Wellesley Tops Nichols in Overtime Thriller, 78-70
WELLESLEY, Mass. - Wellesley College basketball earned their second straight victory in a 78-70 epic over Nichols on Tuesday at Dorothy Towne Fieldhouse.
First years Shannon Li (Los Altos, Calif.), Arla Hofer (Las Vegas, Nev.), and Madison Wieboldt (Chapel Hill, N.C.) all had double-doubles for the Blue (2-2) with Li scoring a career-high 16 points, while three other players scored at least 10 points. Senior Kiera Fernandes (Franklin, Mass.) lead the Bison (0-2) with 22 points, and first year Alyvia Smith (Fitchburg, Mass.) snatched up seven steals.
The first quarter opened with a 7-2 Nichols lead including a Fernandes bucket. The Blue took the lead at 8-7 on a pair of made free throws from junior Elle Petra (Guilford, Conn.). By the end of the first the Blue led 14-10 on 55.6 percent shooting from the field.
The Blue would expand their lead to 10 at 22-12 when sophomore Sairah O'Brien-Forde (Binghamton, N.Y.) hit a mid-range jumper. The Bison never got the lead within seven in the first half, with the Blue leading 33-23 at halftime, backed by eight points from junior Jiyun Chae (Chantilly, Va.) and seven from O'Brien-Forde in the quarter.
The teams traded baskets and steals early in the third quarter before the Bison caught fire, cutting Wellelsey's lead to two late in the quarter on a pair of free throws from Smith. Fernandes had 10 points in the quarter and Nichols combined for nine team steals to cut the lead down.
A jumper from Hofer assisted by Wieboldt expanded Wellesley's lead to 58-52 midway through the fourth. The Bison tied the game up at 62-62 on a three-pointer from senior Leandra Ortiz (Queens, N.Y.). Senior Pujita Shukla (Austin, Texas) made a pair of free throws for Wellesley and junior Abrianna Vazquez (Dedham, Mass.) made a layup for Nichols in the final mintue to send the game into overtime.
The Blue put their foot on the gas early in overtime with free throws from Li and Wieboldt and a basket from Chae upping the Wellesley's lead to five. Nichols cut the gap to 71-68 before a Wieboldt jump shot and points from Li put the game out of reach, with Wellesley earning their second straight win by a score of 78-70.
The Blue head to the Bridgewater State Cave Classic on Friday to play host Bridgewater State at 6:00 PM. The Bison finish their three-game road swing at Salem State on Saturday with a 1:00 PM game against the Vikings.