MILTON, Mass. – The Curry College women's basketball team got their season underway as they hosted the first day of the 2019 Curry College Tip-Off Tournament on Friday evening. In game one, the Wellesley College Blue topped the Western Connecticut State University Colonials by a score of 56-39. In game two, the Saint Joseph's College of Maine Monks prevailed 48-42 over the hosting Colonels. Tonight's contests were the first games of the season for all four squads.
Game One: Wellesley 56, Western Connecticut 39
The Colonials got the scoring underway in the first quarter as Gabrielle Hurlbert (Thomaston, Conn.) connected on a three. The bucket would stand to be the only score of the first three minutes, as the Blue did not hit the scoreboard until Valentina Marakis (Long Island, N.Y.) sank a layup with 6:41 remaining in the frame. Hurlbert would match the bucket on Western Connecticut's next possession, but seven unanswered points by Wellesley gave them their first lead of the evening at 9-5. The Colonials fought back, but with 38 seconds left in the stanza, a three by Jiyun Chae (Chantilly, Va.) gave the lead back to the Blue at 12-11, which would be the score at the first intermission.
Out of the break, Genesis Torres (Stratford, Conn.) capitalized on a steal, sinking a layup and giving the lead back to the Colonials. The Blue would not stay down for long, however, as another score by Chae made the score 16-15 in favor of Wellesley, giving them a lead that would stand for nearly four full minutes of action. Hurlbert sank a pair of free throws to knot the score at 20-20, but Wellesley closed the half on an 8-2 run to take a six-point edge into halftime.
Despite getting points from just three different players in the third quarter, Wellesley never relinquished their lead, holding their opponents to just 10 points in the frame, which made the score 36-32 heading into the fourth.
After a frame that saw just 18 points scored combined between the two opponents, the fourth quarter held 50% more points, as the Blue controlled the scoring with a 20-7 edge in the stanza. Just under three minutes into the quarter, a layup from Hurlbert brought the Colonials to within three at 38-35, but it would be as close as Western Connecticut could get, as Wellesley did nothing but build on their lead from then on out. Chae contributed on nine of the Blue's 20 points in the frame, scoring seven and picking up an assist, helping Wellesley lock up an opening night victory by a score of 56-39.
Chae and Alyssa Cho (Hillsborough, Calif.) each registered 12 points in the win, while Hurlbert notched a game-high 16 on the other side of the floor. Taylor Hirn (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) topped the Blue with 12 rebounds, while Caitlin Aguirre (El Paso, Texas) led the way with four assists. Hannah Maghini (Bristol, Conn.) dished out a pair of helpers to lead the Colonials, while Jessica Davis (Hamden, Conn.) topped the team in rebounds with nine.
Game Two: St. Joseph's (Maine) 48, Curry 42
As the second game of the evening began, freshman Kirsten Smith (East Bridgewater, Mass.) gave Curry an opening 2-0 lead. The teams showed they were evenly matched, working to a 6-6 tie with 7:35 left to play in the first. The Colonels struggled to find the basket over the next four minutes, but a three by Kaitlynn Smith (Hull, Mass.) cut into the Monk lead, making the score 11-10. Each team would score once more before the break, with St. Joe's holding onto a 13-11 advantage as the quarter concluded.
Twin three's by Alyson Fillion (Bedford, N.H.) and Katie Smith (East Bridgewater, Mass.) got the scoring started in frame number two. Both defenses played well in the quarter, allowing just 10 combined points in the first six minutes of action in the stanza, but after a layup by Kat. Smith cut the hosts' deficit to just two at 18-16, the Monks broke off an 8-2 run to end the half, giving them a 26-18 advantage into the break.
Kathryn Dunn (Hanson, Mass.) recorded the first five points of the second half, bringing the Colonels to within one possession at 26-23, but another Fillion three kept the visitors ahead. After two scoreless minutes, the Colonels went on a run of their own, scoring seven unanswered points to make the score 30-29. The lead was Curry's first since the first quarter (6-4), but 11 straight points from St. Joe's shifted the momentum back to the Monks and gave them a 40-30 lead, heading into the fourth quarter.
The Colonel defense stepped up in the final frame, allowing just eight points to their guests after giving up 13, 13, and 14 in the first three quarters, but the Monks' defense was ready to go as well. Despite outscoring St. Joe's 12-8 in the frame, the Colonels were unable to pull to within one possession at any point, trailing by at least four for the full fourth period. Jordan Jabar (Waterville, Maine) contributed four points in the frame, helping the Monks secure the 48-42 victory.
Jabar (11) and Fillion (14) turned in double-digit points for the Monks, while the Colonels were led by Kai. Smith (12), Dunn (11), and Kat. Smith (10). Kat. Smith and Dunn each recorded seven rebounds for the hosts, while Dunn topped the team with three assists. Julia Quinn (Fryeburg, Maine) led St. Joe's with a trio a helpers, while Jabar secured eight rebounds to lead all players.
Tomorrow, the Monks will take on the Blue at 2:00 p.m. to crown a tournament champion. Earlier in the day, however, the Colonels will host the Colonials in the consolation game, at 12:00 p.m.