Wellesley Outlasts Basketball, 49-36

WELLESLEY, Mass. (Feb. 9, 2008) - Junior forwards Jessica Duff (Milton, Abingdon, U.K./Saline) and Julia Thomas (Concord, Calif./Northgate) recorded double-doubles to lift the Wellesley College women's basketball team to a 49-36 victory over Mount Holyoke College this evening in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action at the Keohane Sports Center. With the win, the Blue improved to 6-13 (3-6 NEWMAC) on the year. Mount Holyoke fell to 4-16 (1-8 NEWMAC).

Duff racked up 12 points and a game-best 21 rebounds to set the tone for Wellesley. The Blue also received solid production from Thomas, who tallied a game-high 14 points to go with 12 rebounds. Junior forward Courtney Richter (Sinking Spring, Pa./Wyomissing Area) rounded things out with 11 points for the hosts.

Mount Holyoke was paced by first year guard Emilie Methot (South Hadley, Mass./Granby), who netted ten points on 3-of-7 shooting from the floor. Junior guard Katie Austen (Mount Sinai, N.Y./Mount Sinai) and senior forward Marisa Barone (Ludlow, Mass./Wilbraham & Monson Academy) posted nine points apiece. The duo finished with seven and ten boards, respectively.

Both teams opened the game cold from the floor, with Wellesley gradually building a 6-0 lead thanks to layups by Thomas and first year center Meggan Carkin (Pepperell, Mass.). The Lyons answered with back-to-back buckets from sophomore center Kate Shafir (Newton, Mass./Beaver Country Day) and Barone to cut the lead to two.

The teams traded baskets until a put-back from Thomas gave Wellesley a 12-10 edge. The Blue quickly extended their lead to 17-10, with a layup from Duff and a three-pointer from Richter.

Two more points from Richter forced a Mount Holyoke timeout at 19-10, with 8:30 left in the half. After another Wellesley bucket, the Lyons responded with a brief run of their own, capped off by a 10-foot jumper from sophomore guard Erin Cain (Quincy, Mass./Fontbonne Academy), trimming the lead to 21-16 at the 3:40 mark.

After trading buckets, an offensive rebound and putback by first year center Lindsay Curran (Wilton, N.H.) sparked a 4-0 run, stretching the lead to 27-18 with 1:00 remaining. The Lyons responded with four points of their own, with two free throws from Methot and a layup from Shafir to cut the Blue's lead to 27-22 at the break.

Wellesley opened the second period with a quick bucket, but stifling defense from both squads led to four scoreless minutes. The Lyons finally broke the ice at the 15:30 mark, with a short jumper from Austen to trim the lead back to five.

Two straight Wellesley buckets, including a putback from Duff and a short jumper from Richter gave the Blue a 33-24 lead with 12:00 remaining. The squads traded baskets for six minutes, with the Blue maintaining a seven-point edge. At the 5:13 mark, Richter stretched the lead to nine with two free throws. Duff followed with two more from the charity stripe, pushing the lead to 40-29 with 4:30 left on the clock. Another putback from Duff at the 3:35 mark stretched the lead to 13. Two more buckets gave the Blue a commanding 44-29 lead with 2:58 left on the clock, allowing the Blue to coast to a 49-36 win.

Mount Holyoke (4-16, 1-8 NEWMAC) is slated to host NEWMAC foe Springfield College on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. Three of the Lyons final four contests will be played in front of their home crowd.

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