Mass. College Hoops: Smith Tops Emerson, Claims NEWMAC Regular Season Crown

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Smith College sports information department, here’s today’s release about the women’s basketball team, which defeated Emerson College on the road and claimed the NEWMAC regular season crown:

BOSTON, Mass. – Paulina Solis reached the 1,000-point milestone courtesy of a game-high 16 points to lead the Smith College basketball team to the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular season title with an 81-68 victory over Emerson on Saturday afternoon.

The Pioneers earned their first outright regular season crown and snapped Babson’s four-year run. Prior to this season, Smith had claimed a share of the NEW 8 title in 1988-89 along with Brandeis, Wheaton and WPI. The conference office will release the official tournament pairings later today.

Solis became the 11th Smith student-athlete to reach the milestone and fourth in three years. She joins Phoebe Jacob and teammate Rosa Drummond, who also reached the plateau as a junior, as well as Dasen Woitkowski who did it in three years as a Pioneer after transferring from UMass.

Smith standouts also included Sydney Parkmond (15 points, 7 rebounds) and Drummond (15 points). Lions were led by Kelsey Johnson (13 points, 7 rebounds), Kristin Brice (12 points, 6 rebounds) and Elissa Chojnicki (12 points, 7 assists, 3 steals).

The Pioneers finished 15-10 and 15-5 against NEWMAC opponents. In their first season of NEWMAC play, the Lions posted a 9-16 record and went 4-16 in-conference play.

The Lions spread the wealth along the way to a 40-39 halftime lead. Kelsey Johnson, Kristin Brice, and Elissa Chojnicki scored eight points apiece, with bench support from Catherine Cloutier, who scored seven points in the first half. EC faced a tough defense in Smith. Emerson capitalized on every opportunity given, and were perfect from the free-throw line in the opening half. As a team, the Lions shot an astounding 62.5% from the field, and went 4-5 from beyond the arc in the first half.

It was a back-and-forth affair from the jump, with Smith leading by a slight margin until Cloutier drained a 3-pointer to tie it up at 14-all with 13:21 remaining. Janissa Delzo scored a quick four points, converting on two free-throw shots and driving for a layup in the paint to bring EC ahead 28-23 with just under seven minutes remaining in the half.

The second half featured tough defense from both teams. The Lions kept it close until the 7:00 mark, when Smith began to pull ahead as their all their shots seemed to fall, including a late triple by Solis to punctuate the win.

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