Northampton, Mass. - February 21, 2019 - The Springfield College women's basketball team will advance to the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship for the first time since the 2013-14 season, as the Pride knocked off Smith, 48-46, in Ainsworth Gymnasium on Thursday evening.
With the win, the Pride, which is the No. 3 seed in the tournament, improves to 18-9 overall and will host No. 4 MIT on Saturday, February 23 at 1 p.m. in Blake Arena. MIT defeated top-seeded Babson College, 73-46, on Thursday evening to also land a spot in the NEWMAC Championship.
Springfield College, which shot 17-for-52 (32.7%) in the win, was led by 15 points and two assists from Alex Goslin (South Windsor, Conn.), while Chelsea McAllister (Baltimore, Vt.) had nine points and four rebounds. Emily Jacques (Auburn, Maine) also chipped in eight points, four rebounds and two blocks, while Amanda Carr (West Haven, Conn.) contributed five points and two boards in 12 minutes off the bench.
Smith was led by Lauren Bondi (Burnaby, BC, Can.), who had 15 points, three rebounds and three assists, while Kennedy Guest-Pritchett (Fairburn, Ga.) posted 13 points and hauled in 10 rebounds. The Pioneers shot 17-for-48 (35.4%) and outrebounded the maroon and white, 37-26.
Both sides traded baskets to start the contest, before Gracie Restituyo (Barrington, R.I.) came up with a block, before Jacques went the other way and finished a basket in transition to give the Pride a 6-3 advantage. From there, Smith would take a 9-8 advantage on a bucket from Guest-Pritchett, before the maroon and white answered with an 8-0 run, capped by a gritty finish from Restituyo to give Springfield College a 16-9 lead with 1:53 on the clock. After a free throw from Gueset-Pritchett, Jacques hit a mid-range jumper to give the visitors an 18-10 lead after one.
Smith opened the second half on a 7-0 run to pull the Pioneers to within one, before McAllister ended the run with a jumper from the top of the paint, making it 20-17, Pride, with 6:23 to play in the first half. From there, Smith continued with it's impressive play on the offensive end of the floor, as a jumper from Dashelle Gleissner (Los Angeles, Calif.) forced a timeout from Springfield College, trailing 27-22 with 1:44 on the clock. As time expired, McAllister pulled up from just over half court and drained a deep three to make it 27-25, Smith, at the break.
Smith regained a five-point lead when Bondi found an open Ellie Jo Whalen (Woodinville, Wash.) for an wide-open basket, before Carr and McAllister converted back-to-back baskets to pull the Pride back even at 32 apiece. Grace Dzindolet (Holliston, Mass.) would hit two free throws to give the Pride a 34-32 advantage at the 4:16 mark, before the Pioneers cut it to within one with 45 seconds to play in the frame on a free throw from Katelyn Pickunka (Westhampton, Mass.), resulting in a 34-33 score after three quarters.
The two sides exchanged four lead changes in the first 2:19 of the fourth quarter, before two free-throws from Goslin at the 5:08 mark gave the Pride a 40-38 advantage. From there, Jacques would convert a lay-up in transition to give the Pride a four-point lead, but Bondi would drill back-to-back triples to even the score at 44 apiece with 2:55 to play. Taylor Hall (Tolland, Conn.) then hit two free throws to make it 46-44, Springfield College, with 1:50 remaining. From there, Bondi would tie it at 46 with a jumper, before the senior fouled Goslin on a loose-ball scramble with six seconds remaining, allowing Goslin to hit the go-ahead free throw to make it 47-46, before Dzindolet caused a turnover and got fouled, finishing off the game from the charity stripe.