Hump Day: Camels hold off WSU, 89-70

Westfield State’s Melissa Gray (22) goes for the inside basket against Connecticut College Wednesday night in the Whip City. (Photo by Marc St. Onge)

WESTFIELD – Senior guard Sami Ashton (Clinton, Conn./Morgan School) scored 23 points and handed out eight assists to lead Connecticut College to an 89-70 win over Westfield State in a non-conference women’s basketball game at the Woodward Center on Wednesday night.
Conn College, who is coached by Westfield native Jackie Smith, held a narrow lead for much of the game, then pulled away from Westfield State late, with the Camels outscoring the Owls 22-9 in the fourth quarter.
“I had a lot of emotions in this game,” said Smith, who returned home for the first time as a player or coach since her high school playing days. Smith played for Holyoke High on school choice and later became a women’s college basketball star for the University of Hartford before going on to coach alongside UConn alum Jennifer Rizzotti at Hartford and George Washington universities. “It’s always awesome to see my family, my wife and my nephew.”
Westfield State’s frenetic brand of basketball was also an eye-opener for Smith.
“Their unique brand of basketball causes chaos, something I have not seen since maybe when I played against UConn,” she said. “It’s nothing I’ve ever experienced before.”
Conn College used stellar ball movement on the offensive end throughout the game, handing out 28 assists and 33 field goals. The Camels started fast, connecting on 5-8 three pointers in the first quarter and shot nearly 42 percent behind the arc for the game, finishing 13-31 from long range, including 5-8 from downtown for Ashton.
“Some big-time upperclassmen stepped up to show their leadership,” Smith said. “I told them in the locker room, we probably couldn’t have played a better opponent to help propel us forward. …A non-conference win against an opponent that can flat-out score. We needed a tally in the ‘W’ column. It certainly helps our confidence going forward.”

Westfield State’s Chelsea Moussette (3) shoots from the outside during Wednesday’s women’s college basketball game against the Connecticut College Camels. (Photo by Marc St. Onge)

Westfield State was led by a standout performance from junior forward Melissa Gray (Peabody, Mass.) who scored 32 points and grabbed 15 rebounds with three steals. Gray made seven of her first eight three-point attempts in the game, but cooled off late to finish 7-15 from long range.
Westfield State point guard Chelsea Moussette (Southampton, Mass./Hampshire) had her third straight game of 10-plus assists, handing out 11 assists while adding eight points. Westfield’s Siobhan Moriarty (Danvers, Mass.) added nine points and Jordan Halgas (Ware, Mass.) seven.
The Camels got scoring support from Ashley Howe (Saco, Maine/Thornton Acad.), who added 17 points on 5-9 shooting from three-point range, and nine points from Dana Muckstat (Dover, Mass./Dover-Sherborn).
Westfield State is now 6-11 overall, while Conn College improves to 6-10. The loss stops a three game-win streak for the Owls, who will return to action with a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference game vs Salem State at the Woodward Center on Saturday with a noon tip-off. – Story courtesy of Westfield State University Sports. Westfield News sports reporter Chris Putz contributed to this story.

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