WORCESTER, Mass. – Strong defense and a tremendous performance by center Ashley Thompson propelled the Johnson & Wales University women's basketball team to victory on day one of the WPI Thanksgiving Classic. The Wildcats defeated Springfield, 57-47, on Saturday
Johnson & Wales: 2-1
It was a career day for Thompson (Bellingham, Mass.) as she scored more than half of JWU's points. The junior led all players with a career-high 30-point, 12-rebound double-double. Thompson made 12 field goals while the entire Springfield team only made 17.
Johnson & Wales held the Pride to 30.9 percent shooting (17-of-55), including 13.3 percent (2-of-15) from behind the arc. The Wildcats shot 34.4 percent, but converted their 16 offensive rebounds into 15 second-chance points. JWU's defense forced 21 Springfield turnovers and turned those into 19 points.
The Pride built an 11-9 advantage at the 2:02 mark of the first quarter, but JWU responded with a 9-0 run to build a lead it would not relinquish the rest of the game. The lead grew to as many as nine on a Kimberly Viafara (Woodside, NY) layup. Springfield would cut the margin to two several times, but could not pull even.
Joining Thompson in double figures was junior guard Raquel Pederzani (Coventry, RI) as she scored 12 points and added five assists. Sophomore Ally Mishol (Longmeadow, Mass.) contributed nine points and six rebounds.
Johnson & Wales takes on the host WPI on Sunday at 4 p.m. in the championship game.