Springfield, Mass. – Ava Adamopolous came off the bench to finish with 19 points and host Springfield College methodically pulled away from Clark University to post a 57-48 win in New England Women's And Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's basketball action on Wednesday night.
Despite the loss, the Cougars have qualified for the upcoming NEWMAC postseason tournament as the No. 7 seed and will travel to the No. 2 seed next Wednesday evening.
Springfield College, which is ranked No. 10 in the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Regional Rankings, improves to 18-6 overall and 13-2 in league play. With the loss, Clark is now 13-11 overall and 5-8 in the NEWMAC. Springfield College shot 19-for-51 (37.3%) from the field in the win, while the Cougars were just 15-for-54 (27.8%) in the setback. The Pride also held a 41-37 advantage on the glass over 40 minutes of play.
In addition to Adamopoulos' big night for the Pride, they also got a five-point, nine-assist effort from Danielle Racette (North Adams, Mass.).
For the Cougars, Aretha Sullivan (Worcester, Mass.) led the way with 15 points, including a perfect 11-for-11 performance from the free throw line, while Sam O'Gara (Worcester, Mass.) chipped in nine of her own.
Springfield College jumped out to an early 5-2 advantage over the first 3:53 on a basket from Taylor Hall (Tolland, Conn.), but Clark would take its first lead of the game with 2:43 to play in the stanza on a pair of free-throws from Sullivan. Adamopoulos would give the Pride a one-point lead with a basket, but O'Gara countered with one of her own to end the quarter, giving the Cougars an 11-10 lead at the end of one.
Springfield College evened the score at 14 with back-to-back lay-ups from Chelsea McAllister (Baltimore, Vt.) and Hall, before Adampoulos collected an offensive board and a converted a put-back lay-up to make it 16-14, Pride, with 7:15 to play in the half. Springfield College would then use a 12-0 run to take a 22-14 lead over the Cougars, capped by a free throw from Adamopoulos with 4:53 on the clock.
Clark would string together a run of its own to even the score at 22 apiece, before Haley Wilder (Rindge, N.H.) ended the half with a free-throw to give the Cougars a 23-22 lead at the break.
The Pride would score the first five points of the second half on a basket from Hall and a triple from Lexi Windwer (Milton, Mass.) to take a 27-23 advantage, before consecutive baskets from Adamopoulos and Racette gave Springfield a 31-25 lead with 5:41 left in the frame.
Clark pulled it to within a pair on a three-pointer from Ogechi Ezemma (Hope Valley, R.I.) to make it 34-32 with 3:19 to play in the third, before a pair of free-throws from Sullivan made it 36-36 with 1:19 on the clock. Molly McCausland (Millbury, Mass.) would finish the quarter with two free-throws to give the Pride a 39-38 advantage heading into the final period.
Following Windwer's second three-pointer of the contest to make it 44-40, Springfield College, Racette would convert a jump shot to push the Pride's lead to six with 6:30 to play. Back-to-back lay ups from Adampoulos would make it 52-40 with 2:05 to play, before the Pride converted its free-throw shots to seal the win.
The Cougars are back in action on Thursday as they wrap up their regular season at Simmons College. Pairings for the upcoming league tournament will be announced on Saturday evening by the conference office.