WPI Thwarts Comeback Attempt and Holds on to Defeat MIT, 61-54

Kylie Gallagher
Courtesy of Robert Krawitz

THE BASICS:

- Score: WPI 61, MIT 54

- Records: MIT (12-8, 8-5 NEWMAC); WPI (16-5, 9-3 NEWMAC)

- Location: Worcester, Mass. (Harrington Auditorium)

- The Lead: WPI hit all four of its free throws during the final 11 seconds of regulation to pull away from MIT and register a 61-54 victory in NEWMAC women's basketball action on Saturday. Freshman Kylie Gallagher (Upton, Mass.) tallied 14 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks for MIT.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

- WPI scored the first six points of the game but a three-pointer by junior Kara Holinski (Livonia, Mich.) ignited a 14-5 run that was capped by another Holinski trey. The hosts countered by scoring seven points in a row, spanning the first and second quarters, to go back in front three minutes into the second frame.

- MIT replied with its own seven-point burst, which featured five points by junior Dolly Yuan (San Jose, Calif.), to go ahead, 21-18, with 3:49 on the clock. WPI tied the score twice during the next minute but baskets by freshman Jocelyn Luizzi (Colchester, Conn.) and Holinski created a 27-23 cushion. Following a WPI put-back, Yuan drained two free throws but WPI responded with a layup with 15 seconds remaining to make the score 29-27 at halftime.

- The tight play continued into the third quarter as a Gallagher layup created the third tie of the frame (35-35) at the 4:35 mark. WPI then put together a 9-2 spurt down the stretch to create some distance from MIT.

- The hosts carried the momentum into the fourth quarter as their lead grew to 49-39 after 1:15 elapsed. MIT battled back, coming within one (49-48) on junior Taylor V'Dovec's (Blaine, Wash.) bucket with 6:08 remaining. On back-to-back possessions, WPI capitalized on a three-point play and a three-pointer to create some breathing room. However, Gallagher drained two free throws, narrowing the gap to 55-50 with just under four minutes left.

- After almost two minutes of scoreless play, Yuan ended the stalemate by sinking two free throws. Following missed shots by both sides, Holinski blocked a three-point attempt with 18 seconds remaining. MIT turned the ball over on its ensuing possession and then a foul sent WPI to the charity stripe where it hit both shots with 11.1 seconds to go. During MIT's next trip down the court, Gallagher knocked down both of her free throws, trimming the deficit to 57-54.

- Another foul put WPI on the free throw line, where it was once again 2-for-2 with 9.7 seconds on the clock. MIT's final possession saw Holinski's jumper hit the back of the rim. WPI grabbed the rebound and then closed out the game with two more free throws.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- Yuan paced MIT with 17 points, followed by 13 from Holinski. V'Dovec rounded out the squad with seven rebounds and two steals.

- MIT was 5-of-12 from three-point range while WPI hit 6 of its 20 attempts from behind the arc. From the free-throw line, MIT was 15-of-18 while WPI went 9-of-9. MIT finished with a 16-13 edge in points off turnovers.

- WPI ended the day with the upper hand in field-goal percentage (41.1 – 35.4), rebounds (37-29), second-chance points (18-6), and points in the paint (30-12).

UP NEXT:

- MIT resumes NEWMAC play at home on Wednesday, Feb. 7 when it hosts Mount Holyoke College for a 7:00 p.m. tip off.

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