Seniors lead way as Lynx keep hold of first place

CAMBRIDGE, MA – Lesley remained tied for first place, defeating Southern Vermont  Saturday evening in New England Collegiate Conference women's basketball play, 77-59.

Lesley (4-7, 4-0 NECC) senior Kaitlyn Wechsler (Merrick, NY/Our Lady of Mercy) led all scorers with a career-high 32 points, while Brianne Caira (Pelham, NY/Pelham) finished one block shy of a triple-double with 15 points, 18 rebounds and a career-best nine rejections.

Lesley took a 7-2 lead in the first two minutes with four points from Wechsler and a bucket from behind the arch from Rachael O'Mara (Levittown, NY/General Douglas McArthur).With 10:00 left in the first, Lesley took its biggest lead of the half, going up 19-10 on a Jenna Fralick (Woburn, MA/Woburn) jumper, going into intermission with a 26-21 lead after five straight Mountaineers poitns.

Kourtney Hewitt (Bennington, VT/Mount Anthony Union) contributed six points in the first for the Mountaineers (2-11, 0-6 NECC). Southern Vermont shot 32 percent from the field in the half, while Lesley shot 22 percent, but Caira and company worked a 38-22 advantage on the glass for the half to go in up five. Wechsler put up thirteen points, seven rebounds, and three steals before break. Caira, who leads the nation in blocks, now at 4.6 per game, had five of her nine rejections in the first.

Southern Vermont's Rita Hall (Temple Hill, MD/Potomac) and Joa Claircius (Clermont, FL/East Ridge) came back from the half refreshed, aiding Southern Vermont in overcoming what was a 10-point Lynx lead at the 19:00 mark. Claircius hit a shot from behind the arc that closed the gap to 40-38. Her trey was followed by a layup from Abby Riedel (New Boston, MA/Goffstown) that tied the game at 40.

At the 13:00, mark Claircius hit another layup that gave Southern Vermont their first lead of the game, 42-40. But as she did all night, Wechsler answered immediately, hitting a three-pointer on the ensuing possession that put the Lynx back on top, and Lesley never trailed the rest of the way in improving to 4-0 in league play.

Lesley outrebounded the Mountaineers 66-43 and set a program record with 13 blocked shots, led by Caira's nine. Wechsler's 32 points were one shy of Lesley's all-time high, set January 27, 2009 by former teammate Hailee Lowe.

For Southern Vermont, Clairsius poured in a team-high 25 points on 11-22 shooting, while Hall added 18 on 7-12 shooting.

Lesley plays host to Mitchell College Tuesday night in Cambridge.

(Credit: Olivia Coiro, Lesley sports information)