NEW LONDON, Conn.-In a match-up of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference's last two unbeaten teams, Wheaton survived a second half rally to hold on for a 71-63 victory over host Coast Guard on Saturday afternoon.
Sophomore Torie Sutherland played perhaps her best all-around game of the season for Coast Guard (7-1, 4-1 NEWMAC), registering her second double-double of the season and fifth of her career, pouring in a team-high 14 points while pulling down a game-best 15 rebounds and handing out a game-high seven assists.
Wheaton (11-0, 6-0 NEWMAC) got off to a sizzling start shooting the ball, hitting on 59.3 percent of their attempts in the first half (8-11 from beyond the arc) before finishing at 45.5 percent including a blistering 69.2 percent from long range.
The Lyons pounced out to a 44-32 lead on the strength of their shooting by halftime. The mid-game intercession was kind to the Bears, however, as they came out firing in the second half, using a 17-9 run over the first 8:25 to cut the deficit to just four at 53-49.
Coast Guard would use some clutch shooting of their own in the second half as senior Brittney Zimmerman's (6 points) three-pointer with 3:57 to play tied the game at 63-all. Wheaton senior Lauren McClelland would immediately give the Lyons the lead back with a layup 21 seconds later. It would prove to be enough as Coast Guard would be shut out the remainder of the game as Wheaton closed the contest with an 8-0 margin.
The Bears finished the game shooting 38 percent (22-71) from the field, including 22.7 percent from deep. Wheaton enjoyed an advantage at the foul line, netting 12 of their 18 attempts compared to the Bears' 4 for 7 effort.
Coast Guard held junior and NEWMAC leading scorer Abbie Brickley to just 10 points on 5-of-12 shooting. Sophomore Kiley Shoemaker scored nine points and hauled in a team-best 13 rebounds while reaching her average with four blocked shots on the afternoon. Junior Laura Pierce (team-high seven assists) and sophomore Rebecca Arnone co-led the Lyons with 15 points apiece while junior Kirsten Ferrari added 10 of her own.
Senior Kaitlin Ward (13), sophomore Meghan Fornaro (12), and junior Jamie Waterman (10) all registered double-figure scoring games on the afternoon. Junior Dani Knox chipped in with eight points and pulled down seven rebounds. Zimmerman added seven boards and handed out five assists while Fornaro dished out six helpers of her own.
Coast Guard will return to action tomorrow, Sunday, January 5th when they host Curry at 1:00 pm.
POST GAME COMMENTS FROM HEAD COACH ALEX IVANSHECK