MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The Wesleyan University women's basketball team came out hot Friday night, jumping out to a 10-2 lead, and never looked back as the Cardinals held off Hamilton College down the stretch to claim a 62-56 win at Silloway Gymnasium.
The Cardinals, led by junior Olivia Gorman's 16 points and senior Maddie Bledsoe's double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, improve to 9-4 overall while claiming their first NESCAC win of the season (1-2). Hamilton drops its first conference game of the year and is now 11-3 overall and 1-1 in league play.
FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- Bledsoe capped off Wesleyan's 10-2 run with a put-back layup at the 6:42 mark.
- The Continentals responded with five unanswered, but a free throw from Gorman followed by a pair of foul shots from Chynna Bailey '19 gave the home team a 13-7 lead after the first quarter.
- The six-point margin proved to be the difference in the game.
- Wesleyan increased its lead to 10 early in the second following a layup from Gorman and with 4:41 remaining in the half, a three from the junior guard gave the Cardinals a 24-13 advantage.
- Hamilton cut into the lead before the break as a basket by Samantha Srinivasan with :19 on the clock made it a four-point margin as Wesleyan led 31-25 at halftime.
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- The second half featured a thrilling 20 minutes of action.
- Following a jumper by Carly O'Hern at the 4:28 mark, the Continentals trailed by just three, 34-31. However, Wesleyan answered with a three from Bledsoe followed by a layup from Tara Berger '19 just seconds later.
- With time running out in the third, Marie Steiner hit a jumper to cut the deficit to four but Ava Tompkins '20 drove the length of the court in just nine seconds for a layup with :07 on the clock as the Cardinals took a 46-40 lead entering the fourth.
- Both teams exchanged baskets in the final quarter until a free throw by Gorman lifted the Cardinal lead to 10, up 57-47 with 3:31 on the clock.
- Halie Serbent hit one from behind-the-arc with :59 remaining to cut the deficit to six, but that proved to be the closest Hamilton would get the rest of the way, eventually losing by the same margin.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Bledsoe now has five double-doubles on the season. She also finished with game-highs of five assists and three steals, and also recorded a block. Berger finished with seven points and eight boards.
- Three players scored in double-figures for Hamilton, led by Serbent's 16. O'Hern and Steiner each added 10 and Srinivasan pulled in a team-high nine rebounds.
- Wesleyan returns to the court tomorrow to host No. 1 Amherst at 3 p.m. It's the second meeting between the two Little Three rivals this season, with the Mammoths claiming a 64-40 back on Nov. 21.