-Score: WPI 54, Clark University 38
-Records: WPI (18-5, NEWMAC 11-3), Clark (10-13, NEWMAC 4-10)
-Location: Worcester, Mass. (Kneller Athletic Center)
-The Lead: The Clark University women's basketball team dropped a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) battle with the Engineers of WPI on Saturday afternoon. Prior to the start of the game the women's basketball team recognized two graduating seniors playing in their last home game, Haley Wilder (Rindge, N.H.) and Dominique St. Pierre (Portsmouth, N.H.).
HOW IT HAPPENED
-After almost two minutes of scoreless play and strong defense from both teams, the Cougars got on the board first with a three-pointer from Ogechi Ezemma (Hope Valley, R.I.). The hosts extended their lead to 5-0 when Wilder hit two free-throws.
-The Engineers put their first two on the scoreboard with a jumper from Maura Buckley (Melrose, Mass.) at the 7:29 mark. Ezemma found her way under the basket with a spin move around a WPI defender to put the Cougars up 7-2, and just seconds later Wilder drained a three-pointer for the eight point lead with 7:05 on the clock, forcing the visitors to call their first timeout of the game.
-With 3:53 on the clock Maya Kerstetter (Northampton, Mass.) fed the ball to Ezemma who knocked down a three from the top of the arc to extend Clark's lead to 13-4. The Cougars were heating up with a couple of defensive stops followed by another three-pointer, this time from freshman Idalis Miranda (Naugatuck, Conn.) for the 16-4 advantage.
-Buckley drained a three-pointer for the Engineers to end scoring in the first quarter and the Cougars held onto a 16-9 lead heading into the second stanza.
-WPI started the second quarter on a 2-0 run as Madison Beck (Syracuse, N.H.) and Ama Biney (Worcester, Mass.) put in back-to-back layups and the Engineers trailed by just three points, 16-13.
-Ezemma found her way to the hoop for two to put Clark back up by five with but the Engineers responded with another 2-0 run on baskets from Biney and Alana Keating (Leominster, Mass.) and trailed but just one point with 5:15 on the clock.
-Junior Rachael Chen (Needham, Mass.) found her hot spot in the paint and knocked down back-to-back jumpers to put the Cougars back up by five (22-17). With under 30 seconds to play WPI took their first lead of the game when Brianna Dozier (Dedham, Mass.) and Beck both hit jumpers, but it was Ezemma who got the final shot of the half off to give the Cougars a 26-25 lead heading into the locker rooms.
-The Engineers did not let up a point in all ten minutes of the third quarter. Offensively they produced a 5-0 run for 12 points and the 37-26 lead heading into the final stanza. Biney had seven of the 12 points for WPI.
-Ezemma broke up their run with a made free-throw to start the fourth quarter for the Cougars.
-St. Pierre came up with a steal and found Ezemma under the hoop who put in a layup to bring Clark back within ten with 8:18 to play.
-Clark started a 3-0 run with baskets from Chen, Kacey Legare (Chicopee, Mass.), and Ezemma to close WPI's lead to 44-38 with just five minutes to play.
-Out of a timeout the Engineers Maddie Blake made a layup and Keeting drained a three-pointer as the shot clock went off to regain an 11 point lead with 2:40 to play.
-WPI finished the game on a 5-0 run for the ultimate 54-38 NEWMAC victory.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
-Ezemma led all scorers with 19 points in the setback.
-Biney led WPI to victory with a team high 15 points.
-WPI shot 36.2% (21-58) from the field while Clark shot 26.8% (15-56).
-The Engineers edged Clark in rebounding, 42 to 38.
-Clark travels to Coast Guard Academy for a NEWMAC matchup on Wednesday, February 14th at 7:30 p.m.
-WPI hosts Wellesley on the same day for some conference action at 7:30 p.m.