CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – In the inaugural meeting between both programs, the MIT women's basketball team emerged with a 50-33 victory over Wheelock College on Monday night. Lauren Sascha Burton led the Engineers (5-5) with a game-high 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including a 3-of-3 performance from behind the arc, while adding seven rebounds, four steals, and a block. Keneisha Milton powered the Wildcats (2-6) with 12 rebounds, 11 points, four steals, two assists, and one block.
MIT jumped out to a 12-0 advantage after four minutes elapsed and never looked back. A steal by Milton led to a three-point play from Maya Spratling, putting the Wildcats on the board at the 15:25 mark. The hosts maintained their comfortable margin, eventually entering the intermission with a 29-12 lead.
Following a defensive battle during the first four minutes of the second stanza, MIT found its rhythm and extended its margin to 22 on a pair of occasions, the last at 38-16 with 11:36 on the clock. Sarah McCaffrey's basket on Wheelock's ensuing possession ignited a 17-5 run that cut its deficit to 10 (43-33) with 5:10 left to play. Milton's three-point play capped the scoring spree, but it also proved to be the final points for the Wildcats. The Cardinal and Gray responded with seven unanswered points during the last three minutes of regulation to secure the victory.
Just 10 games into her rookie campaign, Rachel Hunt earned a spot on MIT's list for blocks in a season as her four rejections raised her total to 25 and put her in a tie for ninth place. She also added seven points, three rebounds, and three steals to the Engineers' cause. Tamara Pena posted eight points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals while Anna Merrifield led the way with eight boards and three assists. Coming off the bench, Margo Batie contributed nine points, four steals, and three caroms.
Joy Holliday chipped in eight points as Spratling finished with seven for Wheelock. Kayla Drescher grabbed six rebounds, including four off the offensive glass, to go along with four steals. Kailah Simon bolstered the rebounding corps with four boards.
As a team, the Engineers registered advantages in points in the paint (24-4), points off turnovers (21-13), bench scoring (17-7), and fast-break points (6-2). Tech also equaled its season-high mark of 18 steals.
MIT returns to New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play on Wednesday, Jan. 5 when it hosts Clark University. Wheelock also takes the court on the same day in a home game versus Pine Manor College.