Pioneers Surge Past Cougars, 71-58

Aretha Sullivan finished with 17 points in the Cougars' 71-58 loss to Smith College.
Aretha Sullivan finished with 17 points in the Cougars' 71-58 loss to Smith College.

Northampton, Mass. – Clark University saw its halftime lead vanish as host Smith College stormed back in the second half to hand the Cougars a 71-58 setback in New England Women's And Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's basketball action on Tuesday evening.

Game Information
Smith College 71, Clark University 58
Records: Smith College 10-3 (3-2 NEWMAC); Clark University 9-4 (2-3 NEWMAC)
Location: Ainsworth Gymnasium, Northampton, Mass.

How It Happened:
The Cougars led by as many as nine points in the first half and went into intermission ahead by seven (31-24) as Ogechi Ezemma (Hope Valley, R.I.) was in complete control, scoring 18 first half points on 9-for-11 shooting.

Things changed dramatically in the final 20 minutes beginning in the third quarter where the Pioneers opened the frame on a 13-5 run to take the lead on their way to outscoring the Scarlet and White, 23-12 in the period.

Clark's last lead came midway through the third when Sam O'Gara (Worcester, Mass.) split a pair of free throws to make the score 34-33 but the Cougars were bitten by the turnover bug in the quarter as Smith turned their eight miscues in the period into nine points and 47-43 lead heading into the fourth.

The Cougars stayed within striking distance in the early part of the final stanza on a jumper from Haley Wilder (Rindge, N.H.) and a layup from Aretha Sullivan (Worcester, Mass.), but the Pioneers drilled consecutive three-pointers to push their lead to eight at 55-47.

Every time it seemed as if the Pioneers would pull away Clark, had a three-point response beginning with Maya Kerstetter (Northampton, Mass.), then Dominique Saint Pierre (Portsmouth, N.H.) and finally Sullivan.

Even after all that, the Cougars were still down six with less than three minutes to play. Sam Alakai, put the game out of reach for Smith when she knocked down the game-sealing three-pointer when she connected on her second of the period to make the game 69-58 with under two minutes to go.

Inside The Box Score:

  • Smith outscored Clark 47-27 in the second half by shooting 50 percent from the field (16-for-32) in the final 20 minutes.
  • The Pioneers had a huge advantage on the interior, outrebounding Clark 38-28 and they had a 13-2 edge in second chance points.
  • After a coming off of a stretch where they had double figure assists in five straight games, Clark was credited with a season-low seven assists.

For The Foes:

  • Kennedy Guest-Pritchett fell just shy of a double-double with nine points and a game-best 13 rebounds despite shooting just 2-for-12 from the field.
  • Lauren Bondi scored a team-best 14 points off the bench in just 11 minutes of action on 5-for-6 shooting.
  • Erin Hanley finished with 13 points and seven rebounds, while both Alakai (11) and Paige Marquez (10) each reached double figures.

Clark Stars:

  • Ezemma led all scorers with 22 points and ten rebounds – her sixth double-double of the season.
  • Sullivan racked up 17 points, while Dominique Saint Pierre was strong off the bench, totaling six points, three rebounds and two assists in 20 minutes of action.

Up Next:
Clark will continue its busy week of action with Thursday's road trip to Wellesley College. Tipoff is slated for 7:00 p.m.

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