Eileen Gaffney's '12 Fourth Double-Double Highlights First-Round Naismith Classic Game for Cards

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In a game during which the Cardinals never led, Wesleyan dropped a 70-52 decision to Western Connecticut in the opening round of the Naismith Classic at Springfield Sat., Jan. 2, to inaugurate the second half of the season. The loss puts the Cardinals in the tournament consolation game Sun., Jan. 3 vs. Colby-Sawyer, which fell to host Springfield, 70-39, in its first-round matchup. 

While WCSU evened up the overall series vs. Wesleyan at 6-6, it was the first time the in-state rivals have met on the hard wood in 17 years. The last meeting between the Cardinals and Colonials took place in a tournament at Eastern Connecticut back on Jan. 9, 1993, also won by WCSU, 62-48.

The Colonials jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the opening three minutes at Springfield. Wesleyan scored the next six as WCSU was held scoreless for more than six minutes. But a 12-2 run gave WCSU a 19-8 lead for its largest margin of the first half. The Cards whittled the lead down to 29-23 at intermission.

An 11-2 WCSU run to start the second half put Wesleyan in a 40-25 hole and the Cards never recovered, trailing by at least 12 the rest of the way. The Colonials stretched the gap to as many as 22 points (61-39) with 5:13 left before settling for the 18-point margin of victory.

Eileen Gaffney '12 (#30, photo) posted her third straight double-double for the Cardinals with 13 points and 14 rebounds. It also was her fourth double-double of the season. Erin Gold '11 also hit for double-figures with 10 points. While Wesleyan outrebounded WCSU, 40-33, a 33.3-percent shooting night that featured no three pointers (0-1) did not help the Cardinal cause as WCSU sank eight from behind the arc and shot 47.5 percent from the field. Wesleyan was solid at the line, however, making 16 of 19 (84.2 percent).

When Wesleyan and Colby-Sawyer tangle in the consolation game, it will be the first-ever contest bewteen the two teams.