By Vin Gallo
Deputy Sports Editor
Springfield forward Lexi Windwer sidled along the corner three point line in front of her teammates on the bench, and waited for the ball. Almost simultaneously, the Pride’s Molly McCausland rifled a pass to the senior, and Windwer, uncovered by the Wellesley Blue defense, fired a three point attempt. A faint swish could be heard throughout Blake Arena as the ball passed through the net for the score. The Springfield bench rose to its feet, hands raised as Windwer passed them by, her shooting hand lingering in the air with satisfactory.
The three point basket padded the Pride’s lead to 47-34, and extended Springfield’s run to open the second half at 9-0. The Pride would go on to win the contest 85-53.
“[We] set the tone early,” said Springfield head coach Naomi Graves. “[The starters today] did a really good job – Lexi hit some threes, Danielle [Racette] ran the ball well and empowered the team. They set the tone really nicely in the beginning and [executed] their role really well.”
Springfield took advantage of Wellesley’s ball control struggles in the first quarter and established a dominance in the game’s pace from the start. The Blue turned the ball over 10 times in the opening stanza, which allowed the Pride to finish the first with a 23-7 lead. Springfield’s senior center Ava Adamopoulos’s first 10 points fueled the team’s 50 percent field goal percentage to begin the tilt, as she went a perfect 3-3 from the field and 4-4 from the line. Adamopoulos finished the contest with 25 points, eight rebounds and two blocks.
“It’s really important that we got a win like [this] where pretty much everyone got [to play],” said Adamopoulos. “We tried a bunch of different defenses today, so that’ll be really helpful [going forward]. Our goal is to go into Christmas break 6-2, so we’re one step closer to making our goal.”
Additional standouts for the Pride included McCausland (10 points, three rebounds, four assists, three steals), Heather King (12 points, six rebounds, and two blocks), Windwer (nine points), and Alex Goslin (9 points, three rebounds, two assists, three steals).
Wellesley outscored the Pride in the second quarter 17-16, but was unable to cut the deficit to single digits. It came closest to tying the game by way of a three pointer from Caitlin Aguirre (18 points), which trimmed the lead to 12 points. Additional work on the defensive boards by Kendall You Mak and Keer Sun helped contribute to Wellesley’s efforts to get back into the game. You Mak also finished the game with five assists, and corralled four Pride turnovers with four steals.
“We threw the ball away a lot, which was frustrating, but we ran the ball really well,” Graves said. “Today we ran zone [defensively] and we never run zone, so our rebounding today was not as good as it’s been. Defensive rebounding starts our offensive transition.”
At the half, Springfield led the Blue 39-24, before beginning the second half on a 9-0 run. The threes buried the Blue’s chances as the Pride used seven second half treys to push a 23 point lead within the first three minutes of the third, and a 35 point lead, its biggest, in the fourth.
“Coming into the second half, this was the kind of game that can get away from you and it could get ugly,” said Graves. “It started to a little bit, but we were able to get back on track. We don’t want to play ugly. We want to show the people in the stands how good we’ve done these last couple of days [in practice]. I think we did that.”
Springfield led the game in every category except turnovers, though it still surrendered possession of the ball 22 times over the course of the game. Despite the occasional lapses offensively, the Pride made up for its mistakes by winning the rebound battle 30-26, and scoring 39 points off of Wellesley’s 29 turnovers. Springfield also turned in a balanced scoring effort, going for 30 points in the paint and turning to the three point line for 27.
Springfield, now 3-2, will travel to South Hadley on Wednesday to take on the Mount Holyoke Lyons.