HOLYOKE, Mass. - Despite a last ditch effort by the host Wildcats of Bay Path College the Wheelock Wildcats proved victorious with a 71-63 New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) win. Bay Path decided to stay in their hole for the six more weeks of winter today predicted by "Punxsy" Phil on Groundhog Day waiting until the last few minutes to come out of Wheelock's shadow bringing the game within four at a 1:28 on the clock. Unfortunately for the maroon Wildcats they were unable to shut the door to the blue and gold Wildcats. Bay Path's junior guard Brittney Alexander (Enfield, Conn.) and Wheelock's senior forward Kayla Drescher (Wallingford, Conn.) both led their teams and tied for game high each scoring 21 points tonight at the Brantley Center.
Alexander started the spark with five minutes left in the game draining a trey after an offensive board and strategic timeout called by sophomore forward Kayla Skiffington (East Longmeadow, Mass.). Skiffington added ten points and seven rebounds to the final tally. Bay Path was able to pull off two more key stops with junior center Nicole Delano (Enfield, Conn.) one of five blocks on the night along with a defensive rebound. Skiffington would then pick off a lob pass to gain possession. Delano would sink two from the line to bring the score to 62-51.
Alexander's freshman sister Toni Alexander (Enfield, Conn.) caused a turnover and stole the ball to draw a Wheelock foul sending Delano back to the line to make two more from the charity stripe. Drescher would break the three minute dry spell for the Wheelock Wildcats making a lay-up. Brittney Alexander would again launch one from downtown bringing the score to 64-56. Bay Path's freshman guard J'Quanna Orr (East Hartford, Conn.) would make both her foul shots after a forced foul by Wheelock. Another turnover would allow Bay Path's Delano sink a lay-up at 1:28 for a 64-60 score.
After a pretty dry first half for the junior and NECC Player of the Week Keneisha Milton (Boston, Mass.) would nail two back-to-back fast break lay-ups in the final minute. Skiffington would add three points from a jumper and free throw, while Drescher would return the call going 1-for-2 from the line. Senior guard Maya Spratling (Dorchester, Mass.) would hit a final insurance shot for Wheelock finishing with ten points and eight rebounds.
Milton would finish as the only Wheelock Wildcat to grab a double double with 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Bay Path's Delano notched 14 points and 13 rebounds. Coming off the bench for Wheelock sophomore guard Jessica Ramsey (Milford, Mass.) added 15 points, while fellow reservist and Bay Path sophomore forward Taylor Riley (Colchester, Vt.) had eight points. Defensively, Wheelock's point guard Kailah Simon (Norwalk, Conn.) concluded with 12 rebounds, three steals and game high seven assists.
Bay Path falls to 4-12 overall and 4-8 in conference play, while Wheelock is now 3-15 on the season and 3-9 in the NECC. Bay Path will travel to Becker on Saturday, February 4th and Wheelock hosts Regis on Saturday with a 1:00 and 3:30 game time respectively.