Wellesley Basketball Hangs on for 43-42 NEWMAC Win Over Emerson

Alyssa Cho scored a career-high 19 points in the Wellesley victory (Frank Poulin).
Alyssa Cho scored a career-high 19 points in the Wellesley victory (Frank Poulin).

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Sophomore Alyssa Cho (Hillsborough, Calif.) scored a career-high 19 points and hit the go-ahead layup with 27 seconds to play as Wellesley College basketball held on to defeat Emerson College, 43-42, in New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action on Wednesday night at Gracia Mangano Martore '73 Court.

The Blue improve to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in NEWMAC contests, while avenging their 73-56 loss to Emerson last Wednesday evening in Boston. Emerson is now 5-3 on the year and 2-1 in conference.

Cho finished 7-of-11 from the floor to lead all scorers. She also knocked down 5-of-6 attempts from the line and added a game-high nine rebounds. Junior guard Caitlin Aguirre (El Paso, Texas) chipped in on both ends of the floor with nine points, five boards, three assists, and two steals. Classmate Emily Kopp (King Ferry, N.Y.) pulled down six boards and added five points for the Blue. 

Junior Natalie Clydesdale (Pittsburgh, Pa.) scored 14 points to lead Emerson, shooting 4-of-5 from distance with six rebounds and a pair of steals. Classmate Quinn Madden (Mokena, Ill.) added nine points, six rebounds, two steals and two assists. Senior Natalie Busch (Weybridge, England) chipped in with six points, three boards, and two assists.

Wellesley limited the Emerson offense to just three points in the opening quarter, as a 9-3 Wellesley run sent the teams into the second with the Blue holding a six point edge. Emerson found their groove on offense in the second frame, shooting 5-for-10 from the floor and 3-for-6 from distance for 13 points. However, the Blue countered with 14 points of their own to take a seven-point lead into the half. A triple from Busch made the score 21-16 with 32 seconds before the break, but Cho knocked down a jumper at the buzzer to send the teams into the half with Wellesley ahead 23-16. 

Emerson rallied to take the lead in third quarter, opening the stanza on an 8-2 run that cut the Wellesley lead to 25-24 at 4:32. Cho countered with a jumper on the next Blue possession, extending the Emerson deficit back to three, but Madden would pull the Lions back to within one at 2:51 when Ashley Toner (Barnegat, N.J.) founded her under the bucket for two. The Blue held on to a slim advantage until Rachel Davey (Saratoga, Calif.) tied the contest, 29-29, for the first time all evening with a free throw at 36 seconds. A Busch free throw put the Lions ahead, 30-29, at 20 seconds, but the Blue scored four of the final five points in the quarter to take a 33-30 lead into the fourth. 

The teams played to three tie scores through the opening 8:10 of the fourth quarter before Wellesley was able to seize control of the lead, 41-39, thanks to two free throws from Cho with 1:05 left in regulation. Emerson responded on the next possession, as Clydesdale knocked down her fourth triple of the game to pull the visitors ahead, 42-41, with 51 seconds left. Following an Emerson timeout, Cho came-up big again, driving to the bucket and dropping in a layup to give the Blue a 43-42 lead. Junior Kendall You Mak (San Francisco, Calif.) helped seal the win with a big block on Busch on Emerson's final possession, as Wellesley held on for the 43-42 win.

Wellesley will host Springfield in their next contest on Saturday at 1:00 PM. Emerson returns to action tomorrow night at 7:00 PM when they travel to Lasell.