BOSTON, Mass. – Sophomore Stephanie Mini (Topsfield, Mass.) led all scorers with 17 points to propel the Wentworth women's basketball team to a 45-41 Commonwealth Coast Conference victory inside Tansey Gymnasium on Thursday evening.
The Leopards played shutdown defense out of the gates, using a block apiece from junior Emily Magasic (New Milford, N.J.) and sophomore Molley Duclos (Greenfield, Conn.) to hold Nichols scoreless for the first five minutes. Wentworth jumped to a 6-0 run, with four points from sophomore Erin Morton (Norway, Maine), who later extended the lead to double digits, 12-2 with 2:28 left in the first quarter.
Despite a 4-0 charge from Nichols at the start of the second, Mini kept the Leopards out in front, 16-10 just over three minutes in. Both teams traded baskets until sophomore Isabella Nerney (Guilford, Conn.) gave the Bison their first three-pointer of the game, but Wentworth stayed on top to lead 22-19 at halftime.
Senior Rebecca Cleary (Milford, N.H.) opened the scoring for Nichols in the second half to pull within one point, 22-21, before junior Ciarri Formby-Lavertu (Mont Vernon, N.H.) gave the Bison their first lead of the game with 8:08 to go in the third quarter. Nerney connected from long range to build a 32-28 lead for the Bison, but Wentworth junior Sam McGibbon (Pembroke, Mass.) drained a three-pointer with six seconds left to pull Wentworth right back within a single point. Wentworth rode momentum from McGibbon and used a 6-0 run to gain a five-point lead in the fourth, 37-32, before Nichols staged a late game comeback. After a missed trey from senior Mekaela Fithian-Giantonio (Plainville, Conn.), Formby-Lavertu grabbed the offensive board, and bucked a layup that turned a 4-0 run for the visitors with the scoreboard at 37-36 in favor of Wentworth. The score would deadlock thrice more, as Mini grabbed a crucial offensive board with 35 seconds left to play, drawing a foul from Cleary. Mini sank both shots at the line, and converted on the final two for the 45-41 final.
Mini added eight rebounds, two blocks, and three steals to her line, while Duclos followed with nine points, six rebounds and two blocks. The Leopards collectively registered nine blocks as a team in the victory, two away from an all-time record, as McGibbon led the Black and Gold with three. Morton contributed with seven points, nine rebounds, and three steals.
Two Bison reached double figures in the setback, paced by Nerney's 12 points. Cleary had the lone double-double of the game with 10 points and 10 rebounds for Nichols (3-11, 1-5 CCC)
Wentworth (2-13, 1-6 CCC) steps out of conference action for a 1:00 p.m. contest at Pine Manor on Saturday.
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