Norton, Mass. - February 17, 2018 - Behind a career-best 31-point effort from Gracie Restituyo (Barrington, R.I.), the Springfield College women's basketball team defeated Wheaton, 73-63, in the Pride's regular-season finale on Saturday afternoon in Emerson Gymnasium.
With the win, the Pride will enter the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship Tournament with an overall record of 18-7, as the Pride finish the regular season with an in-league record of 12-4. Wheaton closes its season at 7-18 overall and 2-14 against conference opponents.
Restituyo's 31-point effort fell just nine points shy of the Springfield College women's basketball program record, which is held by Shelley Antone, who recorded 40 points against American International College in 1989. Along with Restituyo, Alex Goslin (South Windsor, Conn.) finished with 16 points in the win. Wheaton was led by Rebecca Olivieri (Milton, Mass.), who posted a team-best 24 points, while Emily Cutherberson (Hudson, N.H.) finished with 15 points of her own.
Springfield College shot 21-for-41 (51.2%) from the field in the win, while the Pride also held a 30-29 advantage in rebounds over 40 minutes of play. Wheaton was just 21-of-58 (36.2%) from the field in the setback.
Wheaton jumped out to an early 6-1 lead over the Pride in the first 2:27 of the contest on back-to-back threes from Olivieri and Cuthberson, before a jumper from Heather King (Lebanon, N.H.), followed by a lay-up from Restituyo to cut the Pride's deficit to one. Even at nine points apiece, Springfield College used a 6-0 spurt to take a 15-9 lead with 3:16 to play in the first, but Cuthberson would hit two free throws with 1:07 on the clock, evening the game at 17. Following a three from Abby Hamilton (Gorham, Maine) with 18 seconds left, Taylor Hall (Tolland, Conn.) hit a free throw to make it 20-18, Lyons, at the end of the first.
Wheaton opened a seven-point, 29-22 lead over the Pride on another basket from Cuthberson, before Restituyo cut the Pride's deficit to six with a lay-up at the 3:19 mark of the second quarter. Trailing 34-28, a lay-up from Cuthberson with 40 ticks left in the half gave the Lyons a 36-28 lead at the break.
Wheaton pushed its lead to nine on a second-half-opening three-pointer from Olivieri, but the Pride would eventually pull to within two, as Hall made it 43-41 Wheaton with 4:52 to play in the third quarter after burying a free throw. Lauren Rudolph (Franklin, Mass.) tied the game at 45 apiece with a pair of free-throws at the 1:36 mark, before Restituyo canned a free throw with 21 seconds left, making it 48-48 at the end of three.
A lay-up, followed by a three-pointer from Chelsea McAllister (Baltimore, Vt.) in a matter of six seconds gave the Pride a 57-53 lead with 6:10 to play, before a pair of free throws, followed by a basket from Goslin made it 66-59, Pride, with 1:57 remaining in the game. The sophomore guard was able to seal the game from the free-throw line, as she hit five in the last minute of the game to seal the 73-63 win.
Up next, Springfield College will enter the NEWMAC Championship Tournament, and will host a NEWMAC Quarterfinal contest at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 21.