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WELLESLEY, MA.--Coming off two strong victories over Dartmouth and Williams last weekend, the Radcliffe basketball squad squeaked by Wellesley 48-42 here last night in a sloppy but exciting road game.
Tough Wellesley defense, combined with sloppy Radcliffe passing, added up to a thriller for the extremely vocal Wellesley fans. The incredible uproar that arose from the peanut gallery with every Wellesley triumph fizzled the 'Cliffe's momentum time and again and helped Wellesley pull close whenever defeat seemed imminent.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair--both sides traded baskets and turnovers in what looked like a conscious attempt to keep the score even. But Radcliffe was scoring only on the long shooting of Sue Williams and Caryn Curry rather than their usual blistering fast break.
Wellesley's "D" shut off the passing lanes for the break and pressured the ball as the 'Cliffe guards brought it upcourt, forcing numerous turnovers. "Our passing killed us," said Coach Carol Kleinfelder. "They set traps and we went right into them," she added.
Another trouble spot arose late in the second half when forward Kathy Fulton drew her fourth foul and the ref caught center Sue Hewitt for the third time. This placed the brunt of the rebounding on Curry's shoulders.
But Curry bore the burden well and Radcliffe retired to the dressing room leading 26-23 at the half.
Radcliffe blitzed to a 41-27 lead to begin the second half, outscoring Wellesley 15-4 and silencing the screaming masses in the gallery. But they were only dormant, not dead. Strong inside work by Lisa Griffin, the game's high scorer with 19 points, and some timely steals by Joanie Ashley added up to 10 straight Wellesley points and an astronomic decibel level.
Held scoreless for about six minutes, the Crimson looked about to crack under the pressure. But Radcliffe came back, proving its mettle with a 9 point game-ending blitz. Ellen Hart provided the points, breaking the scoreless drought by dribbling the length of the court to put home a twisting layup.
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