All-Tourney Pick Melanie Ferdinand '12 Hits Career-High 16 Points in 58-47 Win vs. Colby-Sawyer

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Melanie Ferdinand '12 (#32, photo) hit a three-pointer with 10:20 left in the first half, breaking a 10-10 tie and giving Wesleyan the lead for good vs. Colby-Sawyer in the consolation game of the Naismith Classic at Springfield Sun., Jan. 3. Ferdinand went on to net a career-high 16 points to lead the Cardinals to a 58-47 win.

After Ferdinand spotted Wesleyan the lead against Colby-Sawyer, it sparked a 24-9 Cardinal run to halftime as Wesleyan led by a comfortable 34-19 margin at intermission. Over the opening 18 minutes of the second half, the lead vacillated in a narrow range between 14 and 19 points as the greatest difference came with 10:53 to go, 50-31. Colby-Sawyer lessened the gap to its smallest value since the 6:20 mark of the first half when the Chargers hit the final three-pointer with :17 left. The Cardinals got a pair of three-pointers each from Ferdinand and McKinley Tennant '11 to give Wesleyan an outside scoring threat it was missing in the opening round against eventual Naismith Classic winner Western Connecticut, which defeated host Springfield, 59-37, in the championship game.

Eileen Gaffney '12 chipped in with 10 points and seven rebounds vs. Colby-Sawyer while Sam LaCroce '12 (#20) had a game-high 11 boards to go along with eight points to support the Cardinal cause. Ferdinand, who was 7-for-10 from the field and 2-for-2 from behind the arc, also had four rebounds, three assists and four steals in a solid all-around performance.

Wesleyan's next game was its opening Little Three game of the season against undefeated and second-ranked nationally Amherst Wed., Jan. 6. The Lord Jeffs came into the game outscoring their opponents by an average of 34 points a contest this season.

After Amherst broke an early 4-4 with a 20-4 run, giving the Lord Jeffs a 24-8 lead, it was an uphill battle for the Cardinals. Amherst pulled out to a 39-21 halftime lead only to see a 9-3 Wesleyan burst, capped by LaCroce's three-point play, make it a 42-30 game. Amherst quelled the Cardinals' comeback thoughts with a 19-8 run of its own for a 61-38 lead with 9:17 to play. Only once (64-45) did the Cards reduce the difference to less than 20 the rest of the way as Amherst went on for the 80-53 triumph.

Gaffney posted her fifth double-double of the season with a career-high 22 points to complement 10 rebounds and five blocked shots. LaCroce had 11 points and nine caroms.

Up next for the squad is a visit from St. Joseph's (Me.) Sun., Jan. 10.