Bears Win Streak Snapped in NEWMAC Semifinals

Meghan Fornaro
Meghan Fornaro

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. –  Senior Abbie Brickley had a team-high 20 points while classmate Kenzie Kuhn hit five 3-pointers and finished with 19 points as second-seeded Wheaton snapped third-seeded Coast Guard's school-record 12 game winning streak with a 85-74 win in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) tournament semifinals at Springfield College.

Wheaton (20-7) will take on fourth-seeded Babson in the championship game on Sunday at 1 p.m. with the winner earning an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Coast Guard finishes the season with a record of 19-8, winning 19 games for the second straight season.

Coast Guard, making its first appearance in the NEWMAC semifinals since 2008, had beaten Wheaton twice during the regular season.

In the first semifinal, Babson overcame at 16-point deficit in the first half to knock off top-seeded and defending NEWMAC tournament champion Springfield 64-57.

Junior Meghan Fornaro led Coast Guard with a game-high 24 points, seven rebounds and five assists to finish the season with 963 career points. Freshman Gill Gerton added 14 points while junior Torie Sutherland added 11 points and freshman Michelle Hernandez added a career-high seven points for Coast Guard.

Junior Kiley Shoemaker added 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds in the win for Wheaton, which shot 50 percent from the floor (26-52) while making 9 of 25 from behind the arc.  Kuhn was 5 of 7 from 3-point range.

Coast Guard was 31 of 69 from the floor (44.9 percent) while making six of 19 from 3-point range.

Wheaton shot 53.6 percent in the first half and led 43-28 at the break. The Lyons used a 9-2 run capped on a triple by Kuhn pushing the lead to 59-39 with 14:34 left in the game. Wheaton led by as many as 22 in the second half (65-43).

Coast Guard did not go quietly as the Bears scored 11 straight points to cut the deficit to 70-61 on a layup by Fornaro with 4:40 left, but that would be as close as Coast Guard would get.

Kuhn knocked down a pair of 3-pointers in just over a minute as the Lyons jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead.

Wheaton used an 11-1 run turning a 12-8 lead into a 23-9 advantage with 11:49 left in the opening half.

The Lyons led by as many as 19 points (38-19) in the first half and led 43-28 at halftime.

The game marked the final game for four Coast Guard seniors, Alexi Howland, Dani Knox, Leigha Steinbeck and Jamie Waterman. Howland finished 7th all-time at the Academy with 113 three-pointers and 8th all-time with 216 assists.

Coast Guard making its third appearance in the NEWMAC tournament semifinals drops to 1-2 all-time in the NEWMAC tournament semifinals.



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