Cardinals Come up One Possession Short in Falling to Conn, 65-61 in Overtime, Then Lose to #12 Amherst
Conn. College got a key steal on an inbounds pass with :08 to go in overtime and went on for an uncontested layup with :03.5 to play, breaking a 61-61 tie, leading to Conn. College's 65-61 win over Wesleyan in a NESCAC game Sat., Jan. 25. After a Wesleyan turnover on its next possession, Conn added a pair of free throws for the final margin.
Wesleyan had begun the second half on a tear, using a 14-3 run to pull out to a 38-31 lead with 12:32 to go. The difference peaked at 10, 44-34, with 9:28 on the clock. The Camels responded with 13 consecutive points to grab a 47-44 advantage with less than five minutes to go. Wesleyan held its last lead of the half, 50-49, at the 3:05 mark as Conn tied it, 50-50, and had leads of 52-50 and 54-52 before Wesleyan got the tying bucket in regulation from Jess Cherenza '15 (#10, photo) with :40 left. Conn then missed on its last possession of regulation, as Kaylie Williams '16 got the rebound with :22 to go. But Wesleyan turned the ball over on the endline and the last :04.3 ticked off the clock before Conn could attempt a legitimate shot.
Neither team led by more than two in the extra period until the final :01.2. Wesleyan had the lead 61-59, with :35.3 left after a Cherenza free throw. The Camels knotted the count on a pair from the line with :14.8 to go. Wesleyan moved up court and called timeout with :09.8 showing. The Camels deflected the first inbounds pass out-of-bounds. The second time, it turned into a winning layup for the Camels.
Cherenza had a double-double for the Cardinals with 11 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. KellyAnn Rooney '14 paced Wesleyan with 15 points.
Wesleyan is now 32-24 all-time vs. Conn. College as the loss to Conn was just the second for Wesleyan in the last 16 meetings of the teams. Wesleyan had a 13-game winning streak vs. Conn snapped during the 2010-11 season, but then won the last two before this season.
Wesleyan was back on the court Tues. Jan. 28, hosting Little Three rival Amherst in a game that did not count in the NESCAC standings. Wesleyan held its own for the first 15 minutes of the game vs. the 12th-ranked Lord Jeffs, but a strong finish to the first half by the visitors gave them a 12-point bulge at halftime. Wesleyan got no closer than eight in the second half as the Lord Jeffs pulled away for a 72-49 victory.
The Cardinals began the game shooting 7-for-17 from the field with four turnovers while holding the Lord Jeffs to 5-for-19 shooting as the Cardinals gained a 17-14 edge with 6:35 left in the first period. But Amherst ended the half on a 17-2 tear as Wesleyan turned the ball over seven times and went 0-for-5 from the field with only a pair of free throws to show on the scoreboard. Wesleyan narrowed the 31-19 halftime deficit to 34-26 early in the second half but the lead methodically grew into the teens and stood 48-32 with 10:50 to go. The final score was the greatest margin in the game. Wesleyan got a career-high tying 14 points from Williams, who also had six boards. Rooney chipped in with nine points. Jenna Klaes '14 dished out four assists. Wesleyan had a 38-30 margin on the glass but also an 18-7 unwanted edge in turnovers.
Wesleyan begins a NESCAC weekend Fri., Jan. 31, hosting Bates before taking on fourth-ranked and undefeated Tufts Sat., Feb. 1 in a game slated for a webcast.