NEWTON, MA- After thirty three minutes of neck and neck Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) women's basketball action between Lasell College and Johnson & Wales University, the visiting Wildcats broke away to defeat the Lasers, 65-49.
The final outcome was decided when with just seven minutes to play in the contest, Johnson & Wales composed a 13-2 run to turn a five point edge into a 16 point game. Twelve second half points by Jenna Juron (Burnt Hills, NY) and 10 more from Ayla Walter (Mt. Pleasant, SC) were keys to the Wildcats third GNAC win in as many games. Johnson & Wales is now 8-16 this season overall, and 5-6 in the conference.
Juron finished the game with a team-best 18 points, adding four assists and three steals. Walter notched 14 points and nine rebounds in the victory and Marina Millian (Chester, NY) scored 13 and collected seven boards. Morgan Wilson (LaGrangeville, NY) passed out a team-high seven assists for the Wildcats and picked up five rebounds and four steals.
Lasell finished the day with a 1-23 record and a 0-11 league slate. Kayla Vincelette (Westport, MA) tallied a game-high 19 points in the contest and JoAnna Bishop (So. Burlington, VT) registered a game-best 13 rebounds, adding 10 points for her second season double-double. Kim Archibald (Lewiston, ME) chipped in with 11 boards and seven points and Katie Farr (Rindge, NH) doled out a contest-high eight assists.
Johnson & Wales scored two minutes into the game and netted seven straight points before the Lasers got on the board in the 12th minute when Archibald struck from the post. Lasell trailed 9-2 at 11:30 but after Anna Holcomb (Quincy, MA) rattled off a pair of threes, the Lasers were back in the game, at 11-8.
Through the next minute, Walter and Vincelette traded fast break layups, back-to-back, which kept the three point margin in tact. Vincelette's basket would be the last Lasell would score for three minutes as the Wildcats tore off on a 5-0 streak in that time. Vincelette netted a jumper at 5:29 to break up the Lasers' scoreless stretch and bring the scoreboard to 18-12, but one free throw each by Jenna Juron and Keionna Blesley, plus a wing jumper by Millian, gave the visitors a double-digit lead with 4:10 left in the half.
Over the final four minutes, Lasell put together a string of five points with an Elwell three-ball and a Bishop turn around bucket, while defending against further damage from the Wildcats. Millian tapped in a final layup in the last 30 seconds of the period to bring about the 24-17 halftime score.
Johnson & Wales shot 31.2% (10-32) from the floor, 33.3% (1-3) from three point range and 50% (3-6) from the free throw line in the first 20 minutes. Lasell's numbers were less favorable, earning points on just 23.3% (7-30) of their chances from the field, 25% (3-12) from downtown, and 20% (1-5) from the line.
The Lasers did however, out rebound the visitors significantly as the Wildcats grabbed just 18 boards to Lasell's 30. Bishop had already commandeered 10 boards in the half, including four offensive marks.
The Wildcats broadened their lead to an eight point game (26-18) quickly in the second frame on a bucket by Walter, however two points by Archibald moments later kept the Lasers in close-range.
Layups by Wilson and Juron pushed the visitors lead back up to 10 by 15:41, but Bishop hit two foul shots for Lasell at 15:26 and a three by Vincelette in the next play closed the gap to five, 30-25.
Both teams seemed to find their rhythm at the same time as layups were traded on each end of the court through the ensuing three minutes, and a 7-0 run by the Lasers between the 11th and 9th minutes made it a two field goal game.
Unfortunately for the Lasers, the four point edge, at 9:19, after another Vincelette long-ball was the closest the hosts would get to catching the Wildcats.
The visitors managed to pull away and left Lasell trailing by eleven, 49-38, with 5:48 to go after Walter slashed her way to the hoop for two. Lasell trailed by double-figures for the rest of the contest, leading up to the 65-49 final outcome.
The Wildcats scoring edge improved dramatically in the second stanza as they shot 51.5% (17-33) from the field, and 75% (6-8) from the line. The Lasers also bettered their averages, scoring on 33.3% (9-27) of their attempts from field-goal range, 66.7% (4-6) from distance, and 69.2% (9-13) from the stripe. Lasell did markedly win the battle on the boards, ripping down 49 rebounds to Johnson & Wales' 38 in the match.
Lasell's final contest of the season will be on Saturday, February 19th at 4:00 p.m. against Rivier College. The date will also mark senior day for the Lasers two graduating athletes, Katie Farr and Tracy Elwell (Watertown, MA).