WELLESLEY, Mass. – The Salisbury University women's basketball team wrapped up its winter tournament in Massachusetts with a 52-50 loss against the Wellesley College Blue on their home court with a buzzer-beating layup on Friday afternoon.
The Gulls (7-4) got started 10 seconds into the contest with a Mary McDonagh three-pointer and held the lead until the home team made it 6-5 just over three minutes into the contest. Wellesley (4-5) got the score to 8-6 with two minutes left in the quarter before Lauren Rothfeld made a bucket and stole the ensuing inbound pass, dishing it to Ashlyn Smith who got Salisbury back on top, 10-8.
With just nine seconds to go in the period, Wellesley hit a three-pointer to put the Blue up 11-10 at quarter's end.
In the second, each side traded blows as each team started to find an offensive rhythm and the game was tied at 16-16 with six minutes to play in the half. The Blue hit a jumper to make it 18-16 before a Morgan Grubb free throw cut the lead to one with 3:38 to go.
Kelsie Bacon got the Gulls back on top as she drove to the hoop and finished a scoop layup with 2:56 in the quarter to make it 19-18. On the next offensive possession, Grubb was able to corral an offensive board and put it home to give Salisbury its biggest lead to that point at 21-18. Smith added to the late Salisbury run with an impressive three-point play to make it 24-18, finishing the initial shot with heavy contact. The three-point play by Smith would end the scoring in the half.
Despite the low scoring second quarter, Salisbury was able to shoot 40 percent from the field.
Wellesley got the score to within four points early in the third quarter before a big Ali Forejt three put the Gulls up 32-25. With 2:20 to go in the quarter, Wellesley had added six more points to Salisbury's four to bring the score to 36-31 in a closely contested quarter. In the last 10 seconds of the period each side had added another basket to make it 38-33 but Wellesley hit a layup with two seconds to go to make it 38-35 heading into the fourth.
Two minutes into the fourth, Wellesley forced a tie at 40-40 before Morgan Maturani hit a contested layup to regain the lead at 42-40. Rothfeld then extended it to 44-40 with a jumper as the shot clock was winding down, but the Blue answered right back to make it 44-42 with 6:14 to play.
Following a McDonagh lay in, the Blue got a three-point play to bring them within one point at 46-45 with just over three minutes to play. On the next possession, Kaylyn French made an athletic play to grab an offensive board before laying it in, then making a big block on the other end to keep Salisbury up 48-45. However, Wellesley immediately regained possession and scored, making it 48-47.
Bacon then made a free throw for the Gulls before missing the second and French came away with another big offensive board. Up 49-47, Josephine Noonan added a free throw to give Salisbury a 50-47 lead with 1:43 to go.
With the Blue getting it back, French continued to shine down the stretch, blocking an open layup to give Salisbury the ball back. Wellesley then got the ball back off a loose ball with 46 seconds left and ended up hitting a jumper with 40 seconds to make it a one-point game.
Wellesley's Kendall You Mak drove to the basket with six seconds to play and got fouled and had her free throws to win it. She hit the first one before missing the second and Emily Kopp put home the rebound at the buzzer to win it, 52-50.
Rothfeld led the team in scoring with 12, while Smith had a career-high eight points to go along with five boards and four assists. French led the team with 10 rebounds, followed closely by Noonan's nine.
The Gulls return to action and Capital Athletic Conference play in the New Year with a showdown against the University of Mary Washington on Thursday, January 5. That game is set to tip at Mary Washington at 6 p.m.