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Smith College hoop bounces back from loss, rolls past WPI

  • Bethany Claps of Smith College, center, shoots between Worcester Polytechnic defenders Amaia Gritsko, left, and Yasmeen Luna Wednesday at Smith.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Bethany Claps of Smith College, center, shoots between Worcester Polytechnic defenders Amaia Gritsko, left, and Yasmeen Luna Wednesday at Smith.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Amanda Zakoske of Smith College shoots during a game against Worcester Polytechnic Wednesday at Smith.JERREY ROBERTS

    Amanda Zakoske of Smith College shoots during a game against Worcester Polytechnic Wednesday at Smith.JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Sydney Parkmond of Smith College, left, passes against Worcester Polytechnic defenders Siena Mamayek, top, and Cindy Chelius Wednesday at Smith.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Sydney Parkmond of Smith College, left, passes against Worcester Polytechnic defenders Siena Mamayek, top, and Cindy Chelius Wednesday at Smith.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Lauren Weston of Smith College, formerly of Northampton High School, top, shoots against Dani Davis of Worcester Polytechnic Wednesday at Smith.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Lauren Weston of Smith College, formerly of Northampton High School, top, shoots against Dani Davis of Worcester Polytechnic Wednesday at Smith.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Lauren Weston of Smith College, formerly of Northampton High School, top, passes while defended by Jessica Larsen of Worcester Polytechnic Wednesday at Smith.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Lauren Weston of Smith College, formerly of Northampton High School, top, passes while defended by Jessica Larsen of Worcester Polytechnic Wednesday at Smith.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Sydney Parkmond of Smith College, center, looks to the basket after grabbing a rebound against Worcester Polytechnic Wednesday at Smith College.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Sydney Parkmond of Smith College, center, looks to the basket after grabbing a rebound against Worcester Polytechnic Wednesday at Smith College.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Marissa Munoz-Ruiz of Smith College, right, moves the ball against Rachel Pineda of Worcester Polytechnic Wednesday at Smith.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Marissa Munoz-Ruiz of Smith College, right, moves the ball against Rachel Pineda of Worcester Polytechnic Wednesday at Smith.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Lauren Weston of Smith College, formerly of Northampton High School, right, defends Cindy Chelius of Worcester Polytechnic Wednesday at Smith.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Lauren Weston of Smith College, formerly of Northampton High School, right, defends Cindy Chelius of Worcester Polytechnic Wednesday at Smith.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Marissa Munoz-Ruiz of Smith College, center, drives against Cindy Chelius of Worcester Polytechnic, left, Wednesday at Smith. Lisa Mendez is in the background.JERREY ROBERTS

    Marissa Munoz-Ruiz of Smith College, center, drives against Cindy Chelius of Worcester Polytechnic, left, Wednesday at Smith. Lisa Mendez is in the background.JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Amanda Zakoske of Smith College, right, shoots against Isabel Pagliaccio of Worcester Polytechnic Wednesday at Smith.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Amanda Zakoske of Smith College, right, shoots against Isabel Pagliaccio of Worcester Polytechnic Wednesday at Smith.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Marissa Munoz-Ruiz of Smith College, right, shoots against Amaia Gritsko of Worcester Polytechnic Wednesday at Smith.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Marissa Munoz-Ruiz of Smith College, right, shoots against Amaia Gritsko of Worcester Polytechnic Wednesday at Smith.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Lauren Weston of Smith College, formerly of Northampton High School, right, reaches for a loose ball against Dani Davis of Worcester Polytechnic Wednesday at Smith.JERREY ROBERTS

