Babson Park, Mass. – Ahead by as many as eight in the first part of the fourth quarter, seventh-seeded Clark University couldn't pull of the upset of their intercity rival, WPI as the Engineers stormed back to take a 56-53 win in the semifinals of the New England Women's And Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's basketball tournament on Saturday afternoon.
Score: WPI 56, Clark University 53
Records: WPI 23-4, Clark University 14-12
Location: Staake Gymnasium, Babson Park, Mass.
How It Happened:
After a hot-shooting first half that saw the Scarlet and White take a 30-21 lead into intermission as Haley Wilder (Rindge, N.H.) was bombing away from three-point land, the Clark offense sputtered in the final 20 minutes, specifically in the fourth quarter.
The game was tied at 45-45 after the Engineers' Madison Beck scored inside with 8:37 left to play.
Clark then went on a quick 8-0 burst – all by Sam O'Gara (Worcester, Mass.) – who first drilled a three-pointer, made three straight free throws and then hit a short jumper all within a 1:04 span.
Unfortunately for the Cougars, O'Gara's jumper with 7:19 left proved to be their final points of the contest.
WPI closed the game on an 11-0 run over that span and went ahead for good when Priscilla Dunphy scored inside to give the Engineers a 55-53 edge with 21 seconds left.
Even after a Clark turnover and when Dunphy split a pair of free throws with six seconds to go, the Cougars had a chance to force overtime but they were unable to get a game-tying attempt off as time expired.
Clark went 3-of-4 from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers and was 3-of-3 from line to start the fourth quarter. That momentum faded, however, as they finished 0-for-5 with six turnovers in final 7:19 of the game over 12 possessions.
Biney led all players with 18 points, seven rebounds, and seven steals.
Wilder led the Cougars with 15 points and shared team-high honors with five rebounds. O'Gara ended with 13 points, while Aretha Sullivan (Worcester, Mass.) finished with 11 points.
WPI enjoyed advantages in points in the paint (22-8), points off turnovers (21-11) while Clark had the 11-5 margin in second-chance points and a 10-9 edge in points off the bench.