PROVIDENCE, RI – The second season opened on Saturday for the Johnson & Wales University women's basketball team as they started GNAC play. The Wildcats picked up a victory in their conference opener by defeating Lasell University, 64-57.
Lasell: 6-5, 0-1 GNAC
Johnson & Wales: 9-6, 1-0 GNAC
Lasell had the advantage after the first quarter, but the Wildcats swung the lead in their favor, 36-32, at the half. Johnson & Wales hit a trio of three-pointers in the closing minutes, including a three-ball from Britney Gallagher just before the second quarter buzzer.
Johnson & Wales started the half on a 6-0 run that built a 42-32 advantage on a Maddy Morro basket. The Lasers responded with an 11-0 run of their own and D'Asia Allen's three-pointer put the visitors ahead, 33-32, at the 3:05 mark.
The lead went back and forth the rest of the game – there were 18 total lead changes – until Moro nailed back-to-back jumpers to stake the Wildcats to a 59-55 margin with 1:50 remaining. JWU sealed the victory by going 5-of-6 from the free throw line in the final minute.
Moro produced her second-straight double-double with games-highs of 22 points and 15 rebounds. Tiondra Hands had a good all-around game with 19 points, six rebounds and four assists. Gallagher added 17 points as the trio accounted for 91 percent of JWU's offense.
Just missing a double-double was the Lasers' Amanda Ortiz with 21 points and nine rebounds as well as five steals. Precious Montgomery added 14 points and Allen came off the bench to contribute a baker's dozen.
The three-point shot helped carry the Wildcats as they went 8-of-22 from behind the arc. JWU also had 41-33 advantage on the glass.
The Wildcats are back at home on Wednesday to face Regis at 7 p.m.