Assistant Sports Editor
Despite facing tight coverage all game from Springfield, senior point guard Malia Maier netted 13 points and paced the Wellesley College Blue to a 48-38 victory over the Pride Saturday afternoon at Blake Arena. With the loss, Springfield drops to 3-15 (1-11) on the year. However, with the win, the Blue improve to 10-6 (9-3) thus far.
A 7-0 run with under seven minutes remaining in regulation gave the Blue a leg up on the Pride, who never fully recovered the momentum of the game. During the run, freshman Chelsi Scott, sophomore Morgyne Weaver and junior Leslie Leong all contributed baskets, but it was Maier’s three pointer that took the wind out of Springfield’s sails.
“I think we did a better job with certain things. Execution, defense, pressure, talking, rebounding, we are just still having problems scoring. That is the biggest Achilles for us right now,” said head coach Naomi Graves about her team’s performance as of late. “The biggest thing this team hasn’t done is they haven’t quit. We are staying strong, we are trying to get better and we are getting better every day.”
It was all Springfield in the first five minutes of the game, starting off with a 5-0 run, but was quickly avenged with a 6-0 run for the Blue. Midway through the first half, both sides found themselves going back and forth, but an easy lay-in from Weaver gave the Blue a 18-17 lead with 2:33 remaining in the half, and Wellesley never gave up the lead after that.
Coming out of halftime with a 22-18 lead, the Blue caught fire,ending with a three pointer from Maier that allowed for Wellesley to take a 27-20 lead just 3:42 into the second half. In an attempt to diminish any momentum that the Blue had been building up, Graves called a time-out, and settled her team down.
Following the time-out, the Pride went on a 7-0 run, capped off with an easy lay-up for sophomore forward Jamie Bickelhaupt, who finished the contest with eight points and six rebounds.
After another three pointer from Maier, freshman Heather Lewis went end to end and finished a lay-up at the hoop to make it 32-29 Wellesley. Lewis, a first year from Saratoga Springs, N.Y., finished the contest with eight points as well as four rebounds for the Pride.
“I think I played okay today, better than last game, I had more confidence against this team,” said Lewis. “But our shots weren’t falling and I could have made a lot more shots and rebounded more. There’s a lot of things I could improve on but I think I did okay.”
As soon as Wellesley appeared to be pulling away, senior guard Meghan Biondolillo drained a three-pointer of her own to bring the Pride to within two points with seven minutes remaining. After a 7-0 run from the Blue, the Levittown, N.Y. native netted another three-pointer to bring the Pride to within seven points, but proved to be not enough as the Blue held on for the 10-point victory.
“I just knew we were down and we needed a big shot so as a senior leader I know this team (Wellesley) well and I knew what kind of defense they were going to play so I found a good spot to set up in and hit my shots,” commented Biondolillo.
Lewis, Biondolillo and the rest of the Pride will go back to work on Wednesday evening, when they travel up the road to Northampton, Mass. to take on Smith College at 7:00 p.m.