WELLESLEY, Mass. – Capitalizing on a strong first-half performance, #4 seed Wellesley College powered past #5 Springfield College, 66-54, in the NEWMAC women's basketball quarterfinals on Wednesday night at Keohane Sports Center. The Blue advance to the semifinals on Saturday, February 25, when they travel to #1 Babson for a 1pm match-up.
Leslie Leong led the Blue with 15 points and six boards, while Malia Maier added a double-double with 14 points and 10 assists. Morgyne Weaver chipped in with 10 points and seven rebounds, while Ashleigh Sargent and Elisha Orama each recorded nine points.
Springfield was paced by 15 points from Meghan Biondolillo, while Kelly Slattery added 11. Kelly Murphy recorded eight points, including the 1,000th of her career. She finishes her tenure in maroon with 1,001 points, 14th on Springfield's all-time list. Leading the Pride on the boards, Tamara Tribble pulled down seven rebounds.
Tonight's win lifts Wellesley to 13-11 on the season. Springfield finishes the year at 12-14.
The Blue opened the game with hot shooting from the floor, including 10 points from Leong and six from Weaver, to grab a 22-11 lead midway through the period. The Pride responded with a 10 -3 run, highlighted by two threes from Biondolillo, to cut the lead to 25-21 with six minutes left.
Wellesley answered with nine straight for a 34-21 advantage before Murphy ended the Springfield drought with with a running hook at the 1:35 mark. The Blue added two more to take 36-23 lead into the locker room.
The Blue out-shot the Pride 46% to 38% in the opening period, while out-rebounding the visitors 19-14. Wellesley also forced eight Springfield turnovers in the half, leading to 9-2 advantage in points off turnovers.
The squads traded buckets in the opening minutes of the second half, until a trey from Maier gave the Blue a 16-point edge with 14:45 remaining. Five minutes later, Maier hit back-to-back threes to give Wellesley its largest lead of the game at 54-33.
Springfield responded with a furious charge, using full-court defensive pressure and buckets from Slattery, Murphy, and Andrea Butler to cut the lead to 56-46 with 4:15 left. A layup from Slattery cut the lead to eight, but Wellesley rallied with four straight to push the lead back to 12 points as they cruised to a 66-54 win.