SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Curry College women's basketball team fell in a low scoring affair by a score of 52-30 to the Golden Bears of Western New England (WNE) on Saturday afternoon in Springfield. The loss brings the Colonels back to .500 on the year at 10-10 while their Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) record skids to 7-5 after a trio of league losses. WNE improves to 15-7 on the year while their league mark, which once sat at 4-4, has rocketed up to 9-4, thanks to a six game win streak, with five of them coming in conference.
Curry won the tip, but both teams struggled to find the basket early, which would become a theme in the contest. Freshman Peyton Perine (Fairfax, Va.) started the scoring with an inside layup from senior captain Emily Irwin (Billerica, Mass.) to give the Colonels an early lead. After another pair of missed shots, one from each side, a steal by Irwin lead to a fast break layup to double the visitors' lead. Facing a four point hole, junior Emily Farrell (New Fairfield, Conn.) took over the next two minutes for WNE, splitting a pair of free throws to put the hosts on the board before converting an old-fashioned three point play to tie the contest. WNE would take their first lead of the game off of the first points from senior Meghan Gilhool (Montrose, Pa.) as her Senior Night started with a three to make the score 7-4. Perine cut the deficit to one on the following possession with a jumper with 4:14 left to play in the first quarter, but an unusual silence would fall over Curry's offense, as they would commit a pair of turnovers to go alongside four misses from the floor, benefitting only from a pair of Irwin free throws, as WNE took advantage and held a 13-8 lead at the first break.
The second quarter began with a trio of missed shots, before Farrell found Meghan Orbann (East Hampton, Conn.) for a three to double up the Colonels, 16-8. Just two minutes into the frame, Curry senior Molly Plunkett (Quincy, Mass.) picked up her third foul of the day, the second Colonel to do so behind junior Sam Bamford (Easton, Mass.), which led to a Curry timeout, with the guests scoreless streak already reaching six minutes. The hoop seemed to get smaller and smaller as the teams combined to hit just one of their next four shots, before a layup by freshman Grace Fisher (Rocky Hill, Conn.) put the Golden Bears up by 13 at 21-8. Just over a minute later, Irwin drew a foul on Emily Scurka (Billerica, Mass.) to put her at the free throw line where she split a pair. This broke the Colonels' scoreless streak, but they were still in search of their first field goal of the second quarter as Farrell hit another basket to increase the Golden Bears' advantage to 14 with four minutes remaining in the half. Frustrated by misses from the floor, Irwin took matters into her own hands, driving towards the bucket on several occasions, drawing several fouls as she went. Despite going silent from the floor through the entirety of the frame, the Colonels' stingy defense was boosted by Irwin's efforts at the charity stripe, where she went 6-10 in the first half alone, along with a pair of converted free throws by Caroline Kilduff (Rockland, Mass.). This kept the Golden Bears within reach, as the Colonels headed to the intermission down 25-14, despite surrendering 13 offensive rebounds to WNE in the first two periods.
Curry looked to survive their irritating shooting woes, but the second half continued the story of the first half, as both teams struggled from the floor, with the only points coming on another Gilhool triple. Curry would shoot 0-8 over the third quarter, scoring just five points in the frame on four Irwin free throws and one from freshman Amanda Leal (Tyngsboro, Mass.). WNE did not fare far better in the frame, scoring just nine points against an otherwise dominant Colonels defense, but the visitors' inability to knock one down from the floor allowed the Golden Bears to increase their lead to 15 at 34-19 as the teams headed into the final stanza.
The Golden Bears started with possession and would extend their lead once again thanks to an inside layup from Orbann. Perine did her best to find the rim, but drew a shooting foul instead to head to the line. After missing both attempts, though, the freshman picked up her own fourth foul of the day, putting her in danger of fouling out, with just under nine minutes left on the clock. The Colonels' offensive struggles continued and another Orbann layup led to a timeout by the visitors with Curry still looking for their first points of the quarter, their first field goal since the first frame, and their first three-pointer of the day. After another three minutes of scoreless basketball, Gilhool drew the fifth and final foul on Plunkett and splitting a pair of free throws to extend the lead to 41-19. After a full timeout by the Golden Bears, Irwin came out and knocked down a driving basket to get Curry back on the board, but on the very next possession, Farrell converted a pair of free throws and drew the fifth Bamford foul of the day in the process. With subs in for Plunkett and Bamford, Irwin continued to lead the charge, converting a steal into a fast break layup to pull back within 20.After Gilhool hit another pair from the line, Leal converted her first field goal of the day, but Orbann followed with a pair of baskets of her own. On the latter, she drew the fifth foul on Perine, who became the third Colonel to foul out of the match up. With just over two minutes to go in regulation and the score reading 49-25, both coaches turned to their benches to close out the afternoon. Irwin would make it back to floor and convert an and-1 to sink the final 3 Curry points of the day, but the Golden Bears were clearly the better team in this tilt, walking away with a well-deserved 52-30 victory.
Orbann led the troops for WNE with 21 points and 10 rebounds, both team highs, to pick up a double-double. Farrell's 4 assists and Lauren Chadwick's (Gardiner, Maine) 3 steals also topped the team, while Gilhool registered an impressive senior day, putting up 11 points and five total rebounds, four of them coming on the offensive side of the ball, which helped the Golden Bears out-rebound the Colonels 55-28 on the day. The captain, Irwin, led Curry in points (19), steals (6) and assists, registering the one and only helper for the team. Perine headed the Colonels with five rebounds while Plunkett and Kilduff each recorded a block. The Colonels finished the day without making a three-point shot.
Curry will play next on Tuesday, February 5 at 5:30 p.m. at home against Gordon College as they continue their CCC schedule in a rematch of a December 1 match up which saw Curry top the Fighting Scots 53-37. Western New England will also continue league play as they travel to face Salve Regina, also on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., as they attempt to avenge a 51-50 loss to the Seahawks from January 10.