Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
HOLYOKE, Mass. – A comeback attempt from the Bay Path University women's basketball team came up short against the visiting Wheelock College Wildcats, 65-58, in a New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) clash at the Bartley Athletic Center Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats dip to 0-12 overall and 0-6 in conference play, while Wheelock improved to 3-3 in the NECC and 3-7 on the season.
Wheelock built a 6-0 lead early in the first quarter behind back-to-back buckets from junior Katie Walsh (East Islip, N.Y.), but Bay Path responded with a pair of jumpers from senior Kaylee Herring (Worcester, Vt.) to even the score at 6-6 at the 6:03 mark. Wheelock created separation with a 11-4 run to close the frame, featuring five points from senior Gaby Haywood (Longmeadow, Mass.), to hold a 17-10 advantage.
Wheelock opened the second quarter with a 9-2 run, paced by four points from Haywood, to harness a 26-12 lead. Bay Path graduate Paige Marshall worked at the gap with a pair of layups, but Walsh used layups to sandwich a 9-5 run from Wheelock to own a 35-21 lead at the break.
Bay Path delivered a stellar third quarter performance, outscoring Wheelock, 25-9, during the period, ignited by back-to-back three-pointers from freshman Emmeline Bronson (Shelton, Conn.), who contributed 12 points in the quarter. A jumper from Bronson whittled the deficit to single digits, 37-29, and then four points from Herring set the score at 39-33 at the 6:16 mark. With 4:00 remaining, Herring buried a three-pointer from the wing, and then converted a fast-break layup off a steal from Bronson to hand the Wildcats their first lead of the game, 42-40. Haywood exchanged buckets with Herring and Bronson, but a pair of free throws from Herring gave Bay Path a 46-44 lead heading into the final quarter.
Bay Path maintained an early edge behind a jumper from Herring and a trey from Bronson, and then a layup from junior Joanne Nazario (Springfield, Mass.) gave the Wildcats their largest lead, 53-47, with 8:01 to play. The Wheelock defense limited Bay Path to five points over the final eight minutes while developing the comeback. Haywood knocked down a pair of jumpers, followed by a layup from sophomore Julianna Kane (Quincy, Mass.) to close the gap to 55-53. Walsh connected on two free throws at the 4:38 mark to regain a 57-55 edge for Wheelock. Walsh carried the Wildcats down the stretch with six straight points to build a 62-55 cushion with just over three minutes to play. Bronson converted a late jumper, but the Wildcats held off Bay Path at the free throw line to secure the 65-58 victory.
Herring led the Wildcats with a season-high 24 points, shooting 8-of-16 from the floor and 6-of-6 from the foul line, with five rebounds and four assists. Bronson netted 17 points with three rebounds and two steals, while Marshall grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds with eight points. Freshman Shameria Armstead (Brenham, Texas) added six rebounds and a game-high six assists in the win.
Walsh powered the Wheelock attack with a double-double performance of a game-high 27 points and a game-high 18 rebounds. Haywood tallied 20 points with four rebounds and two assists, while Kane recorded nine rebounds, six points and five assists in the win.
Wheelock outrebounded Bay Path, 49-41, during the contest. Bay Path shot 32.9% (23-of-70) from the field, including 26.3% (5-of-19) from three-point range, and 87.5% (7-of-8) from the foul line. Wheelock connected on 40% (26-of-65) from the floor and 66.7% (10-of-15) from the charity stripe.
Bay Path will look to move into the win column with an NECC road trip to Elms College Tuesday night for a 7:00 p.m. tip. Wheelock hosts Becker College in NECC action Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.