    Lauren Weston of Smith College, formerly of Northampton High School, right, reaches for a loose ball against Dani Davis of Worcester Polytechnic Wednesday at Smith.JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Bethany Claps of Smith College, center, shoots between Worcester Polytechnic defenders Amaia Gritsko, left, and Yasmeen Luna Wednesday at Smith.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Amanda Zakoske of Smith College shoots during a game against Worcester Polytechnic Wednesday at Smith.JERREY ROBERTS
  • Sydney Parkmond of Smith College, left, passes against Worcester Polytechnic defenders Siena Mamayek, top, and Cindy Chelius Wednesday at Smith.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Lauren Weston of Smith College, formerly of Northampton High School, top, shoots against Dani Davis of Worcester Polytechnic Wednesday at Smith.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Lauren Weston of Smith College, formerly of Northampton High School, top, passes while defended by Jessica Larsen of Worcester Polytechnic Wednesday at Smith.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Sydney Parkmond of Smith College, center, looks to the basket after grabbing a rebound against Worcester Polytechnic Wednesday at Smith College.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Marissa Munoz-Ruiz of Smith College, right, moves the ball against Rachel Pineda of Worcester Polytechnic Wednesday at Smith.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Lauren Weston of Smith College, formerly of Northampton High School, right, defends Cindy Chelius of Worcester Polytechnic Wednesday at Smith.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Marissa Munoz-Ruiz of Smith College, center, drives against Cindy Chelius of Worcester Polytechnic, left, Wednesday at Smith. Lisa Mendez is in the background.JERREY ROBERTS
  • Amanda Zakoske of Smith College, right, shoots against Isabel Pagliaccio of Worcester Polytechnic Wednesday at Smith.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Marissa Munoz-Ruiz of Smith College, right, shoots against Amaia Gritsko of Worcester Polytechnic Wednesday at Smith.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Lauren Weston of Smith College, formerly of Northampton High School, right, reaches for a loose ball against Dani Davis of Worcester Polytechnic Wednesday at Smith.JERREY ROBERTS

NORTHAMPTON — After having its program record 10-game win streak snapped on the road against No. 22 Babson on Saturday, the Smith College basketball team returned home to Ainsworth Gymnasium anxious for an opportunity to recalibrate its path toward the postseason.

Rested and focused, the Pioneers did so in dominating fasion on Wednesday night, as they cruised to a 63-39 blowout win against conference rival WPI.

Smith coach Lynn Hersey, whose team went 23-6 last year en route to capturing the school’s first ever ECAC title, said her team needed to make a statement against the visiting Engineers (9-6, 5-4 NEWMAC).

“We wanted to come out strong tonight having lost to Babson, start a new streak and have some different goals we’re looking to achieve as part of this season,” she said.

In a contest that was never in doubt against an overmatched Engineers, Hersey said the experience team holds value for her club.

“WPI is always a tough team to play,” she said. “We know coming into this game every year to be prepared to do the little things really well. They’re one of the league leaders in (3-point) attempts and made baskets. I thought we did a great job of being able to check from the arc and contain their shooters.”

The Pioneers (13-2, 8-1 NEWMAC) held WPI to just 1 of 10 from beyond the arc as part of a defensive performance in which Smith continually harassed opposing ball handlers, limiting the Engineers to 30 percent shooting from the field.

“I’m really proud of our kids tonight,” Hersey said. “I thought they did a great job playing some strong half-court defense (that) really led to us being able to make some nice transition runs.”

Those offensive runs were orchestrated by the Pioneers’ Rosa Drummond (17 points, nine rebounds) and Paulina Solis (15 points, seven rebounds), who will be counted on heavily as the team nears postseason play.

Behind a stifling defense and a hot start from Sydney Parkmond, who finished with 12 points and five rebounds, Smith raced out to a 10-0 lead before fans had finished settling into the wooden gymnasium bleachers. The lead only grew as the Pioneers took a 34-14 edge lead into halftime.

Hersey did not walk away completely satisfied with her team’s performance, particularly after a stretch of lackadaisical rebounding efforts from reserve players resulted in a heated, late-game timeout on the Smith bench with the game well in hand.

“You play for 40 minutes and it doesn’t matter who’s in the game for the last five minutes,” she said. “The goal of the team is to make sure we’re finishing plays.”

Hersey added, “It’s not good enough just to compete on game day. In practices we have to be bringing our best effort, (players) 1-12, for us to be a place where we can peak at the right time.”

Hersey described the current stretch of conference games leading up to the postseason as a gut check for her players.

“It’s a different role for us this year, we’re no longer the underdog,” she said. “Every night is a test. I think that only makes us, as a team, a more mature club that can handle different strategies and be able to use our experience to our benefit.”

Lauren Weston of Florence recorded seven rebounds and two blocks in the win for Smith.

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