LEICESTER, MA - Junior guard Kailah Simon (Norwalk, CT) scored all of her career-high 14 points in the second half to help the Wheelock College women's basketball team erase a nine-point halftime deficit and come away with a 59-49 victory over host Becker College tonight in a New England Collegiate Conference contest at the Leicester Gym in Leicester, MA. The Wildcats improve to 4-17 overall and 4-11 in NECC play, while the Hawks fall to 6-16 and 6-9.
The Wildcats collectively out-rebounded the Hawks 58-44 for the game and outscored them 38-19 in the second half, while shooting 48 percent (12-25) in the period and holding their opponents to 18.8 percent (6-32) shooting after the break.
Facing a 30-21 deficit to begin the second half, Wheelock slowly chipped away at Becker's lead. Senior forward Kayla Drescher's (Wallingford, CT) layup with 12:37 left remaining in the game cut the lead to three at 35-32 before the Hawks righted the ship, scoring the next six straight points, capped off by a jumper from sophomore forward Tatiana Mojica (Worcester, MA) to take a 41-32 advantage with 10:47 showing in the half. The Wildcats weren't done, however, pulling to within one at the 6:58 mark on another layup by Drescher to complete a 10-2 rally. Mojica made a huge play with five minutes remaining, coming up with a put back to give Hawks a three-point cushion. Moments later, Wheelock would tie the game on a layup from senior center Jo Gomes (Boston, MA) with 3:52 left. Junior forward Keneisha Milton (Boston, MA) then gave the Wildcats their first lead since early in the game with a layup in traffic as part of a 14-3 run to close out the game. Wheelock went up by three at 2:56 when Simon picked Becker's pocket in the backcourt, stealing the ball and taking it in for a layup for two of her nine points during the stretch.
The game was a defensive battle early on, as the Wildcats opened up a 6-2 lead after a layup from Milton four minutes in. Sophomore guard Chelsea Joubert (Westborough, MA) would answer for the Hawks, hitting a 3-pointer out of a timeout and sparking a 13-0 Becker run, ending on a fast-break layup from Joubert with 10:13 remaining in the half. The hosts extended their lead to 11 with a 3-pointer from sophomore guard Haley Ooms (Valatie, NY) with 5:27 left in the first period. Drescher registered a blocked shot at the 4:18 mark of the first half to break her own Wheelock record for rejections in a season with 34. She finished the contest with four blocks for 37 for the season. Both teams went into halftime with Becker leading 30-21.
Simon added a personal-high 13 rebounds, all in the second half, for her first career double-double to go with a pair of steals, an assist and a block for the Wildcats, while Milton posted a double-double of her own with 14 points and 16 boards in addition to three steals and an assist. Drescher dropped in 14 points as well and added nine rebounds, four blocks, four assists and two steals. Gomes finished with eight points and seven rebounds in 15 minutes off the bench.
Joubert led Becker with a game-high 17 points and four steals. Mojica was strong inside with 12 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks. Ooms came off the bench to score 11 points while handing out a game-high six assists. Kristina Desnoyers (Adams, MA) added eight rebounds and five assists. Michelle Griczika (Barre, MA) had seven boards.
Wheelock will be in action again on Saturday, February 11 when it hosts Daniel Webster College at 1:00 p.m. at Brunelli Court on the campus of Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, MA, while the Hawks continue their season on the same day when they head to Southern Vermont College for a 1:00 tip-off.