Overcoming a 13-point, first-half deficit, visiting Colby-Sawyer took the lead for good on a pair of free throws with 4:10 remaining, 51-50, and got a pair of huge three-pointers over the next minute and a half to pad the margin and go on for a 62-57 against Wesleyan Mon., Dec. 31 in the Cardinals first game in 22 days. It was just the second meeting of the squads. The only other time the teams faced each other was during a tournament at Springfield Jan. 3, 2010, and Wesleyan came away a 58-47 winner.
While Wesleyan forged a 27-14 advantage in the first half after jumping out to an 8-0 lead, thanks mainly to a pair of treys from Jackie Browne '16 (#21, photo insert upper left), the Chargers patiently whittled the difference to just three points at halftime as the Cardinals held a 33-30 edge at intermission. Colby-Sawyer took its first lead of the game at the 16:28 mark of the second half on a trey to give the Chargers a 37-35 lead. Another basket 32 seconds later made it 39-35. Wesleyan regained the lead briefly at 40-39 on a free throw by Karly Finison '16 (nine points) with 13:30 left and used a combined 13-3 run over a span of six minutes to turn the 39-35 deficit into a 48-42 lead with 9:43 on the clock.
The next eight minutes belonged to the Chargers as they outpointed the Cardinals, 16-5, for a 58-53 lead with 1:00 to go. Four free throws by the visitors in the last minute sealed the victory. While the Chargers were just 6-for-27 from long range on the day, they hit three of their final seven attempts when they counted most. Wesleyan made six of its 21 three-point tries, three by Browne, who finished with 11 points. Wesleyan was led by Kendra Harris '13 (#35, photo insert lower right) with 12 points. Jess Cherenza '15 (#10, main photo) grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds for Wesleyan as the Cardinals held a 54-43 edge on the boards but Colby-Sawyer did a better job of taking care of the ball, committing just nine turnovers while Wesleyan lost the ball 19 times. Twice this year, Cherenza has hauled in nine boards as her previous best effort.
Wesleyan begins NESCAC action Fri., Jan. 4 in its next game, hosting undefeated Amherst, ranked seventh nationally in the latest WBCA Division III poll. The game will be webcast starting at 8 p.m., preceded by the men's game vs. the Lord Jeffs at 6 p.m.
(photos courtesy of SteveMcLaughlinPhotography.com)