Women's Basketball Edges out Babson, 57-56

BABSON PARK, Mass. – Following seven ties and five lead changes in the second half, a layup by junior Osheiza Otori (Metairie, La.) with 41 seconds remaining put MIT ahead for good as it went on to defeat Babson College, 57-56, in a NEWMAC women's basketball game on Wednesday night. Fellow junior Mari Kordell (Ijamsville, Md.) produced a game-high 23 points as the Engineers (11-13, 8-11 NEWMAC) topped the Beavers for the first time since 2008 with that victory also coming in dramatic fashion.

MIT jumped out to an 8-2 lead and following a Babson timeout, the hosts recorded back-to-back layups. The Engineers responded by building a 16-9 advantage midway through the half but the Beavers slowly mounted a 13-2 run to go in front, 22-18, with 3:58 left. A jumper by freshman Liana Ilutzi (East Hanover, N.J.) ended MIT's scoring drought; however, Babson quickly drained a layup. Kordell buried a three-pointer on the Engineers' next possession, sparking an 8-2 spurt as sophomore Maya Ramachandran's (Fremont, Calif.) layup with 17 seconds remaining resulted in a 28-26 edge at the intermission.

The Beavers opened the second stanza with an 11-3 run to build their largest margin of the night (37-31) at the 13:02 mark. MIT replied with eight unanswered points during the next 3:15 to take a one-point edge. Babson hit a layup on its next trip down the court and then increased its lead to 41-38 with just under eight minutes left to play. A trifecta from Kordell set off an exchange of baskets that produced four more ties as two free throws by sophomore Sabrina Drammis (Hilton Head Island, S.C.) evened the score at 51 for the Engineers with 2:42 on the clock.

The game became a series of trips to the free-throw line during the next minute. The Beavers failed to connect on both of their attempts while Ramachandran hit her first shot to put MIT in front, 52-51. Fouled on the resulting rebound, Babson went to the charity stripe where it missed both tries. The hosts then reclaimed the lead courtesy of a steal and layup with 1:26 to go.

The Engineers' field goal bid on their next possession was off the mark but with a fresh shot clock, senior Rachel Hunt (Arlington Heights, Ill.) found Otori for the go-ahead bucket (54-53) with 41 seconds remaining. The Beavers raced down the court but their layup did not go down as Ramachandran grabbed the loose ball. In MIT's attempt to bring the ball up, Ilutzi was fouled and sank both of her free throws with 24.6 seconds on the clock.

A strong defensive effort by the Cardinal and Gray forced Babson to use its final timeout with 13.4 seconds left. In the next five seconds, the Beavers put up a three-pointer but it hit the front of the rim with the rebound being corralled by Otori. She was quickly fouled and converted the first of her two free throws to move the score to 57-53. On the Beavers' final possession, an MIT deflection near the far sideline stopped the clock with 0.9 ticks showing on the scoreboard. Following the restart, Babson buried a trey right before the final buzzer sounded.

Drammis finished with 17 points in addition to a game-high eight rebounds and five steals. Hunt produced five rebounds and five blocks as Ramachandran totaled five points and five boards.

MIT will conclude the regular season on Saturday, Feb. 22 when it hosts NEWMAC rival WPI.

Notes: MIT last defeated Babson on February 13, 2008 by a score of 52-49. Clara Yuan '09 drained a three-pointer with nine seconds remaining while Kimi Soo Hoo '08 stole the ball with 4.8 seconds to go. Three Babson fouls lowered the clock to 1.3 seconds and moved the ball under its basket. Yuan was fouled on the inbounds and hit the front-end of a one-and-one with .08 left.