During a road trip to Standish, Me. to face the Monks of St. Joseph's for only the third time in history, Wesleyan gained a two-point edge in the closing seconds but couldn't put the finishing touches on the game as the Monks hit a three-pointer with :05 left to secure a 55-54 victory. The Cardinals missed a pair of free throws in the final 20 seconds, including the front-end of a one-and-one, giving the host possession after the rebound, leadin to the game-winning basket.
Neither team led by more than five points during the opening 20 minutes and that pattern carried over into the final 10 minutes of the contest. The Monks pushed out to the game's largest margin at 47-40 with 6:41 to go. Wesleyan, which got 15 points and eight rebounds from Sam LaCroce '12 (#20, right side photo) and 14 points and six boards from Eileen Gaffney '12 (#30, left side photo), went on a 13-3 run to grab its largest lead of the second half, 53-50, with 1:30 to go. LaCroce had seven of the 13 points during the run and Gaffney added four.
Neither team scored until the Monks got a layup with :23 to go, making it 53-52. McKinley Tennant '11 went to the line with :16 to go, making one of two, but Gaffney grabbed the offensive board on the miss and was fouled. She missed the try, St. Joe's got the board and turned the possession into the winning trey. Wesleyan could only manage a desperation shot from more than 35 feet in the closing seconds.
Kendra Harris '13 also had double-digit scoring for the Cardinals with 10 points along with four rebounds. Wesleyan and St. Joe's both had 20 field goals and five three-pointers in the game, as well as the same number of attempts at the line (16). The Monks hit 10. Wesleyan made just nine.
A year ago, Wesleyan recovered from a 51-41 deficit with eight minutes to go to secure a 62-61 victory over St. Joe's.
The squad then opened the home schedule of 2011 against Little Three rival Williams Tues., Jan. 11. The Ephs, ranked 13th nationally, raced out to an 18-4 lead 7:25 into the game and lead by double-digits the rest of the way. The Cardinals, who got 11 points from Erin Gold '11 as she bagged three treys in the contest, narrowed what had been the largest deficit of the first half at 27-8 to 11 at 27-16 with three points each from Gaffney and Harris along with a basket from Tennant to spur the 8-0 run. But the Ephs netted the final six points of the half and let Wesleyan get no cloer than 13 in the second period. Williams had runs of 17-6 and 14-0 during the second stanza to lead by as many as 35 before coming away with the 70-36 victory.
Gaffney took game-high honors on the boards with 10. LaCroce paced the team in assists with four while also contributing a pair of steals and a block.
Next up for the squad is the opening NESCAC weekend as the Cardinals host Trinity Fri., Jan. 14, followed by a rematch with Amherst Sat., Jan. 15. The contest with Amherst will be webcast and can be watched by clicking < here >.