November 28, 2006

Wells three-point play rescues No. 8 women's hoops from upset, 73-72, at Wheaton

NORTON, MA (taken from a Wheaton College press release) - Sophomore Amanda Wells (Loudon, N.H.) converted a three-point play with 6.2 seconds left to give nationally-ranked Brandeis University the lead for good, and the Judges held on to avert Wheaton College's upset bid with a 73-72 victory on Tuesday evening in Emerson Gymnasium. Brandeis, which is ranked eighth in this week's D3hoops.com national poll, moved to 5-0, while the Lyons fell to 2-2.

The Judges barreled out to a 12-5 lead 4:05 into the game, but Wheaton relied on hot shooting to come all the way back. The Lyons scored the next eight points to take a 13-12 edge, as freshman Ida Kruse (Vershire, Vt.) netted the final six points of the run. The Lyons hit 10 of their first 13 shots and led by as many as 11 points, 26-15, with 6:59 remaining to finish off a 21-3 run. Brandeis made big strides toward evening the contest by making its way to the charity stripe late in the half, hitting 10-of-12 free throws over the final 5:46 to make it a 35-32 game at halftime. Eight of the Judges' final 10 points came on freebies.

By intermission, the Lyons had nearly matched Brandeis' defensive average of 36.2 points yielded per game, as the Blue and White shot 14-of-23 for 60.9 percent and outrebounded the visitors, 18-16. Despite shooting 28.1 percent and hitting 9-of-32 attempts from the field, including 2-of-13 from three-point land, the Judges held a commanding 10-3 advantage on the offensive glass and forced 15 turnovers.

Wheaton led by as many as seven points during the early going of the second stanza, but Brandeis closed the gap and pulled ahead, 58-54 at 9:27, thanks to a 9-0 run, capped by senior Caitlin Malcolm's (Windsor Locks, Conn.) lay-up. The Lyons rallied for the next six points, but the Judges countered with seven of the following nine to hold a 65-62 edge at 4:31. However, Wheaton freshman Jenny Champney (Bedford, Mass.) hit consecutive baskets to put the hosts back out in front with 3:37 to go.

After senior Samara Audet (Derry, N.H.) grabbed an offensive board and turned in a three-point play with 27.6 seconds left to keep the Lyons on top at 72-68, the Judges quickly came back. Freshman Jessica Chapin (Mendon, N.Y.) knocked down a pair of free throws with 21.6 seconds to go. Wells snagged the rebound of a missed Wheaton free throw to give Brandeis the final possession before collecting an offensive board and finishing off her three-point play with 6.2 ticks left.

Wheaton's 56.9-percent shooting was the fifth-best showing in program history, as the Lyons hit 29-of-51 shots from the floor and connected on 11-of-13 free throw attempts. Senior Kim McCormack (Milton, Mass.) accounted for 17 points, while Champney nearly recorded a double-double thanks to 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting and eight rebounds. Sophomore Krystin Hickey (Manchester, N.H.) tallied 11 points, six rebounds and four assists, while Kruse notched 10 points thanks to a 4-of-5 effort from the floor. Senior Casey Sorbara (Port Chester, N.Y.) had a game-high six assists.

Each team grabbed 35 rebounds, but the Judges were bolstered by a 20-8 final advantage in offensive boards and a 24-of-35 effort in free throw attempts. Junior Jaime Capra (Old Bridge, N.J.) scored a game-best 19 points while snagging eight boards, Malcolm notched 12 points, and Chapin finished with 10. Wells totaled seven points, scoring the contest's first four points and the final three.