February 8, 2012

Strong Defensive Performance Not Enough in MIT's Loss to No. 18 Babson

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Despite holding nationally-ranked No. 18 Babson College to its lowest scoring performance this season in league play, the Beavers emerged with a 59-34 victory over MIT in a NEWMAC women's basketball game on Wednesday night. Senior Nicki Wurdeman (Rowley, Mass.) led all scorers with 21 points to go along with five rebounds for the Beavers who entered the contest averaging 74 points per game this year. Freshman Mari Kordell (Ijamsville, Md.) totaled 11 points, four rebounds, and three steals for the Engineers.

The early stages of the game were closely played as a basket by Kordell brought MIT within two (10-8) and resulted in a timeout by Babson at the 13:19 mark. The Beavers responded with Wurdeman scoring nine straight points during the next six minutes to gain some breathing room. Two free throws by sophomore Sharon Hao (San Jose, Calif.) and a layup by freshman Alexxis Isaac (San Antonio, Texas) trimmed the Engineers' deficit to 19-12 with 5:38 left in the half. Senior Kathleen King's (Framingham, Mass.) three-point play on Babson's next possession sparked an 11-6 spurt which resulted in a 30-18 lead at the intermission.

The first six minutes of the second stanza were a defensive battle as both teams combined for seven points, but the visitors remained in front as their advantage grew to 35-20 with 14:03 on the clock. A minute later, freshman Erin Young (Westwood, Mass.) hit the first of back-to-back three pointers while a Wurdeman free throw resulted in a 42-20 cushion for Babson. The Engineers replied with a layup by freshman Kirstyn Hein (Pinckney, Mich.) and a three-point play courtesy of sophomore Tamara Pena (Aliso Viejo, Calif.), but they would not get any closer as the Beavers generated a 17-9 run during the final 11 minutes of the game.

Junior Lauren Sascha Burton (Seattle, Wash.) tallied nine rebounds, five assists, and one block while freshman Michelle Battipaglia (Katonah, N.Y.) posted four rebounds and two steals for the Cardinal and Gray. Isaac finished with six points, three rebounds, two blocks, and two steals as junior Anna Merrifield (Honolulu, Hawaii) chipped in six points, three boards, and a steal. Pena bolstered MIT's attack with five points and added a steal.

King registered a double-double on 12 rebounds and 11 points as junior Sarah Collins (Weymouth, Mass.) amassed 11 boards, eight points, three blocks, and two assists. Young notched seven points while sophomore Liz Trainor (Beverly, Mass.) had five points and four rebounds, all coming off the offensive glass. Senior Kelly McKenna (Shrewsbury, Mass.) rounded out the defense with eight caroms.

Both squads continue conference play on Saturday, Feb. 11. MIT (9-12, 5-10 NEWMAC) will travel to Springfield College while Babson (19-2, 5-0 NEWMAC) will host Smith College.