BOSTON, Mass. – On Senior Night, the Wheelock College women's basketball team won a thrilling see-saw battle against visiting New England Collegiate Conference for Elms College, 60-55. With the win, the Wildcats improve to 13-11 and 11-6 in the NECC while the Blazers fall to 14-10 and 12-5 in the conference.
Before the game, Wheelock honored its four seniors whose 47 wins were the most for a graduating class in program history: Emily Doyle (Lynn, Mass.), Jaime Grzych (Columbia, Conn.), Brianna Hochwarter (Attleboro, Mass.), and Michelle Woods (Wilmington, Mass.). All four players contributed to another successful season after a record-breaking campaign last year. The seniors also boast the all-time leading scorer, all-time assists leader, and record holder for most 3-pointers in a season.
On the court, with the score 6-4 in favor of the home team, the Wildcats reeled off nine straight points to build a commanding 15-4 advantage about midway through the first. While the scoring slowed down significantly, Wheelock led 16-8 after one quarter.
In the second period, the script flipped. After the Wildcats opened up a 25-11 lead with 5:50 remaining in the half, the visitors began their comeback. Senior Emily Burr (East Hartford, Conn.) began the rally with a lay-up as Elms went on a 15-0 run over the next four plus minutes to take a slim 26-25 edge. Hochwarter hit one of two from the line to knot the contest at 26-26 but junior Mackenzie LaRochelle (Chicopee, Mass.) responded with a jumper to send the Blazers into the locker room ahead 28-26.
After the break, the two teams battled back-and-forth. First, Elms built a 40-33 lead with 6:01 remaining in the period following a lay-in by senior Alexandra Marques (Newington, Conn.). Still, Wheelock would rally with a 9-2 surge, capped by trifectas from Hochwarter on back-to-back possessions to tie the game at 42-42. After three quarters, the home team led by just two points, 47-45.
The Wildcats started the final period off strong with the first 10 points, including consecutive buckets from junior Gabrielle Haywood (East Longmeadow, Mass.) off the bench, to build a 57-45 lead with 3:22 remaining. Next it was the Blazers turn to rally as two LaRochelle baskets and a Burr lay-up cut their deficit in half to 57-51 with 2:14 on the clock. However, Wheelock would ice the game at the line with a pair from Hochwarter and another freebie by Grzych that extended their cushion to 60-51 with 1:24 to go. Elms would score the final two baskets of the game but would fall short on the road, 60-55.
The Wildcats were led by Woods who poured in a game-high 24 points in addition to six steals and six rebounds. Hochwarter joined her in double-figures with 17 points including 3-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc. Sophomore Katie Walsh (East Islip, N.Y.) pulled down a team-best nine rebounds.
The Blazers featured a trio of double-digit scorers led by LaRochelle who recorded a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds in addition to a game-high five assists. Burr also netted 16 points and registered a double-double of her own with 10 boards while Marques rounded out the double-figure scorers with yet another double-double of 15 points and 11 caroms.
Wheelock returns to action on Saturday when they head to Newbury for a 1:00 p.m. tip. Elms hosts Bay Path on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.