
How It Happened:
After racing out to an early 16-9 lead following an Ogechi Ezemma (Hope Valley, R.I.) inside hoop with 3:54 left in the period, the Cougars went scoreless for nearly the next six minutes until another Ezemma basket in the second quarter made the score, 18-15.
That Chen basket with 6:48 left in the half, however, proved to be Clark's final basket of the quarter as they missed their final nine shots and committed a pair of turnovers. During that drought, the Lyons surged ahead as Jill Boudreau (Thompson, Conn.) knocked down a three-pointer and Sara McLeman (Auburn, N.H.) scored inside as part of a half-ending 10-0 run that sent Wheaton into intermission ahead 27-20.
The Scarlet and White were able to close the gap in the early portion of the third period highlighted by a pair of steals from Torieana St. Pierre (Portsmouth, N.H.). Her first one led to a conventional three-point play for Aretha Sullivan (Worcester, Mass.) and the next one saw her swoop in for a basket of her own that got the Cougars to within two at 32-30.
An Ezemma free throw sparked a quick burst that saw O'Gara go coast-to-coast for an easy finish and then an Ezemma basket put Clark up by three until a Boudreau three-pointer evened the score in the waning minutes of the period.
O'Gara was able to set up Dominique St. Pierre (Portsmouth, N.H.) for a buzzer-beating layup that sent the Cougars in front, 44-42, to start the fourth.
Clark's offense seemed like it started to click in the final period and when Maya Kerstetter (Northampton, Mass.) scored, the Scarlet and White were ahead 53-46.
Amazingly, the Cougars went on another scoring drought, getting just a single Kacey Legare (Chicopee, Mass.) free throw over the next four minutes.
Wheaton, meanwhile, narrowed the gap courtesy of some excellent free throw shooting from Sophia Black (Gloucester, Mass.), Boudreau and Abby Hamilton (Gorham, Maine). After Black split a pair, the score was 54-53 with less than three minutes to play.
Ezemma scored inside again to break the scoring slump but Emily Cuthbertson (Hudson, N.H.) tied the game at 56-56 with her fourth three-pointer of the game at 1:53.
Clark went back in front when Ezemma was able to drop in a free throw line jumper on the ensuing Cougar possession.
Each team had an empty possession, and it was Wheaton's ball down by two with three seconds left but they were unable to inbound the ball within the allotted five seconds and they turned the ball over to the Cougars.
O'Gara calmly sank a pair of free throws to seal the game with less than a second left to play.
Inside The Numbers:
- Clark held a 43-35 edge on the glass, including a 17-6 advantage on offensive rebounds.
- The Cougars outscored Wheaton 36-12 in the paint and courtesy of their offensive rebound total, they led second chance points, 19-4.
- Clark forced 24 Lyon turnovers, which led to 21 points.
For The Foes:
- Cuthbertson finished with a team-best 12 points (4-for-8 on three-pointers) to go along with five rebounds.
- Bodreau finished with 11 points in 27 minutes of action.
- Ruthie Zientek (Holmdel, N.J.) chipped in with ten points, three rebounds and a team-best four assists.
- Black totaled nine points, six rebounds and three assists.
- Ezemma was extremely aggressive all afternoon and finished with another double-double, collecting 21 points and 17 rebounds.
- O'Gara had an excellent all-around effort, ending with 15 points, eight rebounds, seven steals and six assists.
- Sullivan finished with eight points, three rebounds, six assists and two steals.
Clark kicks off a busy week with a road trip to Smith College on Tuesday, while Wheaton will look to snap its six game losing streak when they visit Springfield on Tuesday as well.