Late Rally Powers Clark Past MIT, 49-45

Senior Lauren Sascha Burton
Senior Lauren Sascha Burton

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A 12-2 run that spanned seven minutes late in the second half helped propel Clark University to a 49-45 victory over MIT in a NEWMAC women's basketball game on Saturday afternoon. Senior Lauren Sascha Burton (Seattle, Wash.) tallied nine points, eight rebounds, and five assists for the Engineers who saw their ledger lower to 6-5 on the year and 2-3 in conference play. Junior Ashleigh Condon (Hull, Mass.) led all scorers with 16 points, including seven during the Cougars' (8-4, 3-2 NEWMAC) pivotal run, to go along with four steals.

After trading baskets to start the game, MIT went on a 19-5 run which resulted in a 21-7 advantage at the 7:56 mark. Sparked by a layup from junior Esther Cohn (Chapel Hill, N.C.), Clark rattled off 13 unanswered points to come within one (21-20) with 1:12 on the clock. Following a timeout by the Engineers, sophomore Mari Kordell (Ijamsville, Md.) drained a jumper in the paint then sank two of her three free-throw attempts with 0.6 seconds left to give the hosts a 25-20 cushion at the intermission.

The Cougars opened the second stanza with an 8-2 spurt, featuring four straight points from junior Emily Reilly (Marlborough, Mass.), to claim their first lead of the day at 28-27 after 2:26 elapsed. The game became a back-and-forth affair as four lead changes ensued during the next two minutes until a layup by Burton put MIT in front, 33-32. The Engineers gained some breathing room courtesy of baskets by sophomore Alexxis Isaac (San Antonio, Texas) and junior Rachel Hunt (Arlington Heights, Ill.) to go up, 37-33, with 11 minutes remaining.

Two free throws by junior Megan Grondin (Cumberland, Maine) ignited the game-changing run that established a 45-39 advantage for the Cougars at the 3:52 mark. A three-pointer by junior Tamara Pena (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) just over a minute later cut MIT's deficit in half but Reilly replied with a trey from the corner which banked off the glass with 1:49 to go. On the Cardinal and Gray's ensuing possession, Kordell buried a three-pointer late in the shot clock to keep it within striking distance. MIT had two opportunities to narrow the gap down the stretch but it could not convert as Condon secured the victory with a free throw with six ticks left.

Kordell finished with nine points while Isaac tallied eight points, eight rebounds, two blocks, and two steals. Pena contributed seven points as freshman Maya Ramachandran (Fremont, Calif.) grabbed nine boards.

Reilly notched 14 points and five rebounds while Grondin totaled nine points, seven boards, and two assists. Cohn hauled in 14 rebounds and added two blocks as freshman Brooke Brennan (Weston, Mass.) and senior Kelsey Giedymin (Shrewsbury, Mass.) bolstered the rebounding corps with six boards apiece.

Both squads continue NEWMAC play on Tuesday, January 8. MIT will host Smith College while Clark travels to cross-town rival WPI with both games tipping off at 7:00 p.m.