NEWPORT, R.I. – Despite a strong second-half effort, the Wentworth women's basketball team fell to Salve Regina University 58-53 in Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) action Saturday afternoon at the Rodgers Recreation Center.
The Seahawks improve to 9-7 overall and 6-4 in the CCC, while the Leopards fall to 2-15 this season and 1-9 against league opponents.
The Seahawks jumped to an early 7-0 lead via junior Kerri Beland (Attleboro, Mass.) and senior Ally Esielionis (Shirley, Mass.), before Wentworth freshman Erin Morton (Norway, Maine) sunk two shots at the line to put the visitors on the board. A quick 5-0 spurt gave the hosts a 12-2 lead, but the Leopards turned a 5-2 run of their own to squash the double-digit deficit, including four points from freshman Tan'eja Drayton (Roxbury, Mass.).
The Leopards hung with the Seahawks in the second quarter, as each team bucketed 18 points, with Salve holding a 25-32 lead at halftime.
Salve came flying out of the gates in the third quarter, as an 8-0 run put the hosts up by 15, 40-25, with 7:18 to go in the stanza. Wentworth continued to claw away at the score, as Morton and junior Michelle McCloskey (Madison, Conn.) pulled the Leopards within single digits, 40-31. With three seconds left to go, Esielionis set up a final play for the Seahawks off the steal, and sophomore Olivia Valerio (Proctor, Vt.) drained a three-pointer give Salve a 47-36 lead heading into the final 10 minutes of play.
With two minutes expired in the four quarter, senior Haley Sabino (Topsfield, Mass.) knocked down two free throws to pull the Leopards within single digits, 49-40. Over the next four minutes, both teams struggled from the floor before senior Mary Eden (So. Kingstown, R.I.) broke the drought with a freebie to again put the Seahawks up by ten, 50-40. Morton and sophomore Sam McGibbon (Pembroke, Mass.) gave Wentworth a 5-0 spurt, as the Leopards trailed Salve by just five with 3:26 in regulation. A jumper from Drayton pulled Wentworth within four with 27 seconds left, but that's as close as the Leopards would get as Salve sunk four shots from the line to clench the 58-53 victory.
Drayton scored 15 points off the bench to lead the Wentworth offense, while McCloskley pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds. Morton finished with 14 points, including a perfect 5-for-5 at the free throw line, and added five rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
Beland matched Drayton's point total with 15 in the victory, and added ten rebounds and four steals. Sophomore Torie Scorpio (Cranston, R.I.) registered 14 points to round out double-digit totals for the Seahawks, while Beland pulled down a team-best ten boards.
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