Sam LaCroce '12 Nets 24 Points to Lead Comeback for 69-61 Opening-Day Victory at Old Westbury - Cards Then Fall to Geneseo but Down Hunter
Wesleyan recovered from its largest deficit of the game, 30-19, at halftime, to take the lead for good with 2:28 remaining on a layup by Sam LaCroce '12 and go on for a 69-61 victory over SUNY Old Westbury in the opener for both teams Fri., Nov. 18. With the score tied, 60-60, Emily Lippe '12 got the ball to LaCroce inside and she converted for a 62-60 edge as Wesleyan outscored its host, 9-1, in the closing moments. Lippe had six assists on the evening. LaCroce finished with a game-high 24 points on 11-of-14 shooting. It was a career-high effort for her as her 23 points vs. Conn. College in 2009-10 had beed her high single game performance. She also had nine rebounds while Eileen Gaffney '12 took game-high honors with 10 boards. LaCroce added another basket with 1:46 to go and Amber Wessells '14 connected on three of four free throws in the final :17 to seal the win. Jenna Klaes '14 dished off a game-high seven assists as she single-handedly equaled the assist output of Old Westbury.
Wesleyan then took on SUNY Geneseo in its next outing Sat., Nov. 19 at Old Westbury. The Cardinals were not quite as fortunate in the second half after trailing just 29-25 at intermission. Geneseo used a 10-0 run at the beginning of the second frame to push out to a 14-point bulge and maintained a double-digit lead until just 7:07 stood on the game clock. The Cardinals got as close as six, 53-47, on a basket by Cherkira Lashley '15 with 1:08 left, but Geneseo stayed on top and claimed the 56-48 victory. LaCroce again paced Wesleyan in the scoring department with 15 points with Lippe tossing in 11 points along with four assists. LaCroce also led on the boards with nine with Gaffney right behind at eight.
Heading back to the state of New York for its third game of the season, Wesleyan led from stat to finish in defeating Hunter, 64-51, Tues., Nov. 22. The Cardinals now stand 4-0 vs. the Hawks with three of those wins coming by double-digits over the last three seasons. LaCroce again paced the team in scoring with 14 points while Gaffney grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds. The Cardinals rolled away from the outset, scoring the game's first nine points in generating a 15-2 lead midway through the period. The Cardinals extended the margin to a game-high 23 at intermission, holding a 33-10 edge. The lead vascillated between 15 and 23 points over the first 15 minutes of the second half before a modest run by the Hawks narrowed the gap to just seven, 55-48, with 2:05 to go. But the Cardinals canned seven attempts from the charity stripe in the final minute to seal the win. Lippe and KellyAnn Rooney '14 each had 10 points with Lippe adding five assists. Wessells also had five helpers as the team had 15 assist on 22 baskets.
The squad returns to game mode Fri., Dec. 2 when the Cardinals host Maine-Presque Isle in the first round of the Courtyard by Marriott Tournament. The other opening-day matchup features Worcester St. against Anna Maria. The consolation and championship games will be contested Sat., Dec. 3.