CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – MIT raced out to an 18-3 lead and never looked back as it defeated Wentworth Institute of Technology, 73-40, in the season opener for both women's basketball teams on Tuesday night. Freshman Mari Kordell (Ijamsville, Md.) led the way with a game-high 18 points to go along with five rebounds and three steals as the Engineers picked up their first win over the Leopards since the 2002-03 campaign. Junior Ashley Conway (Danvers, Mass.) paced Wentworth's balanced attack with eight points and added four rebounds.
Baskets by MIT sophomore Rachel Hunt (Arlington Heights, Ill.) and Kordell in the first 41 seconds were followed by a three-pointer from Conway on Wentworth's next trip down the court. Sophomore Tamara Pena (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) replied with a three of her own and ignited a string of 14 unanswered points. The Leopards ended their scoring drought courtesy of a layup by Kendra Kerr (Marshfield, Mass.) to make the score 18-5 at the 10:42 mark, but they struggled to generate any momentum afterwards as the Engineers entered halftime with a 36-18 advantage.
The Cardinal and Gray mounted a 16-6 run during the first seven minutes of the second stanza while Kerr's three-pointer ended a three-minute scoreless stretch for her squad. MIT countered with a 16-7 spurt that resulted in its largest margin of the night at 68-34 with 4:36 left to play. Sophomore Paige Newcomb (Topsfield, Mass.) gave Wentworth a boost as she scored all six of its points down the stretch.
Freshman Alexxis Isaac (San Antonio, Texas) totaled 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the floor for the Engineers while Hunt tallied nine points, eight rebounds, three assists, and two blocks. Junior Lauren Sascha Burton (Seattle, Wash.) notched nine points, five assists, and three steals as classmate Rebecca Odim (Brooklyn, N.Y.) contributed six points and four boards coming off the bench. Pena chipped in four assists and three steals while junior Anna Merrifield (Honolulu, Hawaii) collected eight caroms, including five off the offensive glass. Sophomore Margo Batie (Los Angeles, Calif.) bolstered the rebounding corps with five boards.
Kerr finished with seven points, four rebounds, and four assists while Biggar and Stowe both had seven rebounds and six points. Newcomb registered six points and five boards as sophomore Christine Henry (Tewksbury, Mass.) rounded out the Leopards with five points.
MIT led the way in points in the paint (28-18), points off turnovers (24-8), second-chance scoring (22-7), and bench scoring (22-11). In addition, the hosts recorded the program's second largest margin of victory in a season-opening game with their best performance, a 72-35 triumph over Eastern Nazarene College, occurring on November 17, 2006.
Next up for MIT will be the Emerson College Tip Off Tournament to be held November 19-20. Wentworth, meanwhile, will host the same Emerson Lions on Thursday, Nov. 17.