Holding as much as a 13-point lead in the first half and still maintaining a 12-point bulge with 14:45 to play, the Cardinals seemed ready to cruise to their second NESCAC win of the season, playing at Conn. College Sat., Jan. 26. But it took a driving layup by Amber Wessells '14 (#22, photo), bolting up the right side and banking home the winning bucket with :01.8 left to play, to give the visiting Cardinals a 47-46 victory.
Next for the team was a non-conference Little Three matchup at undefeated Amherst, ranked third nationally, Tues., Jan. 29. When the teams met for the first time this season, Amherst escaped with a 41-37 win. This time, in another low-scoring affair, Amherst prevailed, 46-30.
With Wesleyan ahead, 32-20, at Conn, the Camels chipped away at the deficit and eventually took their first lead since the opening four minutes of the game with a 36-35 lead at the 6:20 mark of the second half. The go-ahead basket capped the 16-3 run. The Camels held their largest lead of the game at four points, 45-41, with 1:14 left. A good jumper by Kendra Harris '13, who led the Cardinals with 12 points, followed by a Dreisen Heath '15 layup with :14 left tied the score at 45-45. In between, Conn missed a three-pointer, got the rebound, but turned the ball over to Wesleyan. Conn then drew a foul with :08 to go and made just one of two at the line for a 46-45 lead. Enter Wessells, who received the inbounds pass and drove for the winning basket to give her 11 points on the day.
Heath led Wesleyan on the board with eight and also scored eight points while Harris added six caroms. The win improved Wesleyan's all-time mark vs. Conn to 31-24 but the Cardinals have defeated the Camels 15 times in the last 16 meetings since 1998.
At Amherst, the Lord Jeffs limited the Cardinals to 5-for-24 shooting in the first half and pushed out to a comfortable 32-12 halftime lead. Wesleyan was extremely effective defensively in the second half as Amherst managed just two field goals on 18 attempts (11.1 percent), made only one of 10 three-point tries and scored only 14 points, but the Cardinals were held in check offensively as well, making only six field goals. Though the Cardinals outscored the Lord Jeffs, 18-14, during the second period, Amherst came away with the victory, its 20th of the season and 77th straight at home.
Heath led Wesleyan with 10 points while Harris had six points. Wessells hustled her way to a team-leading six rebounds and a pair of steals. Heath had three thefts.
Wesleyan finishes the season with three key NESCAC games, the first at Hamilton Su., Feb. 3.