Isaac Drains Free Throws With No Time Left to Capture Win Over Springfield

Freshman Alexxis Isaac
Freshman Alexxis Isaac

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Freshman Alexxis Isaac (San Antonio, Texas) sank two free throws with no time remaining to complete a dramatic come-from-behind victory for MIT as it defeated Springfield College, 51-50, in a NEWMAC women's basketball game on Saturday afternoon. The Engineers improved to 10-12 on the year, marking their first 10-win season since the 2007-08 campaign, and raised their league record to 6-10. In addition, the win over the Pride was the first for the Cardinal and Gray since 2003.

The opening minutes of the game were closely played as a basket by freshman Michelle Battipaglia (Katonah, N.Y.) put MIT in front, 6-5, at the 15:46 mark. Springfield responded with a 21-4 run during the next 11 minutes, creating its largest advantage of the day (26-10). The Engineers chipped away at the deficit, entering halftime trailing 27-17.

MIT registered an 11-4 run during the first four minutes of the second half, coming within three (31-28) on a Battipaglia basket. In the next minute, the Pride increased its cushion courtesy of a basket and two free throws. With 14:04 on the clock, a steal by junior Anna Merrifield (Honolulu, Hawaii) led to a jumper by freshman Mari Kordell (Ijamsville, Md.), igniting a 17-2 spree which resulted in a 45-37 lead at the 7:34 mark. Springfield countered with 12 unanswered points to reclaim its advantage (49-45) with 1:54 to go.

Both squads had chances to move the score but they could not convert as the Pride eventually turned the ball over with 21 seconds remaining. Kordell sank a layup six seconds later and on the in-bounds Isaac fouled a Springfield player, sending her to the charity stripe with 14 seconds on the clock. The Pride hit the front end of a one-and-one, but Battipaglia hauled in the ball after the missed second attempt. Kordell followed with a layup with eight ticks left and on the in-bounds Battipaglia stole the ball. She fired it to Isaac who had a clean look at the basket but was fouled just before the buzzer. Springfield called a timeout, but Isaac drained both shots to clinch the victory.

Kordell led all scorers with 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting and added four steals while Battipaglia tallied 11 points, five rebounds, three steals, two assists, and one block. Isaac finished with 12 points, four rebounds, and a steal. Merrifield notched seven boards, four points, two steals, and a block as sophomore Tamara Pena (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) added two assists and two steals.

MIT finished the day with a 32-16 advantage in points off turnovers, including a 24-10 margin in the second half. The Engineers also bested the Pride in second-chance points during the second stanza with a 7-2 edge.

MIT continues its road trip on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at NEWMAC foe Wheaton College.