Pioneers drive past WSU

WSU NkameboWESTFIELD – Sophomore Jade Chihara (Lahaina, Hawaii/ Lahainaluna) guided the Pioneers past the Owls, 80-67, with 10 points, 12 rebounds and 3 assists on Tuesday evening in the Woodward Center.
Westfield State slips to 4-3 on the season and Smith College improves to 2-6.
Westfield sophomore Jill Valley (Orange, Mass./ Mahar) posted a game-high 22 points and junior forward Forbasaw Nkamebo (Amherst, Mass./ Amherst) registered a double-double, 10 points and 14 rebounds, in the setback.
The Owls controlled the game early, holding a lead for the first 11 minutes of the contest by forcing eight turnovers behind a full court press.
Senior captain Jen Ashton (Beverly, Mass./ Beverly) sunk a field goal off the tipoff followed by a 3-pointer less than two minutes later to set the pace. She finished with 14 points and seven steals on the night.
The Pioneers settled in halfway through the opening frame when Alyssa Barrett (Berlin, Conn./ Berlin) hit the first of her three 3-pointers on the night to spark a 15-4 run over the next five minutes and provide a double- digit advantage they took into the break, 37-26.
Westfield stormed back to start the second half and cut the deficit to four, 36-40, on two Gabby Felix (Springfield, Mass./ Commerce) free throws at the 16:18 mark. A steal and transition layup by Ashton with 15:20 remaining returned the margin to four but that would be as close as the Owls got.
The Pioneers circled the wagons with 10 minutes remaining to produce a two minute, seven- point, run to stake their largest lead, 49-65, and secure the win.
The Pioneers found a balanced offensive attack with five players contributing double-digit point totals and received assists on 15 of their 27 field goals.
Both teams found the foul line on a physical the night, the Owls went 28-35 and the Pioneers shot 21-28.
Westfield State finishes the fall semester schedule at Umass Boston on Thursday, Dec. 11 at 5:30 p.m., Smith heads to semester break before returning to action when they host Bridgewater State Wednesday, Dec. 31.

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