NEW LONDON, Conn. – Sophomore Tamara Pena's (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) put-back with eight seconds left in regulation forced overtime while a layup by junior Anna Merrifield (Honolulu, Hawaii) off the opening tip followed by freshman Mari Kordell's (Ijamsville, Md.) three-pointer secured a lead MIT would not relinquish as it defeated the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 73-67, in a NEWMAC women's basketball battle on Tuesday night. All five Engineers' starters recorded double-digits in scoring, led by Pena's 18 points to go along with four rebounds and two assists.
The Bears maintained a slight lead during the early stages of the game, but a Pena three-pointer sparked a 17-4 run that put MIT ahead, 26-17, with 5:39 left. Coast Guard battled back, narrowing the gap to 31-27 at the intermission.
The hosts carried the momentum into the second stanza as four Brittney Zimmerman free throws tied the contest after 1:13 elapsed. A three-point play from freshman Alexxis Isaac (San Antonio, Texas) quickly broke the deadlock and helped the Engineers generate an 8-3 spurt to go in front, 39-34, at the 16:35 mark. Coast Guard converted four of its next five free throw attempts, but another Isaac three-point play ignited a 19-9 run that was capped by sophomore Rachel Hunt's (Arlington Heights, Ill.) three-point play which resulted in a 58-47 advantage with 5:53 to go.
The Bears replied with 12 unanswered points, capturing the lead on two Zimmerman free throws with 1:04 remaining in regulation. Isaac's go-ahead bid was off the mark and Coast Guard picked up the ensuing rebound with 33 seconds on the clock. A foul sent Zimmerman to the line where she missed the first attempt, but drained her second shot to increase the margin to 60-58. Following an MIT timeout, Kordell's attempt didn't fall but Pena quickly gathered the rebound and drained the tying basket.
After MIT's quick start in the extra session, an Alexi Howland three-point play and a free throw from Victoria Gurtler brought the Bears within one (65-64) at 2:48. Junior Rebecca Odim (Brooklyn, N.Y.) hauled in the rebound off the missed second attempt which eventually led to a basket by junior Lauren Sascha Burton (Seattle, Wash.). Following turnovers by both teams, Odim grabbed another defensive board that set up Kordell's jumper with 47 seconds left to play.
Exactly 10 seconds later, Burton was fouled following a steal and drained both shots from the charity stripe to increase the lead to 71-64. Odim and Merrifield came up with key defensive rebounds to extend Coast Guard's scoring drought while Merrifield tacked on a free throw with 10 seconds remaining. The Bears continued to attack as Zimmerman buried a trey and then called a timeout with the score at 72-67 with two ticks left. On the in-bounds, Burton was fouled, sending her to the line where she registered the final point of the game.
Isaac finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, including six off the offensive glass while Hunt tallied 12 points, six boards, three blocks, three steals, and three assists. Burton posted 10 points, seven rebounds, and three steals as Kordell totaled 10 points, seven boards, and three assists. Merrifield chipped in five points and five rebounds while sophomore Sharon Hao (San Jose, Calif.) added four boards and two assists.
Early foul trouble for MIT in the second half put Coast Guard in the bonus after five minutes expired, and as a result, the Bears scored 18 of its 33 second-half points from the free-throw line. The Bears finished 21-of-34 at the charity stripe while the Engineers were 17-of-27 on the night. The Cardinal and Gray, meanwhile, had the upper-hand in rebounds (50-37), points in the paint (32-16), points off turnovers (27-23), and second-chance points (18-7).
Next up for MIT (5-3, 2-1 NEWMAC) will be conference foe Mount Holyoke College on Saturday, Dec. 10.