WORCESTER, Mass.- Sophomore Torie Sutherland's 3-pointer with 2:13 left broke a 51-51 tie leading Coast Guard to a 56-54 win over WPI in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference women's basketball match-up on Wednesday evening.
With the win, Coast Guard clinched a home game in the first round of the NEWMAC tournament which begins on Wednesday. The Bears can win a share of the regular season championship (with Wheaton and Smith) if Emerson defeats Smith and Coast Guard beats Springfield on Saturday.
Coast Guard will be either the #3 or #4 seed in the tournament. If Coast Guard beats Springfield on Saturday, the teams will meet again in New London in the first round of the tournament on Wednesday in the #3/#6 first round matchup.
WPI started the second half with 15 straight points to overcome a 10-point halftime deficit and take a 39-34 lead with 14:05 left.
The Engineers, who led by as many as six in the second half (43-37 with 11:50 left), led 49-45 with 8:37 left before a bucket by junior Dani Knox followed by a 3-pointer by Sutherland gave the Bears at 50-49 lead with 7:38 left.
Both teams would go scoreless four over four minutes until a Dani Davis' hoop gave WPI a 51-50 lead with 3:12 left.
Junior Jamie Waterman would make one of two free throws with 2:47 left to tie the game 51-51 before Sutherland's trey gave the Bears the lead for good.
With Coast Guard leading 54-51, Waterman made one of two free throws with 19 seconds left before Fornaro also made one of two with six seconds left to extend the Bears lead to 56-51. WPI's Rachel Pineda hit a 3-pointer with one second left to make the final margin 56-54.
With the victory, Coast Guard improves to 18-6 overall and 13-6 in the NEWMAC while WPI drops to 10-14 (8-11). Coast Guard has now won three of its last four
Sophomore Meghan Fornaro had a game-high 15 points to go with a team-high tying nine rebounds in the win for Coast Guard while junior Knox added 14 points and nine rebounds and Sutherland finished with 11 points and six boards.
The Bears missed eight of their first nine field goal attempts as they fell behind the hosts 12-4 with 14:15 to play before Knox converted and old-fashioned three-point play.
Coast Guard faced their largest deficit at 17-8 with 11:47 remaining in the first half. However, Coast Guard would respond by going on a 26-7 run to close the first half and head into the break with a 34-24 advantage over the Engineers. After the sluggish offensive start the Bears hit 10 of their final 17 field goal attempts to close out the half.
The Bears shot 35.2 percent from the floor (19-54) while making 7 of 24 from behind the arc while WPI finished 21 of 59 from the field (35.6) percent and hit 3 of 12 from 3-point range. Coast Guard held a 46-38 edge on the glass in the win.
Davis led WPI with ten points, 13 rebounds and five assists.
Coast Guard closes out the regular season when they host Springfield on Saturday, February 22nd at 1:00 pm.