SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – WPI overcame a six-point deficit mid-way through the second half to grab a 51-47 victory over Mount Holyoke College in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular season finale for both teams. With the win, the Engineers move to 16-9 and 9-7 in conference play. The Lyons conclude their season with a 6-19 overall mark, going 3-13 in the NEWMAC.
The Engineers will next appear in the NEWMAC Tournament, playing in a quarterfinal match on Wednesday at 7pm.
After an opening half, which saw the Lyons battle from behind to take a 23-17 lead, WPI began to pick up the pace in the second stanza. Following a three-pointer from junior guard Genelle Green (Windsor, Conn./Miss Porter's School), MHC saw its lead slip as back-to-back layups from senior forwards Amaia Gritsko (Milford, Conn./St. Joseph) and Dani Davis (East Granby, Conn./East Granby) closed the gap to two (34-32) with 12:18 to play.
Green nailed another layup to make it a four-point advantage for the home team, but a jumper from Gritsko, backed by a layup from sophomore forward Tess Nogueira (Merrimac, Mass./Pentucket Regional) tied the game at 36-all with 10:14 on the clock. The Engineers grabbed the lead on a trey from junior guard Lisa Mendez (Yonkers, N.Y./Maria Regina) but a shot from beyond the arc by junior guard Kelly Stewart (La Cañada, Calif./La Cañada) made it a 42-41 WPI lead with 5:37 to play.
Mount Holyoke came back to tie at 44-all on a pair of free throws from senior guard Kate Karraker (Morgantown, W.V./Taft School) and took the 47-44 lead on a three from Stewart with just 1:44 to go. Despite the momentum, the Engineers battled once again, taking advantage of an MHC foul as Gritsko nailed two from the line and a trey from Davis gave WPI a lead it would not relinquish.
In the opening half of play, the visitors lead by as many as seven (13-6) before the Lyons began to pull back into it. A pair of shots from line by senior forward Amber Legare (Chicopee, Mass./Chicopee Comprehensive) closed the gap to two (17-15) and a layup from Karraker later tied it at 17-all.
Senior forward Nicole DeMarchena (Miami, Fla./Amherst Regional) sank two from the charity stripe to take the lead and later added a layup in the final 34 seconds to give MHC the 23-17 lead at halftime.
For the game, the Engineers were led by Gritsko, who posted a game-best 14 points with eight rebounds, an assist, a block and a steal. Davis chipped in with 12 points and seven boards, while junior center Jessica Larsen (Poway, Calif./Poway) had seven points, nine boards and a game-high three assists.
The Lyons saw Green record a team-high 13 points. DeMarchena chipped in a double-double of 12 points and a game-best 11 rebounds, while also adding a game-high five blocks and four steals. Karraker rounded out the double-figure efforts, posting 11 points with three assists.
Prior to the game, the Lyons honored their senior class, including DeMarchena, Karraker and Legare. MHC also recognized the accomplishments of WPI's Class of 2015, including Davis, Gritsko and guard Rachel Pineda (Shrewsbury, Mass./Shrewsbury).