Springfield, Mass. - February 22, 2017 - The Springfield College women's basketball program suffered a 65-54 defeat to Clark University in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship Tournament Quarterfinals on Wednesday night in Blake Arena.
Springfield College, which was the No. 2 seed in the NEWMAC Championship Tournament, falls to 18-8 on the year, while Clark, which is the No. 7 seed, improves to 14-12 with the win, and will move on to face the winner of No. 3 WPI and No. 6 Coast Guard on Saturday at host Babson College.
The Pride was 20-of-58 (34.5%) from the field in the setback, while the Cougars shot 22-of-54 (40.7%) on the evening. Springfield College held a 40-37 advantage on the glass over 40 minutes of play, while also holding a 34-28 points advantage in the paint.
Leading Springfield College was senior center Ava Adamopoulos (Ludlow, Mass.) as she notched 15 points to go along with six rebounds on the night. Additionally, senior guard Molly McCausland (Millbury, Mass.) hauled in a career-high 10 rebounds and added six points on the evening.
Clark was led by the duo of Ogechi Ezemma (Hope Valley, R.I.) and Haley Wilder (Rindge, N.H.0, who combined for 35 points on the evening, while Aretha Sullivan (Worcester, Mass.) pulled down a team-best seven boards in the win.
Springfield College jumped out to an early 6-2 advantage following a basket from McCausland and a pair from Gracie Restituyo (Barrington, R.I.), but Clark would get hot from behind the arc, cashing in on a trio of three-pointers to take a 15-8 lead over the Pride with 3:56 to play in the frame. After a free throw from McCausland to cut the Pride's deficit to five, Clark would end the frame on a basket from Sam O'Gara (Worcester, Mass.) to make it 19-12, Cougars.
After Adamopoulos opened the second quarter with a lay-up for the Pride, Clark would push its lead to eight on three points from Sullivan, before taking a 24-14 lead on a basket from Ezemma. The Pride would make it a four-point game on a lay-up from Taylor Hall (Tolland, Conn.) and a pair of free throws from Heather King (Lebanon, N.H.), before the junior knocked down a jumper from the baseline to make it 24-20, Cougars, with 4:40 to play in the half. After Wilder drilled a deep jumper to make it 26-20, Restituyo hit two from the charity stripe to make it a four-point game, but the Cougars would end the half on a basket from Maya Kerstetter (Northampton, Mass.) to make it 28-22 at the break.
Springfield College would narrow the gap to a pair on a two converted free throws from Adamopoulos and a lay-up from McCausland, before Alex Goslin (South Windsor, Conn.) gave the Pride a 35-34 on a nice catch-and-finish with 3:51 to play in the quarter. Clark would regain a four-point advantage, but another three-pointer from Windwer would make it 39-38, Cougars, with 2:39 on the clock. Goslin would pull up and hit another jumper to make it 40-40, before Gwyneth Ivory (Ashland, Mass.) connected to make it 43-40, Cougars, at the end of three.
Ezemma scored a pair of baskets to open the fourth, giving the Cougars a 49-43 lead just 2:45 in, before a corner three-pointer from Wilder pushed Clark's lead to nine. A pair of free throws from Adampoulos made it an eight point game, before the senior worked her way to the line for one more to make it 55-48, Clark, with 3:31 to play. Adamopoulos would net four more points to make it a five-point game, before O'Gara hit three-straight free throws to give the Cougars back an eight-point advantage. Clark would convert its free-throws down the stretch to escape with the victory.