Just when the Pride went on a run, WPI came back. Springfield continued to allow the Engineers back into the game, and it finally burned them.
WPI prevailed 53-49 over the Pride in a New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference game in Blake Arena on Wednesday night.The win for WPI shoots them ahead of Springfield in the NEWMAC standings. WPI now takes over sixth place and Springfield slides down to seventh.
The Pride’s leading scorer, Jaimie Bickelhaupt, once again led the team with 12 points. Bickelhaupt has had a strong season, leading the Pride in points per game (13.8) and rebounds (8.8). Sophomore forward Emily Gins also helped the team with 10 points and six rebounds. But, the big story came from the visiting Engineers.
WPI star, Dani Davis, had 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting. Davis’ ability to knock down shots really gave the Pride a difficult time. Springfield coach Naomi Graves emphasized how much havoc Davis caused for the Pride.
“She’s a really good player. It was extremely hard to contain her,” said Graves.
Her effective and smart shot decisions have been a model for her success all year. Davis is the leading scorer for the Engineers this season with 11.2 points per game.
Springfield had a solid first half, never allowing WPI to take the lead. The Pride’s 52.2 field-goal percentage gave them a 28-25 lead going into halftime.
Going into the second half, Springfield let their guard down defensively. WPI was 5-of-11 from three-point range throughout the game.
Davis hit a three-pointer with 4:22 left in the game to give WPI a 49-42 lead over the Pride. That three from Davis proved to be the shot of the game.
Springfield had an opportunity to take the lead after Lexi Windower sank a jumper from the corner to bring the Pride down one, 50-49 with just 1:20 remaining in the game. WPI locked down defensively and shut down Springfield’s last chance to score, however.
“We just struggled with our zone offense, and missed some easy buckets,” said Graves.
This game was certainly meaningful for both teams. Being a conference game, these teams are very familiar with each other. The Pride got the best of WPI earlier this season on December 4 with a 53-42 victory on the road. Springfield could not quite finish the season sweep of the Engineers.
With such a disappointing loss for the Pride, there is a light shining at the end of the tunnel.
Springfield has had a much improved year from last year. This year, they are a winning team with a 10-8 overall record and 6-8 in the conference. Moving forward, the Pride have a lot to work on if they want to keep improving.
“We need to regroup. We got Emerson on Saturday and we have to get ready,” Graves said.
The team has a great chance to get back on a winning streak with a Saturday afternoon contest against conference-foe Emerson. WPI moves up to 8-10 on the season and 6-7 in the conference. The Engineers will host Babson on Saturday in a NEWMAC game.