Wellesley, Mass. – Host Wellesley College held off a furious Clark University second half rally and hung on for a 49-46 win in New England Women's And Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's basketball action on Thursday evening.
The win for the Blue is their season-high fourth in a row, while the Scarlet and White have now dropped back-to-back games and three of their last four.
Score: Wellesley College 49, Clark University 46
Records: Wellesley College (7-5, 3-3 NEWMAC); Clark University (9-5, 3-4 NEWMAC)
Location: Gracia Mangano Martore '73 Court, Wellesley, Mass.
For The Foes:
Ailis Hanley (Cranston, R.I.) recorded a game-high 12 points, finishing in double figures for the third consecutive game, while also pulling down eight rebounds and registering a game-best three blocked shots.
Caitlin Aguirre (El Paso, Texas) and Emily Kopp (King Ferry, N.Y.) each added eight points, with Kopp also grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out five assists.
Sophomore Zojajha Ayub (Belle Mead, N.J.) had seven points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals for the Blue.
Ogechi Ezemma (Hope Valley, R.I.) notched her third-straight double double, scoring 11 points, while collecting a game-high 12 rebounds and four steals in 32 minutes of action.
Aretha Sullivan (Worcester, Mass.), added ten to go along with six rebounds and four steals.
How It Happened:
The Cougars trailed by as many as 19 points before rallying back to take a one-point lead late in the fourth quarter.
Wellesley opened the game on an 8-0 run, holding Clark without a basket until Ezemma made the score 8-2 at 4:24 of the first. Ezemma's bucket keyed an 8-2 Clark run, as the visitors made the score 10-8 with just over a minute left in the first. Ayub then scored five straight points for the Blue, before Sullivan knocked down a triple for the Cougars, to end the first with Wellesley leading 15-11.
Wellesley's defense was suffocating in the second quarter, holding the Cougars to just four points and one field goal over the ten-minute period. Aguirre scored six points to lead the Blue to their largest lead of the game, 34-15, at the half.
However, Clark immediately began to chip away at the lead in the third, opening the second half with a 15-4 run that made the score 38-30 following a layup from Kacey Legare (Chicopee, Mass.) at 1:59. A late jumper from Sullivan sent the teams to the fourth with Clark trailing by just seven, 41-34.
Clark got to the line early and often in the fourth, scoring ten of their 12 points in the period from the charity stripe. The Cougars lone field goal came at the 4:01 mark, when Sullivan brought the visitors to within one, at 43-42. Kopp responded with a jumper on the Wellesley end, but Ezemma knocked down two free throws at 2:26, and Sullivan added two more at 1:32, to give Clark their first lead at 46-45.
Wellesley first year Kendall You Mak (San Francisco, Calif.) was fouled on the ensuing Blue possession and returned the lead to the Blue with a pair of free throws at 1:25 of the fourth.
With Clark unable to score on their next possession, Hanley hit a clutch jumper with 24 seconds remaining that helped the Blue hold on for the 49-46 win.
Both teams will continue NEWMAC play on Saturday, January 14. Wellesley will travel to MIT for a 1:00 p.m. tip, while Clark will host Babson at 3:00 p.m.