BOSTON -- The Mitchell College women's basketball team escaped with a 44-42 victory over Wheelock College on Saturday afternoon in New England Collegiate Conference play at Winsor Court.
Mitchell trailed by as many as six in the fourth quarter before a jumper by Francesca Pinard put them in front with 2:06 to play. Haley Garcia later added a basket to extend the lead to three, and Marissa Sweeney sealed the win at the free throw line. The Mariners improved to 10-11 overall and 8-3 in league action.
Garcia finished with a team-high 14 points and was the only Mitchell player to score in double figures. Ashleigh Beauford added nine points, six rebounds and three assists while Kate McCormack grabbed a team-high nine boards.
It was a back-and-forth game early on as both teams put up a marvelous defensive fight to keep the scoring to a minimum. A strong effort from three-point range, including two treys by Holly O'Sullivan, kept the Wildcats in the game. The Mariners, however, went into the halftime intermission with a 22-20 lead.
Beauford started the second half with a quick lay-up before O'Sullivan notched another three to pull the Wildcats within one at 24-23. A pair of Katie Walsh free throws gave Wheelock the quick lead. The Wildcats outscored the Mariners 11-10 in the stanza but still trailed by one heading into the final quarter.
Gaby Haywood hit a soft jumper seconds into the fourth quarter to give Wheelock a 33-32 lead. O'Sullivan hit another three to give the Wildcats their biggest lead of the night, 38-32, with eight minutes remaining. The Mariners later capitalized on Wheelock fouls and hit six straight free throws to pull within a point, setting the stage for a comeback in the final minutes.
After the baskets by Pinard and Garcia put Mitchell on top by three, Sweeney split a pair of free throws to extend the margin to 43-39 with less than a minute to go. With 20 ticks left on the clock, O'Sullivan drilled her fifth and final three of the night, trimming the deficit back to one. The Wildcats were forced to foul on the ensuing possession, and Sweeney closed out the scoring with another freebie from the charity stripe.
Walsh recorded a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds while O'Sullivan notched 15 points and three boards.
Wheelock (5-12 overall, 4-8 NECC) is back in action on Wednesday, February 7 at Lesley University at 8 p.m. Mitchell will next host Elms College on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.