Cards Open Home Season with Solid 60-43 Win vs. Coast Guard as Sam LaCroce '12 Scores 17

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Using a 17-2 run over a 10-minute span in the first half, the Cardinals turned a 9-8 lead over visiting Coast Guard into a commanding 26-10 margin and went on to post a 60-43 victory in the team's home opener Mon., Dec. 7. Wesleyan took on Worcester St. in the second of three straight home games Thurs., Dec. 10, falling by a 53-51 count. The home stand ends Sat., Dec. 12 with a visit from Hunter.

Junior McKinley Tennant '11 (#10, photo insert upper right) hit a pair of three-pointers and scored on a drive to the basket to account for eight of the Cardinals' 17 points between the 14:40 and 4:33 marks of the opening stanza vs. Coast Guard. Though the Bears scored the final four points of the period to make it 26-14 at intermission, the Cardinals responded with an 11-2 spurt in the first three minutes of the second half for a 37-16 edge. Tennant had another trey and Eileen Gaffney '12 scored three consecutive baskets during the stretch. Coast Guard got no closer than 14 in the second half as Wesleyan maintained its margin throughout, pushing it as high as 22 (60-38) with two minutes to play. Sam LaCroce '12 (#20, main photo) scored 10 of the team's final 14 points in building her total to a team-high 17. She also had four assists in the contest.

Leading Wesleyan with five assists was Melanie Ferdinand '12 (#32, photo insert lower right) as she had a solid all-around game with nine points and 10 rebounds to go along with a block and a steal.

Wesleyan is now 18-9 all-time vs. Coast Guard with seven wins in the last eight meetings since the teams began playing regularly in 2002-03.

In the first-ever meeting between Wesleyan and Worcester St., the Cardinals were fighting an uphill battle most of the way, trailing by as many as nine in the first half. But a good burst to start the second half gave Wesleyan its first lead at 30-29. The Cardinals again fell behind by six, 40-34, with 9:12 to go but the contest went into the final two minutes knotted at 47.

Gaffney, who scored seven of Wesleyan's final nine points and had 16 in the game along with 11 boards, gave the Cards just their second lead of the game, 51-50, with :44 to go. After a missed trey by the Lancers, McKinley Tennant '11 went to the line with a one-and-one at the :23 mark. She failed to convert, Worcester cleared the board and connected on a three-pointer with :09.8 left for a 53-51 edge. LaCroce, who also finished the game with 16 points, had a good look from 12 feet in the final second but her attempt to tie bounced off the rim at the buzzer.

The double-double for Gaffney was her second of the year and the fifth by a Cardinal this season.

(photos courtesy of SteveMcLaughlinPhotography.com)