WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Returning to the court for the first time since December 7, Wellesley College basketball opened the second half of the team's 2019-20 schedule with a 64-52 non-conference victory over Nichols College on Saturday afternoon at Dorothy Towne Fieldhouse.
Paced by 16 points, eight rebounds, and five steals from senior Caitlin Aguirre (El Paso, Texas), the Blue improved to 7-2 overall and 2-0 at home while dropping Nichols to 3-7 on the season. The match-up was the first between the two programs since the Blue earned a 58-27 victory over the Bison during the 1992-93 season.
Aguirre was one of four Wellesley players to finish in double-figures, as junior Alyssa Cho (Hillsborough, Calif.) added 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting and senior Emily Kopp (King Ferry, N.Y.) and first year Jiyun Chae (Chantilly, Va.) each finished with 11 points. Chae also had a team-high nine of Wellesley's 41 rebounds in the contest, as the Blue finished with a 41-31 advantage on the glass.
Junior Isabella Nerney (Guilford, Conn.) scored 16 points off the Bison bench, shooting 4-of-7 from distance in the setback. First year guard Alexis Finnerty (Chester, Conn.) added 12 points and a pair of steals, while classmate Gina Parmenter (Oxford, Mass) added 11 points off the bench. Paced by Nerney and Parmenter, Nichols finished the contest with a 27-12 edge in bench scoring. Senior Ciarri Formby-Lavertu (Mont Vernon, N.H.) added a team-high six boards and five steals in 26 minutes.
Nichols took a 35-34 lead into the half thanks to an 18-10 second quarter rally. Wellesley opened the contest shooting 58.8% from the floor in the first quarter, building a 24-17 lead after ten minutes behind six points from Aguirre and five points from first year Rachel Shurberg (Fairfax, Va.). However, Nichols limited the Blue to just 4-of-17 shooting in the second quarter, while getting 11 points off the bench from Parmenter and Nerney to turn the seven-point first quarter deficit into a one-point halftime lead.
Wellesley took control of the game with a stifling third quarter, limiting the Bison to just one made field goal while forcing 12 turnovers during a 16-4 run that put Wellesley up 50-39 heading into the fourth. Wellesley stretched the lead to its largest of the game in the fourth, taking a 17-point advantage when Chae nailed a jumper with 3:20 remaining. The Blue would go on to close out a double-digit victory, 64-52, as Nichols only cut the lead to 12 in the final minute.
Wellesley finished the game 29-of-70 (41.4%) from the floor and 4-of-10 (40.0%) from the line. Nichols shot 12-for-20 from the line (60%) and 15-of-39 (38.5%) from the floor while going 10-for-24 (41.7%) from the three-point line.
Both teams will continue the season on Tuesday evening, January 7. Wellesley will play at New England College in a non-conference match-up at 5:00 PM. Nichols will host Endicott in Commonwealth Coast Conference action at 5:30 PM.