Wednesday women: Staying out in front

Hannah Spaulding posted yet another double-double and St. Thomas posted yet another win in the MIAC on Wednesday night.
File photo by Ryan Coleman,

St. Thomas, Trine and Gettysburg won big games in various ways to stay in front of their conference races. Meanwhile the WIAC race got messy and it was another good Knight in Southern Virginia.

Bethel rallied late at No. 4 St. Thomas but couldn't complete its comeback before the Tommies closed out the Royals 66-62 for their 63rd consecutive MIAC victory. St. Thomas built a 68-58 lead midway through the fourth period but Bethel scored seven of the game's next eight points and pulled within four with 3-plus minutes to play. The Royals pulled even closer on consecutive layups by Elizabeth Schwarz which trimmed the Tommies' lead to 63-62 with 22 seconds left. Sarah Krynski made two free throws to give St. Thomas some breathing room and, after a Bethel turnover, Lucia Renikoff put the game away with another free throw.

Hannah Spaulding posted 15 points, 15 rebounds and five assists for the Tommies (15-1, 9-0 MIAC) who remain a game ahead of Augsburg. The Auggies bounced back from Saturday's loss to St. Thomas with a 66-46 win over Hamline.

No. 10 Trine scored the last two points for the first period and the first 12 of the second against Albion, and the Thunder rolled over the Britons 59-42. Trine held Albion to 17 points in the first half and 29 percent shooting overall, including 2-for-16 from three. Brandi Dawson scored 19 points on 9-for-13 shooting for Trine (15-2, 8-0 MIAA) which sits a game in front of No. 9 Hope. The Flying Dutch had a much easier time with St. Mary's (Ind.) in a 93-44 victory.

No. 20 Gettysburg trailed Muhlenberg at the end of every quarter but the most important one. The Bullets fell behind the Mules 23-12 after the first quarter but came all the way back to beat them 65-55. Gettysburg (13-2, 10-0) outscored Muhlenberg 24-10 in the final period and went 15 for 16 from the foul line in the game. The Bullets sit a game in front of Johns Hopkins in the Centennial Conference standings and those teams will play on Saturday in Baltimore.

Southern Virginia completed an impressive three-game sweep of the other CAC title contenders as the Knights rallied past No. 25 Christopher Newport, 58-54. Katie Garrish tallied 15 points and 12 rebounds for Southern Virginia (14-1, 5-0 CAC) which has consecutive wins over Frostburg, Salisbury and CNU.

The MAC Freedom looks like a two-team race for now after No. 21 DeSales defeated Manhattanville, 84-56. The Bulldogs (14-2, 5-0 MACF) forced Manhattanville into 20 turnovers versus five assists and will play undefeated Misericordia on Saturday. The Cougars won at Eastern 74-64. Manhattanville drops two games behind both teams, though the Valiants will host both of them later this season.

While those races have clear front runners, the WIAC and the CCIW got a little messier on Wednesday night.

In the WIAC Whitewater got an ugly but badly needed victory over No. 12 Oshkosh by a final score of 49-47. The teams combined for 36 points in the first half and Oshkosh shot 29 percent from the field (15-for-51), 16 percent from three (3-for-19) and 58 percent from the foul line (14-for-24). Whitewater starters Becky Raeder and Olivia Freckmann were the only two players to score double figures for either team.

Oshkosh's loss was No. 23 La Crosse's gain as the Eagles topped UW-Stevens Point 55-46 and moved into a three-way tie for first in the conference. Eau Claire is the third team with a 4-1 conference mark after the Blugolds beat Platteville 76-64. La Crosse hosts Oshkosh on Saturday afternoon.

Augustana surprised No. 22 Wheaton (Ill.) 56-51 and knocked the Thunder back into a first-place tie with Illinois Wesleyan in the CCIW. Scooter Lopez keyed a game-winning 6-0 run for Augustana and the Vikings outrebounded Wheaton 50-36. No. 14 Illinois Wesleyan closed out North Central (Ill.) 82-77 by making 30 of its 36 free throws including a 15-for-16 performance by Maddie Merritt.

In other Top 25 action, Trevor Woodruff got his 100th win as the head coach at Scranton when the third-ranked Lady Royals defeated Susquehanna, 58-45. Woodruff is 100-7 in three-plus seasons. No. 5 Amherst held off rival Williams 65-54 in the annual meeting between the teams that does not count in the NESCAC standings. The Mammoths (14-1) put the game away with a possession that consumed a minute and ended with a Cam Hendricks three-point play late in the fourth quarter. Madeline Eck had 19 points, 12 rebounds and five steals for Amherst.

Mass-Dartmouth coach Matt Ducharme also got his 100th victory in a 64-60 come-from-behind win for the Corsairs over Eastern Connecticut. Nakira Examond had 17 points, nine rebounds and a key assist on the Corsairs' go-ahead three-pointer late in the game.

Kierra McCarthy had a night to remember in Westfield State's 80-78 victory at Framingham State. The senior forward scored 26 points, including the 1,000th of her career, and had the game-winning basket with 2.2 seconds left.

Baldwin Wallace pulled a game closer to John Carroll in the OAC standings by beating the Blue Streaks 68-59. Baldwin Wallace, which now sits a game back of John Carroll, held the Blue Streaks to one point in the final five minutes. Washington and Jefferson extended its winning streak to nine games with a 76-60 victory at Grove City, setting up a showdown for first place in the PAC on Saturday. The Presidents (11-5, 7-1 PAC) will travel to St. Vincent which is 14-2, 8-0 in the conference after easing past Catham 82-58.