NEW LONDON, Conn. – A strong second half fueled Wheelock College to a 61-50 victory over Mitchell College in a New England Collegiate Conference women's basketball showdown on Saturday afternoon at the Yarnall Athletic Center.
Kayla Drescher and Keneisha Milton each posted double-doubles as the Wildcats (2-15, 2-9 NECC) won their second straight game. Drescher finished with a team-high 17 points and added 10 rebounds while Milton recorded 14 points and a game-high 19 boards. Freshman Sheanna James led all scorers with 21 points to pace the Mariners (5-11 overall, 4-6 NECC).
Mitchell led for the majority of the first half and took its biggest lead at 19-11 following a three-pointer by junior Kaylee Cerruto with 9:28 to play. However, it would be more than eight minutes before the Mariners would make their next field goal as the offense suddenly went cold. Wheelock took advantage and reeled off a 12-3 run, taking the lead at 23-22 on a pair of free throws by Jessica Ramsey with 1:19 remaining in the stanza.
After missing 15 straight field goal attempts, the Mariners finally got back on track behind a jumper by James to take back the lead. A bucket by freshman Hannah Smith capped the first-half scoring and left Mitchell with a 26-23 lead at the break. The Mariners shot 26 percent for the half while the Wildcats checked in at 22 percent.
A strong start to the second half was all Wheelock needed to take control. The Wildcats scored 12 straight points to open the stanza and led 35-26 following a pair of free throws by Drescher with 13:42 remaining. Drescher accounted for eight points during the stretch while Milton and Maya Spratling each contributed a basket.
Mitchell's shooting woes continued in the second half. The Mariners missed their first 11 attempts from the floor and didn't find the scoring column until Cerruto buried a jumper with 13:10 to go.
Wheelock pumped the lead to as many as 15 points in the second half and shot 42 percent for the stanza. Drescher scored 12 of her 17 points over the final 20 minutes to lead the way.
Ramsey also finished in double figures for the Wildcats with 13 points while point guard Kailah Simon had six points, nine rebounds, four assists and five steals. In addition to her double-double, Drescher added four blocks and three assists to her stat line.
James grabbed 11 rebounds to record her third career double-double and also tacked on a season-high seven steals. Cerruto, playing in her first game since December 10, finished with 13 points and three assists.
Mitchell will next host Regis College on Tuesday, January 31 at 7 p.m.