NEW LONDON, Conn. – Junior Meghan Fornaro led five Coast Guard players in double figures with a career-high 28 points leading the Bears to their seventh straight win, a thrilling 81-77 victory over Wheaton in a key New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) game.
Senior Leigha Steinbeck made a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left to ice the game for the Bears.
Senior Alexi Howland would score five straight on a trey and a jumper as the Bears pushed the lead to 75-68 with 4:03 left, but Wheaton would outscore the Bears 9-2 and senior Abbie Brickley's layup with 45 seconds left tied the game 77-77.
Howland made a pair of free throws with 39 seconds left before Fornaro came up with a steal and then Steinbeck made her two free throws with 17 seconds left. Fornaro then had another steal with nine seconds left to clinch the win.
Fornaro was 11 of 15 from the floor hitting 4 of 7 from 3-point range and finished with five steals and four assists in the win.
Coast Guard improves to 14-7 overall and 9-4 in the NEWMAC while the Lyons drop to 15-7 overall and 10-3 in the conference. The Bears complete the season sweep of the Lyons as Coast Guard won at Wheaton 72-65 on January 31st. Wheaton is now 11-2 in its last 13 games, both losses coming to Coast Guard
Junior Torie Sutherland (16), Howland (15), senior Dani Knox (10) and freshman Gill Gerton (10) also scored in double figures for the Bears. Gerton dominated the board as she finished with a career-high 14, nine of them offensive, to register her second career double-double.
Knox became the ninth player in Coast Guard history to record 600 points and 500 rebounds as she now has 602 points and 514 rebounds.
Brickley led all scorers with 31 points to go with a team-high ten rebounds for Wheaton while junior Kiley Shoemaker finished with 18 points and junior Rebecca Arnone had 12 points for the Lyons.
Wheaton had its largest lead of the game 30-20 following a layup by Brickley with 8:44 to go in the first half before the Bears used a 10-0 run started on a trey by Knox and capped on a layup by Knox to tie the game 30-30 with 6:31 left in the half.
Howland had a four-point play as she knocked down a 3-pointer and got fouled with 1.8 seconds left in the first half giving the Bears a 43-41 lead at the break. Brickley and Fornaro each had 18 points in the first half.
Neither team led by more than three points in the second half until Brickley's basket with 12:24 left gave the Lyons a 59-55 lead.
Coast Guard would respond with seven straight to start a 13-3 run as the Bears took a 68-62 lead on a basket by Fornaro with 7:33 left. Shoemaker made Wheaton's first field goal in almost six minutes with 6:41 to go making the score 68-64.
Both teams shot well in the game as Wheaton shot 46 percent from the field (29 of 63) and made nine of 19 from 3-point range while the Bears shot 44.1 percent from the floor (30-68) and made a season high ten 3-pointers (10-30).
Coast Guard is back in action on Saturday when they travel to Emerson on Saturday 1 p.m.
POST GAME INTERVIEW WITH HEAD COACH ALEX IVANSHECK