WORCESTER, Mass.—Freshman Meghan Fornaro celebrated a homecoming of sorts as she scored 19 points, all in the first half, but it wasn't enough as WPI beat Coast Guard 60-44 in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) game.
Fornaro, from nearby Charlton, Mass., had her 19 points in the first half, hitting 7 for 11 from the floor, including 3 of 5 from behind the arc. She kept Coast Guard in the game in the opening minutes as she scored the Bears first 11 points, making four straight shots, and following her third trey of the game, the Bears trailed 13-11 with 15:39 left in the first half.
Another freshman, Victoria Sutherland scored the next five Coast Guard points before a layup by sophomore Alexi Howland pulled the Bears to within two at 20-18 with 11:25 left.
WPI scored eight straight turning a 24-22 lead into a 32-22 advantage with 5:31 remaining. Coast Guard would respond with six straight of its own cutting the deficit to 32-28 on a layup by Fornaro with 3:39 left in the opening half before WPI scored the final five points of the half for a 37-28 halftime lead.
Both teams shot 50 percent from the field in the first half as Coast Guard was 10 for 20 and WPI was 15 for 30 from the floor.
The Engineers got off to a fast start in the second half scoring eight straight to cap a 13-0 run to take a 45-28 lead with 16:04 left in the game. Coast Guard missed its first ten field goals in the second half and shot just 14.8 percent from the floor (4 for 27) in the half. The Bears shot 29.8 percent for the game (14 of 47), including 4 of 15 from behind the arc.
Coast Guard would later use an 8-2 spurt to get as close as ten at 51-41 following a pair of free throws by Sutherland with 6:45 left in the game, but the Engineers scored nine of the games final 12 points.
Sutherland finished with ten points for Coast Guard while senior Karli Collins had a game-high 13 rebounds for the Bears. Fornaro did not score and was held to just three shots in the second half.
"Meghan did a great job in the first half," said Coast Guard head coach Alex Ivansheck. "She was feeling it and she was shooting in rhythm and 19 points in a half is a great job. In the second half, we just missed shots, There were some open that we just threw off the back board. We came out tight and tense in the second half. We were not getting stops in the first half and it was hard for us to get our rhythm in the second half."
Senior Theresa Logan led WPI with 18 points while junior Kelly Morgan added 13 points in the win for the Engineers. WPI shot 41 percent from the floor (25 of 61) while making 5 of 15 from 3-point range.
WPI improves to 7-4 overall and 3-2 in the NEWMAC while Coast Guard, which lost its third straight, dropped to 4-6 overall and 2-3 in conference play.
The Bears are back in action on Tuesday when they host Babson in conference game at 5:30 p.m.