Women's Basketball

2017 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 | 10 NCAA Tournaments | 10 Conference Titles

Women's Hoops Fends Off Wheaton in NEWMAC Opener, 60-56

Women's Hoops Fends Off Wheaton in NEWMAC Opener, 60-56

NORTON, Mass.—Senior Giovanna Pickering (Hull, Mass.) finished with 17 points and classmate Jennifer Narlee (Medfield, Mass.) led all players with 13 rebounds and seven steals as visiting Babson College edged Wheaton College, 60-56, in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's basketball action on Wednesday night at Emerson Gymnasium.

With the win, Babson is now 3-1 overall and 1-0 in conference play, while Wheaton slips to 1-3 overall and 0-1 in the NEWMAC.

Pickering added eight rebounds, six assists and three steals, while junior Brenna LeGacy (Attleboro, Mass.) chipped in with 13 points and five boards for the Beavers. Sophomore Elizabeth Lane (Skaneateles, N.Y.) contributed eight points and four assists in the victory.

Juniors Ruthie Zientek (Holmdel, N.J.) and Jill Boudreau (Thompson, Conn.) both scored 12 points to lead the Lyons.

Pickering and LeGacy scored 12 early points as the Green and White opened the game with a 17-4 run and led by 11 at the end of the first quarter.  The Beavers took their largest lead of the game at 26-12 on a three-pointer by Lane just over a minute into the second quarter before Wheaton responded with a 10-5 spurt to pull within 31-22 at the break.

The Lyons cut their deficit to four on a pair of occasions early in the third quarter and got within three on a layup by senior Sophia Black (Gloucester, Mass.) with 1:44 left in the stanza before two hoops by first-year Emily Bonifacic (Allendale, N.J.) and another bucket by Pickering pushed the Babson advantage back to 48-40 going to the fourth. The Beavers' lead was still six after a Narlee free throw with 7:40 remaining before Zientek knocked down back-to-back triples and first-year Natalie Wind (New Canaan, Conn.) followed with a three-point play to give Wheaton a 54-51 lead, its first of the night, with 5:53 left.

Narlee cut the deficit to one with a layup at the 4:16 mark and Pickering converted consecutive layups to put the Green and White back in front 57-54 with 1:53 left. Babson drained a pair of free throws in the final minute and held the Lyons without a basket over 10 straight possessions before Black's hoop to cut lead to 59-56 with 16 seconds remaining. Lane sealed the win by going 1-of-2 from the free throw line with 14 seconds to go.

The Beavers shot a season-low 36.2 percent (25-of-69), but finished with a 49-38 advantage on the glass and outscored Wheaton 38-22 in the paint. The Green and White also scored 16 second-chance points and 18 points off turnovers.

The Lyons shot 37.9 percent (22-of-58) from the floor and committed 24 turnovers.

Both teams return to action on Saturday as Babson visits Smith at 2 p.m., while Wheaton hosts WPI at 1 p.m.

•    The Beavers are now 43-16 all-time against Wheaton and have won 17 of the last 18 meetings between the teams.
•    Babson has won 12 of its last 13 NEWMAC openers going back to the 2004-05 campaign.
•    The Beavers have won six consecutive games on the road and are 16-3 away from home against conference foes going back the start of the 2014-15 season.
•    With six assists on Wednesday, Pickering has 279 for her career and passed Allanah Wynn '13 for 10th place on the program's all-time list.