WSU women’s basketball falls in conference semis

Westfield State’s Chelsea Moussette finished a great career with 12 points and nine assists in the Owls 90-75 semi-final loss to Worcester State. (WESTFIELD STATE UNIVERSITY SPORTS PHOTO)

WESTFIELD – Worcester State senior Mya Mosley scored 36 points and classmate Catherine Sweeney added 17 rebounds as the #3-seeded Lancers tipped #2 Westfield State, 90-75 in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference women’s basketball semifinal game at Woodward Center on Thursday night.
With the win, Worcester (19-8) advances to Saturday’s championship game to play #1 Framingham State.
The big outing from Worcester’s seniors counteracted Westfield junior Melissa Gray, who netted 27 points and seven rebounds, and 12 points and nine assists from Owls senior point guard Chelsea Moussette.
Westfield (13-13), the four-time defending conference tournament champs, got out of the gate slowly, trailing by as many as 15 points in the first quarter, and as many as 22 in the first half. Mosley played a huge role in the fast start, scoring the first seven points in the game. The Lancers grabbed their biggest lead of night, 37-15 with 4:32 left in the first half on a Sarah Blomgren free throw.
The resilient Owls were not ready to surrender, as Gray netted three 3-pointers in the final 2:21 of the half to trim the lead to 47-31 at the half.
Westfield, the top three point shooting team in the nation at more than 13 per game, fired its best shot in the third quarter. Trailing 51-33 with 7:32 left in the third, Owls unloaded as Moussette, Jenn Rennich, Gray and Isabella Aitken all connected on three-point shots as part of a 16-7 run that cut the Lancer lead to single digits at 58-49 with 2:23 left in the third quarter, before Mosley stemmed the tide with a driving layup.
The Owls trailed by nine going into the fourth quarter after Moussette banked in a 45-foot bomb at the buzzer to end the period.
Westfield trimmed the lead to eight at 66-58 on a Gray drive with 8:44 left in the game, but a Mosley putback boosted the lead back to double figures. From their the lead hovered around the 10 point mark until Mosley drilled a three-pointer with 2:50 left to play that put Worcester up by 13, 82-69.
Westfield was forced to foul down the stretch, and the Lancers went 6-8 at the line in the closing 1:03, including a 4-4 mark for Mosley.
She finished 13-25 from the floor, 4-7 behind the arc and 6-7 at the foul line. Sweeney added 17 rebounds, nine assists and six points, and Erin Gallella finished with 16 points.
“Mosley is one of the best players in the league,” said Westfield State head coach Andrea Bertini. “And I thought it was a great adjustment when they put her on Chelsea and made her really work with (Mosley’s) wingspan. Their length was a problem. We knew she could score, and we talked about how many shots she’d get. We thought she might take 30, she took 25 – you figure seniors in their last game are going to go after it.”
“We didn’t have our best game today for sure, but I thought Mosley and Sweeney had fantastic games.”
Westfield got 11 from Isabella Aitken.
Worcester State finished 37-76 (48.7 pct) from the floor and grabbed 51 rebounds to the Owls 37. The Lancers also blocked six shots.
The Lancers also limited their turnovers, as they had 21 to the Owls 20. Westfield led the nation in turnovers forced per game (32.5 ) and turnover margin (15.5).
Westfield’s season comes to a close after an up and down year, that saw the Owls weather a 10-game losing streak at midseason, before rallying to 10-2 in conference play to earn the #2 seed, and finished exactly at .500 with a 13-13 overall record.
“This was one of my most enjoyable teams to be around,” said Bertini. “In many ways they over-achieved with eight freshman and sophomores. We knew we were going to have some growing pains this season, and the fact that we went 10-2 in the league was a credit to our four seniors and how hard they work. Chelsea and Mel lead us in so many ways offensively and defensively. I really wanted to play one more game, but you’ve got to credit Worcester, they were unbelievable today and they played great.” – Courtesy of Westfield State University Sports

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