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Springfield upends Smith College basketball for 2nd time

For the Gazette
Published: 2/5/2020 10:11:23 PM

NORTHAMPTON — The Smith College women’s basketball fell to Springfield for the second time this season, losing 72-53 at Ainsworth Gymnasium on Wednesday. It was the Pioneers’ first home loss and their second defeat in a row. The Pride held the Pioneers below 60 points for the second time.

“I think we need to get back to the fundamentals and playing our style of basketball. We need to be more consistent with the details on both ends of the floor,” Smith coach Lynn Hersey said. “Back to back losses is something we have not yet dealt with this year. Hopefully we approach this with really good work ethic and positivity and stay united. All we can do is get back to work.”

Jesse Ruffner (12 points) and Amelia Clairmont (11 points) each reached double digits for Smith (17-4, 3-3 NEWMAC) off the bench. Dashelle Gleissner (two points) had a season-high seven steals and a game-high six assists for the Pioneers.

Hampshire Regional graduate Katelyn Pickunka had a quiet game against the Pride, only scoring six points. She is tied for second in the conference in scoring at 15 points per game. Pickunka only played 24 minutes after leaving the game following a hard fall in the fourth quarter.

Springfield (15-5, 7-0) used a 5-0 run to take a 9-4 lead 3 minutes, 36 seconds into the game and never relinquished it. The Pride outscored the Pioneers by seven in the first quarter and eight in the second to lead 39-24 at halftime. They led by as many as 23 after Taylor Hall made a fast break layup with 2:27 left in the third quarter to push Springfield’s advantage to 53-30. Smith then embarked on an 10-0 run that cut the deficit to 13 on a Clairmont jumper to start the fourth, but it never got any closer. Springfield used its own 8-0 run to put the game away over the next four minutes.

Momentum swings like that are common with a young team like the Pioneers. Smith has eight freshman, three sophomores, three juniors and no seniors.

“Our job as a staff is to coach them up and try to get them as prepared as we can for the situations they are going to see and every game we are going to have,” Hersey said.

Springfield outrebounded Smith 34-22 and shot 55.6 percent from the floor.

Smith opened the year with a 12-game winning streak but has gone 5-4 since.

The Pioneers next host WPI at 2 p.m. Saturday.

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