For the third time in the last three seasons, Springfield took on Wellesley in the quarterfinals in the NEWMAC Tournament. The first two meets were at Blake Arena with the Pride and Blue splitting the first two meetings.
The rubber match went in favor of No. 4 Wellesley as they ended the No. 5 Pride’s season 66-54 Wednesday night.
Two years Wellesley came to Alden Street and shocked the No. 3 Pride 58-57. Springfield got revenge last season defeating Wellesley 72-58.
The Blue began Wednesday’s quarterfinal with strong shooting and had a double-digit lead midway through the first half. Springfield got back within four after putting together a 10-3 run.
Wellesley continued its hot shooting by rallying off nine straight points, which helped them pull away from the Pride and enter the locker room with a 36-23 lead heading into halftime.
In the second half, Wellesley would quickly increase the lead to 16. Springfield once again climbed back into the game. With four minutes left the Pride cut the lead to 10 and a minute later cut the lead to single-digits with a Kelly Slattery layup.
But Wellesley was too strong Wednesday night scoring a pair of buckets to get the lead back up to 12 and sealing the victory and a trip to the semifinals against Babson on Saturday.
Leslie Leong scored 15 points and six rebounds, while Malia Maier added 14 to lead the Blue.
SC was led by Meghan Biondolillo with a team-high 15 points. Slattery chipped in 11 points.
One of the brighter moments in the game for Springfield was when senior guard Kelly Murphy recorded her 1,000th point. Murphy entered the game with 993 career points and finished with eight to end her career with 1,001 points, which is good for 14th on the all-time scoring list.
Springfield finishes the 2011-2012 season with a 12-14 record.
No. 6 WPI pulled an upset against No. 3 Clark 65-55 to advance to the semifinals. WPI will take on No. 2 Smith, while Wellesley and Babson begin the semifinals at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon at Babson.
Terrence Payne may be reached at email@example.com