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Lehman Pushes Past Wellesley Basketball, 56-44

Allison Koziarz '25 (Frank Poulin)
Allison Koziarz '25 (Frank Poulin)

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - A late run helped Lehman defeat Wellesley College basketball 56-44 in the opening round of the 24th Annual USJ Tip-Off Tournament on Friday night at O'Connell Athletic Center.

Sophomores Mojisola Shokeye (Yonkers, N.Y.) and Brianna Barnes (Bronx, N.Y.) each put up 15 points for the Lightning (1-0) and Barnes added 13 rebounds. First year Arla Hofer (Las Vegas, Nev.) had a breakout game for the Blue (0-2) with 16 points and 10 rebounds while classmate Shannon Li (Los Altos, Calif.) scored 14 points of her own.

Li opened the game with a three-point bucket for the Blue. Wellesley led 7-0 before Lehman brought the game back to 12-10. A buzzer-beater by junior Jiyun Chae (Chantilly, Va.) gave the Blue a 14-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Shokeye tied the game at 14-14 with a jump shot and Barnes later pushed the Lightning's lead to four at 22-18 with a basket of her own. Wellesley evened up the game at 22-22 on a layup from Hofer. Sophomore Allison Koziarz (New Rochelle, N.Y.) scored late to give the Blue a 30-26 lead going into the half.

The third quarter began with the teams trading points until Wellesley got the lead to 37-30 on a pair of made free throws from Chae. A 10-0 run by Lehman late in the third quarter gave the Lightning the lead back. Shokeye had multiple buckets during the stretch. The Blue trailed 41-39 at the end of third quarter. 

Hofer tied the game up at 41-41 with a midrange jumper early in the fourth. Lehman scored the next five points before Li hit a big three-pointer to get the game back to 46-44 in favor of the Lightning. The Lightning scored the final 10 points of the game, surging ahead to a 56-44 victory.

The Lightning took advantage of 19 steals, converting 30 points off of turnovers. The Blue had a good night from the free throw line, hitting 15 of their 20 shots.

The Blue will play in the consolation game against Bard at 12:00 PM tomorrow. Lehman will play the Bluejays of St. Joseph's tomorrow at 2:00 PM.