MILTON, Mass. - The Curry College women's basketball team won their third straight game as they downed the Wentworth Institute of Technology by a score of 63-51 in the Katz Gymnasium Wednesday night in a Mental Health Awareness game, sponsored by Hope Happens Here. The Colonels improve to 9-7 overall with a 6-2 mark in Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) play. The loss drops the Leopards to 3-14 on the year with a 1-7 CCC record. Senior captain Emily Irwin (Billerica, Mass.) led the way by registering her 20th career double-double, while center Peyton Perine (Fairfax, Va.) notched 20+ points for the eighth time of her rookie campaign.
Curry struggled shooting the ball early in the contest, missing their first eight field goal attempts. However, Wentworth had accuracy troubles of their own, going just 1-6 from the floor to build just a two point lead over the first five minutes of action. The hosts broke out of their slump thanks to a pair of jumpers by Irwin and Perine, coupled with four converted free throws by Perine and junior guard Sam Bamford (Easton, Mass.) which gave Curry their first lead of the day at 6-5. Their lead would get cut back down to one at 8-7 off of a layup by Stephanie Mini (Topsfield, Mass.), but the scoring would once again come to a halt, as the opponents would miss their next nine shots, six of them from the field. The drought also included four fouls and a pair of turnovers, before freshman Amanda Leal (Tyngsboro, Mass.) split a pair of free throws and Irwin banked home a layup to put Curry up 11-7. However, Wentworth's side of the scoreboard stayed quiet, as they would add three more missed shots and two turnovers to a scoreless streak which lasted nearly three minutes. The visitors would tie the game briefly thanks to a pair of free throws and a layup, but Curry took a lead into the break thanks to a three-pointer from senior Molly Plunkett (Quincy, Mass.) with seven seconds remaining in the quarter.
Despite playing nearly the entire second frame from behind, the Leopards kept the game close, trading baskets with the hosts and letting the lead grow to no larger than five. The Colonels remained vigilant in keeping their edge, but a turnover by Perine with 2:19 remaining in the half led to a layup by senior Michelle McCloskey (Madison, Conn.) which cut the lead to one at 24-23. The Colonels were able to stretch the lead back to five with 47 seconds left to play, but a pair of threes from the Leopards saw the period close with a Wentworth advantage, with the score sitting at 29-28.
Out of the break, the hosts quickly jumped back on top thanks to a Perine layup, but were answered just as promptly by a basket from guard Emily Magasic (West Milford, N.J.). The Colonels retook the lead thanks to a drive from Irwin and jumped on an 11-2 run to go up 41-33, highlighted by an old-fashioned three point play from the freshman Perine. Wentworth looked to claw back, but a steal by Irwin led to a fast break layup to reestablish the eight point margin at 45-37 and continued to make the visitors pay for turnovers, as Curry posted 20 points off of turnover through three quarters of play. After a McCloskey jumper, Plunkett would put in the next five points on a triple and a jumper, before a pair of free throw shots from Mini would send the game into the fourth with the Colonels leading 50-41, thanks to a 22 point third quarter.
The Leopards looked to swing the momentum and force stops on the defensive end, but energy was on the Colonels' side, as the hosts kept Wentworth at bay, increasing their lead to 15 just after the halfway point of the frame and keeping the lead to 10+ through the entirety of the final period. The Leopards opted not to foul in the waning minutes due to the deficit and a pair of missed shots followed by a turnover by the visitors closed the book on the contest with the Colonels on top, 63-51.
Curry boasted three double-digit scorers on the day with Plunkett posting a season high 14 points, Irwin recording 20, and Perine registering a game high 21 points, as well as 11 rebounds, which was also a high for both sides. Mini registered 15 points for the Leopards, to go along with seven boards, one of three players to do so for Wentworth, matching the rebounding totals of Erin Morton (Norway, Maine) and Sam McGibbon (Pembroke, Mass.). Morton recorded a game high six assists while recording the Leopards only three steals of the contest. Irwin topped Curry with five helpers, while also putting up nine steals to come up just short of her first collegiate triple-double. Her big defensive game also puts her in third in all of the NCAA Division III in steals, while putting her atop the list in steals per game, while extending her CCC lead to 40, as her 75 keep her quite a way from her teammate Bamford, who ranks second with 35.
Curry will play next on Saturday, January 19th at 1:00 p.m. at Nichols College as they continue their CCC schedule. Wentworth will also continue league play as they host Salve Regina, also on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. The Colonels will travel to Wentworth to again face the Leopards early next month in Boston, Mass. on Saturday, February 9th at 1:00 p.m. on Wentworth's Senior Night.