By Gabby Guerard
While campus remained quiet Wednesday night, Blake Arena erupted during the women’s basketball game against WPI. The energy was electric, causing both benches to be on their feet. The fans stomped in the bleachers and shouted at the top of their lungs, so loud that the echoes drowned out the coaches. Yet the moment a gray Springfield jersey was at the free throw line, all the chaos suddenly stopped and the arena fell silent.
Springfield prevailed with a final score of 67-60, bumping WPI down to fourth in the NEWMAC standings, while the Pride remain tied in second with MIT.
Intensity was glaring right from tip off, with both teams tied for 2nd place in the NEWMAC conference. Springfield struggled early on, and turned the ball over on its first two possessions and created three fouls within the first four minutes. While the Pride continued to fight, their turnovers proved to become detrimental.
The Engineers overtook the Pride in the second quarter, when SC battled a number of obstacles. Springfield starting point guard Danielle Racette was called for her third foul less than three minutes into the quarter, forcing her to be replaced by freshman Alex Goslin. Goslin stepped up and utilized her quick speed to push the ball up the court, however the Pride could not seem to regain momentum.
Nearing the end of the half, junior starter Heather King injured her ankle when coming down from a strong rebound. Shouting, “No! No!” King desperately tried to stay on her feet. In the end however her tremendous efforts proved to be no use, as she slowly crouched down and athletic trainers rushed over. With their assistance, King hopped off the court and had no choice but to support her teammates from the bench, unable to return to the game.
The Pride came into the second half filled with energy and desire, yet were brought to a screeching halt when Racette was called for her fourth foul after just three seconds. Just when they thought they had a fresh start, the Pride faced yet another obstacle to overcome.
It was Chelsea McAllister who immediately set out to provide that fresh start for her team. Given the two starters on the bench, McAllister was given an exciting opportunity where her relentless efforts were a spark on the court.
The Pride were able to retake the lead after a three-pointer from McAllister to open the third quarter. Those were the first 3 points of an 18 point show that McAllister would produce over the course of the half. Finishing the game with a career high of 24 points, the 5-7 sophomore proved to be the deciding factor that led the Pride to a huge victory.
Sparked by McAllister’s efforts, Springfield elevated their entire level of gameplay in a surging change of momentum. By reducing the amount of turnovers, SC limited the easy points that WPI had capitalized on throughout the first half, cutting the Engineer’s points off turnovers down from 13 to just 5. The Pride went from throwing the ball away on inaccurate passes to diving out of bounds, into the stands, and onto the ground, refusing to give up on any loose balls.
While WPI fought through the final seconds, forcing the Pride to prove themselves at the free throw line, their efforts were too late.
With three more games remaining in the regular season, Springfield will travel to Coast Guard on Saturday. Tip off is at 1 p.m.