Engineers Fall to Wheaton, 62-46, in NEWMAC Quarterfinals

Junior Osheiza Otori

NORTON, Mass. - Despite a second-half rally that saw it come within three points on three occasions, MIT could not overcome the deficit as Wheaton College went on to defeat the Engineers, 62-46, in the quarterfinal round of the NEWMAC Women's Basketball Tournament. Following its first postseason appearance in six years, MIT ends its season with an overall record of 12-14.

Senior Rachel Hunt (Arlington Heights, Ill.) powered the Engineers with 11 points, eight rebounds, three blocks, and three steals. Sophomore Sabrina Drammis (Hilton Head Island, S.C.) generated all 10 of her points in the second half to go along with seven boards while junior Mari Kordell (Ijamsville, Md.) tallied eight points, four assists, and three steals. Junior Osheiza Otori (Metairie, La.) paced MIT with nine rebounds, with seven coming on the offensive glass, and added six points and three steals while classmate Michelle Battipaglia (Katonah, N.Y.) recorded seven points, four boards, and three steals. Sophomore Maya Ramachandran (Fremont, Calif.) rounded out the squad with seven rebounds and two steals.

The Lyons raced out to an 11-3 lead following 5:37 of action, but back-to-back layups by Otori and a basket from Battipaglia quickly brought the Engineers within two points. Wheaton countered with its own stretch of six straight points; however, MIT once again closed the gap to two (17-15) on buckets from Hunt and Otori with 7:24 left in the half. The hosts responded by outscoring the Engineers, 12-1, to enter the intermission with a 29-16 advantage.

Wheaton maintained its comfortable margin early on the second stanza, but MIT mounted a 10-1 run, which included six points from Drammis to cut its deficit to 36-33 at the 11:20 mark. An exchange of baskets ensued during the next two minutes, moving the score to 40-37 after a jumper by Kordell in the paint. On their next possession, the Lyons began a stretch of 13 unanswered points to regain control of the game with 4:44 remaining.

A Drammis jumper ended MIT's scoring drought while free throws from Battipaglia and Kordell brought it within 11 (53-42) with 2:07 on the clock. A basket by Wheaton was matched by Battipaglia, but this was as close as it would get as the Lyons drained seven of their next eight free-throw attempts to secure the victory. Drammis provided the final points courtesy of a layup with 1.8 seconds on the clock.