Second-Half Rally Falls Short as Clark Defeats MIT, 61-50

Junior Anna Merrifield

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – MIT narrowed the gap to six with four minutes remaining, but Clark University responded with six straight points that powered it to a 61-50 victory in a NEWMAC women's basketball game on Saturday afternoon. Junior Anna Merrifield (Honolulu, Hawaii) paced the Engineers with 15 points while sophomore Emily Reilly (Malborough, Mass.) also had 15 points to go along with six rebounds for the Cougars.

After trading baskets to start the game, Clark registered an 11-2 run resulting in a 13-4 lead at the 8:52 mark. MIT replied with a three-pointer from sophomore Tamara Pena (Aliso Viejo, Calif.), but a three-point play by senior Maggie Croft (East Aurora, N.Y.) sparked an 8-0 spurt that eventually led to a 26-15 halftime advantage for the Cougars.

Clark maintained its offensive rhythm through the break as its margin grew to 15 (35-20) after five minutes expired in the second stanza. On their ensuing possession, sophomore Sharon Hao (San Jose, Calif.) buried a jumper which ignited a 14-4 run that was capped by a Pena trey, bringing the Engineers within five (39-34) with 8:18 left to play.

Layups by Reilly and sophomore Megan Grodin (Cumberland, Maine) gave the visitors some breathing room; however, after an exchange of baskets, Merrifield knocked down a three-pointer that cut MIT's deficit to 47-41 with 4:07 remaining. The Cougars then responded with their pivotal six-point spurt which returned their lead to double-digits with just under two minutes on the clock.

The Engineers continued to attack, capitalizing on another Merrifield trifecta and two free throws courtesy of junior Lauren Sascha Burton (Seattle, Wash.) during the next minute. It would not be enough as Clark went on to convert all eight of its free throw attempts to close out the game.

Freshman Alexxis Isaac (San Antonio, Texas) tallied eight points, eight rebounds, three assists, and three steals for MIT as Burton finished with six points, four assists, and three boards. Hao posted five points and four rebounds while freshman Mari Kordell (Ijamsville, Md.) added five points, four assists, and three boards.

Grondin totaled 14 points and five rebounds for the Cougars while sophomore Ashleigh Condon (Hull, Mass.) notched 12 points and six boards. Senior Kate Minister (Manchester, England) compiled nine rebounds, eight points, two blocks, and two steals as junior Kelsey Giedymin (Shrewsbury, Mass.) contributed six boards and two steals.

MIT finishes the season with an overall record of 10-14 and a 6-12 mark in NEWMAC play. Clark (16-9, 12-6 NEWMAC) will continue its campaign on Wednesday, Jan 22 in the quarterfinal round of the NEWMAC Tournament.