Isaac Drains Free Throws With No Time Left to Capture Win Over Springfield

Isaac Drains Free Throws With No Time Left to Capture Win Over Springfield
Freshman Alexxis Isaac

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Freshman Alexxis Isaac (San Antonio, Texas) sank two free throws with no time remaining to complete a dramatic come-from-behind victory for MIT as it defeated Springfield College, 51-50, in a NEWMAC women's basketball game on Saturday afternoon. The Engineers improved to 10-12 on the year, marking their first 10-win season since the 2007-08 campaign, and raised their league record to 6-10. In addition, the win over the Pride was the first for the Cardinal and Gray since 2003.

The opening minutes of the game were closely played as a basket by freshman Michelle Battipaglia (Katonah, N.Y.) put MIT in front, 6-5, at the 15:46 mark. Springfield responded with a 21-4 run during the next 11 minutes, creating its largest advantage of the day (26-10). The Engineers chipped away at the deficit, entering halftime trailing 27-17.

MIT registered an 11-4 run during the first four minutes of the second half, coming within three (31-28) on a Battipaglia basket. In the next minute, the Pride increased its cushion courtesy of a basket and two free throws. With 14:04 on the clock, a steal by junior Anna Merrifield (Honolulu, Hawaii) led to a jumper by freshman Mari Kordell (Ijamsville, Md.), igniting a 17-2 spree which resulted in a 45-37 lead at the 7:34 mark. Springfield countered with 12 unanswered points to reclaim its advantage (49-45) with 1:54 to go.

Both squads had chances to move the score but they could not convert as the Pride eventually turned the ball over with 21 seconds remaining. Kordell sank a layup six seconds later and on the in-bounds Isaac fouled a Springfield player, sending her to the charity stripe with 14 seconds on the clock. The Pride hit the front end of a one-and-one, but Battipaglia hauled in the ball after the missed second attempt. Kordell followed with a layup with eight ticks left and on the in-bounds Battipaglia stole the ball. She fired it to Isaac who had a clean look at the basket but was fouled just before the buzzer. Springfield called a timeout, but Isaac drained both shots to clinch the victory.

Kordell led all scorers with 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting and added four steals while Battipaglia tallied 11 points, five rebounds, three steals, two assists, and one block. Isaac finished with 12 points, four rebounds, and a steal. Merrifield notched seven boards, four points, two steals, and a block as sophomore Tamara Pena (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) added two assists and two steals.

MIT finished the day with a 32-16 advantage in points off turnovers, including a 24-10 margin in the second half. The Engineers also bested the Pride in second-chance points during the second stanza with a 7-2 edge.

MIT continues its road trip on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at NEWMAC foe Wheaton College.