LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Early runs in each half helped propel Occidental University to a 54-41 win over MIT in a non-conference women's basketball game on Saturday afternoon. The Tigers, champions of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference the past four years, improved to 2-1 on the year while the Engineers' ledger lowered to 3-2 this season.
Sophomore Rachel Hunt (Arlington Heights, Ill.) paced MIT's balanced attack with 10 points in addition to four rebounds, two steals, and one block. Freshman Mari Kordell (Ijamsville, Md.) posted seven points and three rebounds while classmate Alexxis Isaac (San Antonio, Texas) tallied six points, six rebounds, and two assists. Junior Lauren Sascha Burton (Seattle, Wash.) notched six points and four boards as fellow junior Rebecca Odim (Brooklyn, N.Y.) added five caroms.
Occidental opened the game with six straight points, but baskets by Kordell and Isaac kept MIT close. Burton's jumper drew the Engineers within three (10-7) at the 15:22 mark; however, the Tigers responded with a 14-2 run during the next five minutes to break the game open. Trailing by 17 points with 1:45 left, two Kordell free throws and a Burton basket narrowed the Engineers' gap to 31-18 at the break.
Both squads posted four points to start the second half, but Occidental mounted a 16-6 run establishing its largest lead of the day (51-28) at the 11:04 mark. After almost two minutes of scoreless play, sophomore Tamara Pena (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) buried a three pointer that sparked a 13-3 game-ending run for the Cardinal and Gray.
In its return to Cambridge, MIT will kick off NEWMAC play with a home game against Wellesley College on Wednesday, Nov. 30.