Coast Guard bears down to hold off WPI, 61-49

NEW LONDON, Conn.-Coast Guard limited WPI to just one field goal over the final 9:34 en route to a 61-49 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference women's basketball victory on Wednesday night.

Junior Jamie Waterman scored all of her 11 points in the final 7:03 to key the Bears (11-2, 7-2 NEWMAC) to a 16-4 run to close out the victory.

Coast Guard built the lead to five at 45-40 with 11:17 to play on a three-pointer and pair of free throws from junior Alexi Howland. After senior Kelly Morgan hit a trey with 9:34 scoring was limited until the 7:33 mark when sophomore Meghan Fornaro hit a triple to give the Bears the lead for good.

Howland poured in a game-high 12 points off the bench while Waterman's point total was a season-high. Waterman also led the club with six rebounds as the Bears out-rebounded the Engineers (5-9, 3-6 NEWMAC) 32-26.

Senior Brittney Zimmerman had another strong all-around game, scoring six, pulling in five rebounds, and handing out five assists on the evening. Fornaro chipped in with nine points, four rebounds, and four assists.

The first half was largely a back and forth affair with each club trading modest runs of six and five, respectively, early on. The Bears built a 24-19 lead with 4:41 to play in the first half on a jumper by Zimmerman but sophomore Yasmeen Luna answered right back with a jumper of her own to cut the deficit to just three. After a jump shot by sophomore Torie Sutherland made it 31-29, junior Amaia Gritsko made a lay-up to even things up with just under a minute to play. Morgan hit a triple with 19 seconds to go to give the Engineers a 34-31 lead headed into the half-time break.

Coast Guard shot 44.2 percent from the field (23-52) while hitting four of 14 tries from deep. Their shooting percentage was their highest since shooting 47.5 percent against MIT on November 26th. The Bears held WPI to just 36.6 percent shooting from the field (15-41), including 2-10 from beyond the arc. In addition the Bears forced 20 WPI turnovers.

With tonight's victory, Coast Guard has surpassed last season's win total with 12 regular season games to play. The Bears will return to action on Saturday, January 18th when they travel to take on Springfield at 10:00 am.

POST GAME COMMENTS FROM HEAD COACH ALEX IVANSHECK

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