WESTFIELD, Mass. – Westfield State junior Melissa Gray (Peabody, Mass.) narrowly missed a triple-double with a 25-point, 11-steal, 9-rebound performance, but it wasn't enough as the Owls fell to Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 89-82 in a non-conference women's basketball game at the Woodward Center on Saturday.
WPI put six players in double-figure scoring, led by 19 points and seven rebounds from Maddie Blake (Bedford, N.H.).
The two teams battled through a crisply player first-half, going the half tied at 38-all.
WPI (8-4) edged away from the Owls in the third quarter, going up by as many as 10 points on two occasions, the last at 63-53 on a Lisa Cristiano (Valhalla, N.Y.) layup with 3:15 left.
Westfield (3-9) trailed 71-63 heading into the fourth quarter. WPI threatened to put the game away with a prolonged 13-4 run midway through the fourth quarter, as the Engineers appeared to solve the Owls pressing defense, leading 86-70 on a Spencer Vinson layup with 3:15 left.
The Owls had one last run in them, as a Jenn Rennich (Bedford, Mass.) three-pointer with 49 seconds left trimmed the lead back to nine, 88-79 and the Engineers held on late to secure the win.
Cristiano added 17 points for WPI, and Alex Scariati (Scotch Plains, N.J.) added 11 points, seven assists and four steals.
Chelsea Moussette (Southampton, Mass.) finished with 14 points and eight assists for the Owls. Isabella Aitken (Pittsfield, Mass.) added 15 points. Gray is creeping closer to the 100- point mark for her career, totaling 951 after today's game.
Westfield shot 17-44 (38.6 percent) from three-point range for the game. WPI finished 39-71 (54.9 percent) from the floor and 6-18 from long range. Westfield forced 29 turnovers from WPI, but the Owls committed 24 turnovers of their own.
Westfield will be idle this week before squaring off with Framingham State in the first Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference game of the season next Saturday at noon at the Woodward Center.