CAMBRIDGE, MA –Lesley University erased a 12-point first half deficit to take a four-point halftime lead, but Wheelock clamped down in the second half to leave Cambridge with a 65-56 victory in New England Collegiate Conference women's basketball play Wednesday night.
Lesley's Emily Fleming (Medford, MA/Medford) led all scorers with 22 points, 15 in the first, but the Wildcats went to work when the Lynx leader found foul trouble. Wheelock took off on an 11-0 second half run sparked by two Taylor Rodgers (Essex, MA/Manchester Essex) three-pointers to open a seven-point lead that never again turned into a single-possession game.
Rodgers and Kayla Drescher (Wallingford, CT/Sheehan) tied for team-high honors with 14 points, the junior shooter knocking down three second half three-pointers and the senior Drescher providing a pair of pivotal three-point plays late in the game as the Wildcats improved to 5-18 (5-12 NECC).
A Jessica Ramsey (Milford, MA/Hopedale) three sent Wheelock in front 22-10 at the 9:00 mark of the first, when Fleming took off on her personal 10-2 run bookended by three-point field goals from the sophomore. After a Drescher jumper put Wheelock up 27-20, Lesley closed the half on an 11-0 run capped by two Carrie Fieger (Simsbury, CT/Suffield) jumpers, the second a three-pointer that sent the Lynx into intermission leading 31-27.
With Wheelock entering the interior of the Lynx defense at will in the early going, Lesley turned up the defensive intensity, applying a full-court pressure that helped force 11 first half Wildcats turnovers. Fleming earned four first half steals atop the Lynx press, and Lesley limited the visitors to three field goals the final 9:00 of the frame.
The same aggressive defense earned Fleming her fourth foul just outside the 14:00 mark of the second, and with the Lynx clinging to a four-point lead with their lead guard out of the game, Rodgers and Drescher started their 11-0 run in which Wheelock held the Lynx without a field goal for nearly 7:00.
The Wildcats led by six or more until the final minute, when Fieger's second three-pointer made it a 60-56 game with 58 seconds left, but Lesley couldn't cut deficit in its final three possessions as Wheelock added to its lead at the line.
Fieger finished with 12 points, five rebounds and two blocks for the Lynx (0-24, 0-17 NECC), and Sarah Apgar (Andover, NJ/Lenape) rounded out a trio in double figured with 13 points and four boards.
Keneisha Milton (Boston, MA/Wayland) finished with a double-double of 13 points and a game-high 17 rebounds for Wheelock, which bested Lesley on the boards 52-36.
Lesley wraps up 2012 on Saturday at Daniel Webster, when the Wildcats do so at Elms.