MILTON, Mass. -- Paced by 16 points and 12 boards from junior Alyssa Cho (Hillsborough, Calif.), Wellesley College basketball defeated Saint Joseph's College of Maine, 58-44, to claim the 2019 Curry College Tip-Off Tournament Championship on Saturday at Katz Gymnasium.
Cho finished 4-of-10 from the floor and 8-of-10 from the line to lead Wellesley (2-0 overall) to the victory. Cho was joined on the All-Tournament team by senior Caitlin Aguirre (El Paso, Texas), who finished with 12 points, five rebounds and two steals. First year Jiyun Chae (Chantilly, Va.) added eight points, six rebounds, and four steals, while classmate Pujita Shukla (Austin, Texas) chipped in with nine points and three rebounds off the Blue bench.
Saint Joseph's junior Cassandra Stapelfeld (Brookline, N.H.) scored a game-high 21 points to lead the Monks (1-1 overall). Stapelfeld was the only Saint Joe's player in double figures, earning All-Tournament honors while shooting 8-of-16 from the field and 5-for-8 from distance. Sophomore Alyson Fillion (Bedford, N.H.) added eight points and four boards for the Monks.
The Monks took an 11-8 lead after the opening ten minutes of play, but it was the Blue that carried a lead into the half thanks to a 16-12 Wellesley advantage in the second quarter. Trailing by three, Wellesley opened the second quarter with a 7-0 run, taking a 15-11 lead following an Aguirre triple at 8:07. Wellesley continued to lead for the remainder of the quarter but a three from Fillion cut the Blue lead to just one at the break, 24-23.
Saint Joe's wrestled the lead back at the start of the second half, as back-to-back buckets from Fillion and Stapelfeld made the score 28-24 Monks at 8:44. However, Wellesley outscored Saint Joseph's 16-7 over the final eight minutes of the quarter to take a 40-35 lead into the fourth. The Blue ended the third on an 8-3 run capped by a pair of free throws in the final minute from Cho.
Wellesley took command of the game in the fourth quarter to win the tournament title. Sophie Giardina (Bradenton, Fla.) cut the Saint Joseph's deficit to three, 43-40, with a layup at 4:54, but the Blue responded but outscoring the Monk 15-4 over the final 4:35 of regulation. Wellesley closed the game on an 8-0 run that included six points from Cho.
The Blue finished the game 19-of-56 from the field (33.9%) and 18-for-22 from the line (81.8%). Saint Joseph's (Me.) was 15-for-54 (27.8%) shooting field goals while committing 28 turnovers. Wellesley had a 40-36 edge in rebounds.
The Blue will return to action on Tuesday, November 19, with a 7:00 PM home contest against Wentworth. Saint Joseph's will host UNE on Wednesday, November 20, at 5:30 PM.