-Score: Smith College 71, Clark University 48
-Records: Clark University (8-9, NEWMAC 2-6), Smith College (11-4, 5-2)
-Location: Worcester, Mass. (Kneller Athletic Center)
-The Lead: Despite a strong first half, the Clark University women's basketball team was shut down by the Pioneers of Smith College in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action on Wednesday evening. Junior Kennedy Guest-Pritchett (Fairburn, Georgia) led the Pioneers to victory with a game high 17 points on the night. Junior Ogechi Ezemma (Hope Valley, R.I.) led Clark with 12 points in the setback.
HOW IT HAPPENED
-Clark opened up on a 3-0 run highlighted by a three-pointer from senior Haley Wilder (Rindge, N.H.) for the early 7-0 lead. The Pioneers responded with a 3-0 run of their own and a drive to the basket from Guest-Pritchett brought them back within one with 4:30 on the clock, 7-6.
-Freshman Jamad Fiin (Boston, Mass.) sank a three at the 2:47 mark to put the Cougars back up by four and a strong drive to the basket from Ezemma gave the home team two more and the 14-8 lead with just a minute to play.
-Junior Sydney Koh (Seattle, Wash.) closed out scoring for the first quarter when her classmate, Lauren Bondi (Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada) fed her the ball for a three-pointer and the visitors trailed by just three, 14-11.
-Smith got things started in the second with a jumper just inside the paint from junior Stephanie Foukaris (Nicosia, Cyprus) and a three-pointer from Samantha Alakai (Pikalani, Hawaii) less than a minute later gave the visitors their first lead of the game, 16-14.
-Wilder spun around a Smith defender and put up a strong layup to tie the game at 16 apiece with 6:18 on the clock. The visitors responded with their own play under the basket as Foukaris found Guest-Pritchett underneath who knocked down a layup for the 18-16 lead. Smith extended their lead to five on a three from senior Meghan Holland (Atherton, Calif.) and forced Clark to call their first timeout of the game, 21-16.
-A pair of free throws from Ezemma and a successful drive to the basket from Rachael Chen (Needham, Mass.) brought the Cougars back within one, 21-20, but a 3-0 run from the Pioneers including a three for Bondi gave the visitors the 28-20 lead heading into the halftime break.
-Smith took the first double-digit lead of the game on a layup from Bondi to start the third quarter. They extended their advantage to 12 points on a jumper from Paige Marquez (San Fransisco, Calif.) at the 8:29 mark. Chen stopped their run as she sank a jumper with a Smith defenders hand in her face to close the gap back to ten, 32-22.
-Guest-Pritchett put the Pioneers up by 13 with a layup and one at the free-throw line with 5:47 to play in the quarter, 40-28.
-Out of a Clark timeout Ezemma knocked down a basket from the wing to bring the Cougars back within 15 and a three from freshman Idalis Miranda (Naugatuck, Conn.) just one minute later closed the Pioneer's lead to 13 with 1:09 to play.
-The visitors closed out the quarter on a 2-0 run highlighted by a three-pointer from Koh for the 54-36 lead heading into the final stanza.
-Smith took a substantial 21-point lead when Guest-Pritchett and Bondi combined for five points in 30 seconds for the 61-40 advantage to start the fourth.
-A 4-0 run that included three points from both Guest-Pritchett and Alakai extended the visitors lead to 27 with just three minutes to play.
-A layup from junior Erika Monsalve (Bristol, Conn.) and a pair of free throws from freshman Sahra Nur (Cambridge, Mass.) wrapped up scoring for the Cougars and the Pioneers came away with the final 71-48 victory.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
-Smith shot 45.3% from the field while Clark shot 39.5%
-The Cougars shot 73.3% from the free throw line as they went 11-for-15. The Pioneers shot 50% at the free-throw line.
-The visitors edged Clark in rebounding, 35-30.
-Clark's bench added 22 points including seven from Fiin.
-Clark heads to Cambridge, Mass. on Saturday, January 20th to take on NEWMAC foe, MIT at 2:00 p.m.
-Smith hosts Wellesley College in conference play on the same day at 2:00 p.m.