Score: Worcester State 82, Clark 75
Records: Worcester State (2-0) | Clark (1-1)
Location: Worcester, Mass. (Kneller Athletic Center)
The Lead: The Clark Univeristy women's basketball team fell to the Lancers of Worcester State University (82-75) in the opening game of the Worcester City Tournament Friday evening.
Clark jumped off to an 8-0 lead on three buckets, including a triple, from Haley Wilder (Rindge, N.H.) and a free throw from Ogechi Ezemma (Hope Valley, R.I.) before the Lancers reached the board 2:05 into the stanza on a layup from Shaye Lane (Dracut, Mass.). The hosts held a 6-plus advantage until Worcester State's Kate Surprenant (Pelham, N.H.) made back-to-back jumpers and a free throw to trim the Cougars' lead to just two. Clark responded with two buckets, however, Worcester State took its first lead of the game with 3:04 remaining in the quarter succeeding a layup from Kaitlyn Berkel (Waterford, Conn.) and a 3-pointer from rookie Sam Maglione (Lancaster, Mass.). The teams traded points, though Worcester came out on top at the end of the frame following a triple from freshman Colleen Cutting (Auburn, Mass.).
The Lancers began the second quarter with an 8-0 run to hold a 9-point advantage with seven minutes remaining in the second. The Lancers notched an 11-point lead with 5:16 remaining when Britt Herring (West Brookfield, Mass.) picked up an offensive rebound and put the ball into the bucket for a 34-23 score. Worcester State slowly pushed away as Maglione pressed the lead to 13 following another triple, and Surprenant completed the quarter with a triple to extend the lead to 15 (47-32).
The Blue and Gold kept their distance from the Cougars. Mid-way through the third, Clark ignited an 8-0 run when Idalis Miranda (Naugatuck, Conn.) netted two back-to-back threes. However, Worcester responded with an 11-4 run to close out the third with a 69-53 score in favor of the Lancers.
Brianna Hackett (Hollis, N.H.) logged a jumper and a 3-pointer to start the final quarter. Behind by 17 with five minutes to go, Clark saw seven points from Miranda, Ezemma, and Myra Kersseter (Northampton, Mass.) to tighten the gap to 10. Clark battled back and Miranda made a triple with 18 seconds remaining to bring the game within seven. Nevertheless, Clark was unable to complete the comeback with the limited time left.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
-Suprenant led the Lancers with a career-high 20 points and going 8-for-13 from the field and 3-for-4 from the free throw line.
-Berkel logged a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds in the win.
-Also scoring double-digits for the Blue and Gold was Hackett (14), Maglione (14), and Herring (13)
-Hackett guided the offense with a team-high four assists.
-The Cougars were led by Wilder who marked a game-high 24 points in the win.
-Ezemma posted 21 points, going 10-for-12 from the field, while Miranda tallied 15 points in the setback.
-Rachael Chen (Needham, Mass.) led Clark in rebound with 12.
-The Lancers shot 53.3% from the field, in comparison to Clark's 40.9%.
-Clark held the advantage in shooting beyond the arc, going 6-for-15 (40%) while Worcester went 6-for-17 (35.3%).
-Clark edge Worcester in rebounds, 40-36.
-Worcester State committed 23 turnovers which turned into 20 Cougar points, while Clark registered 10 turnovers.
Clark plays Becker College tomorrow in the consolation game at 1:00 P.m. With tonight's win, Worcester State advances to the Worcester City Tournament Championship game, which is scheduled against WPI tomorrow at 3 p.m. on the campus of Clark University.
GAME TWO: BECKER vs. WPI
WPI 65, Becker 27
Maura Buckley (Melrose, MA) led all scorers with 12 points and Maddie Burke (Bedford, NH) was a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor on her way to 11 points as WPI opened its season with a 65-27 victory Friday evening over Becker in the semifinals of the 2017 Worcester City Women's Basketball Tournament hosted by Clark.
The Engineers, who are in search of their fourth straight tournament crown, will face Worcester State (2-0) on Saturday at 3pm for the title. Earlier Friday the Lancers defeated host Clark (1-1) 82-75 in the other semifinal. The Cougars will play Becker (1-1) in the consolation game at 1pm.
WPI never trailed, but after scoring just six seconds in on a Stasha Greenalch (Newington, CT) free throw and racing out to a 7-0 advantage, the Crimson and Gray only led 14-12 at the end of the first quarter. Becker displayed balanced scoring in the opening 10 minutes as Cassidy Harrison (Foxboro, MA), Ciara McKissick (Charlton, MA), Sarah Ware (Oakham, MA), Mariah Triplett (Coral Springs, FL), Jazlyn Contreras (Pawtucket, RI) and Kelsey Maynard (Millville, MA) all accounted for baskets.
The WPI defense stiffened in the middle two quarters and outscored the Hawks 43-14 over the 20 minutes stretch to put the game out of hand. The Engineers shot a blistering 62.1% (18-of-29) over the middle two quarters while holding the Hawks to just 21.1% (4-of-19). Buckley was the star of the second stanza, connecting on all three of her shots while Blake drained all four of her bids in the third quarter.
Ama Biney (Worcester, MA) aided the WPI effort with eight points, all in the first half. Brittany Lambert (Hudson, NH), Madison Beck (Syracuse, NY) and Alana Keating (Leominster, MA) all added six points with Lambert's total coming on a pair of 3-pointers as the Engineers connected on 6-of-14 (42.9) of their efforts from downtown. Buckley also posted a game-high in rebounds with six while Greenalch doled out a game and career-best eight assists to go along with four steals.
Ware and Erin Gaudette (Spencer, MA) paced Becker with five points each while Harrison corralled a team-high four rebounds.