NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – Host Smith College rattled off 10 unanswered points during the final six minutes of regulation to defeat the MIT women's basketball team, 58-46, in a NEWMAC contest on Saturday afternoon. Freshman Durva Bhandare (North Brunswick, N.J.) compiled 11 points, seven assists, four rebounds, and two steals for the Engineers who fell to 7-9 on the season and 3-7 in conference play.
Freshman Maya Ramachandran (Fremont, Calif.) tallied 14 points, 11 rebounds, and five blocks as senior Lauren Sascha Burton (Seattle, Wash.) registered eight boards, six points, and three assists for the Cardinal and Gray. Junior Rachel Hunt (Arlington Heights, Ill.) posted five rebounds and three blocks as freshman Sabrina Drammis (Hilton Head Island, S.C.) chipped in six points and five boards.
Smith inched out to a 10-4 lead but MIT responded with a 9-2 spurt which put it in front, 13-12, with 6:35 on the clock. A layup by the Pioneers resulted in an exchange of baskets until Bhandare sank one of her own to tie the game at 17. Following a Smith turnover, Burton buried a three-pointer which was countered by a basket from the Pioneers that narrowed the gap to one (20-19). The Engineers replied by outscoring Smith, 9-4, during the final three minutes of the half as Bhandare converted a layup right before time expired for a 29-24 cushion at the intermission.
The Pioneers opened the second stanza with six straight points but MIT reclaimed the lead courtesy of a bucket from Hunt. Following two Smith free throws, sophomore Mari Kordell (Ijamsville, Md.) buried a three-pointer to give the Engineers a 34-32 edge at the 15:02 mark. In a span of four minutes, the Pioneers generated eight unanswered points to go ahead for good. MIT slowly chipped away at the deficit as a trey from Burton brought it within two (48-46) with 6:25 left to play. A pair of free throws less than a minute later helped spark Smith's game-ending run.
MIT continues NEWMAC play on Wednesday, January 23 when it hosts Wellesley College.