Wheaton Comes From Behind to Defeat MIT, 61-58, in Overtime

Sophomore Mari Kordell
Sophomore Mari Kordell

NORTON, Mass. – In a game of runs, Wheaton College came out on top with a 61-58 overtime decision against MIT in a NEWMAC women's basketball game on Wednesday night. Sophomore Mari Kordell (Ijamsville, Md.) racked up a game-high 23 points as she tallied the Engineers' final 11 points, including the tying bucket with six seconds left in regulation and all seven of their points in the extra session. She also added five rebounds, four assists, and three steals to MIT's cause as its ledger lowered to 7-8 on the year and 3-6 in conference action.

Freshman Maya Ramachandran (Fremont, Calif.) recorded 10 points, seven rebounds, and four blocks while sophomore Michelle Battipaglia (Katonah, N.Y.) chipped in eight points and eight rebounds. Junior Rachel Hunt (Arlington Heights, Ill.) notched five points, five boards, and four blocks as senior Lauren Sascha Burton (Seattle, Wash.) grabbed three steals.

The Lyons jumped out to a 6-2 lead but the Engineers rattled off eight unanswered points, including back-to-back layups by Battipaglia. Wheaton stayed close and eventually went ahead, 14-13 at the 7:42 mark, courtesy of a three-pointer from sophomore Kenzie Kuhn (Glenwood Springs, Colo.) and two free throws by classmate Abbie Brickley (Sandy, Utah). MIT countered with an 8-2 spurt that resulted in a 21-16 advantage; however, the hosts narrowed the gap on a layup inside the final minute of the first half.

The Engineers scored seven of the first eight points of the second stanza, but the hosts trimmed their deficit to four (26-22) after three minutes expired. MIT responded with a 17-7 run that resulted in its largest margin of the night and a 43-29 advantage midway through the half. Back-to-back three-pointers by Wheaton senior Hallie Vitagliano (Newton, Mass.) ignited a 22-6 rally as a layup by Brickley gave it a 51-49 edge with 23 seconds to go. On MIT's next possession, Kordell drained a layup with six ticks on the clock to send the game into overtime.

Brickley drew first blood after 1:08 elapsed in the extra session; however, Kordell replied with a trey to put the Engineers in front, 54-53. Kuhn knocked down a jumper which was matched by Kordell's layup at the 2:04 mark. Brickley then dropped in another layup, but Kordell sank both of her free throw attempts to put MIT ahead, 58-57, with 47 seconds left.

Wheaton wasted little time in reclaiming the lead as junior Lauren McClelland (Scituate, Mass.) buried a layup in a span of seven seconds. Kordell's driving bid with 17 seconds remaining did not fall in, forcing MIT to foul which took four seconds off the clock. Sophomore Kirsten Ferrari (Lynn, Mass.) hit the second of her two shots and after a turnover by the Engineers, sophomore Laura Pierce (Hampstead, N.H.) converted her second attempt with four seconds left. Burton tried to extend the game, but her three-pointer was off the mark as the buzzer sounded.

Next up for MIT will be the conclusion of its three-game roadtrip on Saturday, January 19 at Smith College.