NEW LONDON, Conn.-Coast Guard was outscored by 19 in the second half as it watched a nine point halftime advantage fall by the wayside as they fell 59-49 to WPI in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference game, their regular-season finale. The Bears jumped out to a 31-22 halftime lead on the strength of 48.1 percent shooting (13-for-27) and forcing WPI into 12 turnovers.
Freshman Victoria Sutherland scored a team-high 12 and was joined in double figures by junior Dani Knox. Sutherland also grabbed a game-high nine rebounds. Junior Larla Brown and sophomore Leigha Steinbeck scored six apiece off the bench for the Bears (10-14, 8-10).
The second half started well for the Bears as they were able to maintain a lead fluctuating between six and nine points for the first 7:43 before WPI went on a run. Trailing 37-33, WPI senior Cindy Chelius scored on a layup to cut the deficit to just four. It was as close as the Engineers had been since it was 2-0, just minutes into the game.
Over the course of a 8:19 second span, beginning at the 11:48 mark of the second half, WPI went on a 21-6 run. During this time, Coast Guard missed nine of their 11 shots, while committing six of their 12 turnovers.
The Engineers (14-10, 10-8) really buckled down on defense in the second half, as they held the Bears to just 19.4 percent (6-for-31) shooting in the second half, including 0-for-15 from beyond the arc. Not only did they play terrific team defense, but WPI also managed to hold Coast Guard's two leading scorers – Sutherland and fellow freshman Meghan Fornaro – to a combined 7-for-26 shooting.
Playing in the final home game of her career, senior Karli Collins recorded a game and career-high six assists, to go along with her two points and three rebounds before fouling out with 5:01 to play.
The victory was the 200th of WPI head coach Cherise Galasso's 13-season career. WPI had three players in double figures for the game. Chelius led the way with 17 and was joined by sophomore Rachel Pineda and freshman Jessica Larsen poured in 13 and 11, respectively, for the Engineers.
The Bears will return to action on Wednesday, February 20th as they travel to Worcester to take on this same WPI team in the first round of the NEWMAC Tournament. Tip-off time is scheduled for 7:00 pm.
Post Game Comments from Head Coach Alex Ivansheck