Wheaton Rallies Past Engineers, 64-57

Senior Rachel Hunt
Senior Rachel Hunt

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Making 10 of its 16 total field goals from three-point range and going 22-for-27 from the charity stripe helped Wheaton College come from behind to defeat MIT, 64-57, in a NEWMAC women's basketball game on Wednesday night. Senior Rachel Hunt (Arlington Heights, Ill.) led all players with a career-high 19 points on 9-for-12 shooting and added six rebounds for the Engineers (9-13, 6-11 NEWMAC). Junior Laura Pierce (Hampstead, N.H.) paced the Lyons (19-4, 14-4 NEWMAC) with 17 points courtesy of five trifectas and dished out a game-high seven assists.

MIT raced out to a 10-2 lead after five minutes expired, as Hunt accounted for six of its points. Wheaton chipped away at the deficit and eventually went in front, 21-20, on back-to-back layups by junior Abbie Brickley (Sandy, Utah) with 6:39 left in the half. Junior Michelle Battipaglia (Katonah, N.Y.) quickly countered with a basket of her own but the Lyons put together a 9-2 spurt, capped by a trey from Pierce to pull ahead, 30-24. Hunt cut the lead in half with a three-point play which was matched by another three-pointer from Pierce just before the buzzer to give the visitors a 33-27 edge at the intermission.

The Engineers outscored Wheaton, 8-3, during the first six minutes of the second frame, going ahead on a bucket by freshman Liana Ilutzi (East Hanover, N.J.). On their ensuing possession, junior Kirsten Ferrari (Lynn, Mass.) reclaimed the lead for the Lyons at 39-37 with a shot from behind the arc. MIT responded by mounting a 12-6 run as a three-point play by junior Osheiza Otori (Metairie, La.) gave the hosts a 49-45 edge at the 7:14 mark.

Wheaton countered with a 15-5 run during the next six minutes to go ahead for good at 60-54. Pierce provided five points in the rally, followed by four from sophomore Kiley Shoemaker (Fayetteville, N.Y.), and three apiece by Ferrari and sophomore Rebecca Arnone (Litchfield, N.H.), whose trey gave the Lyons some breathing room with 1:37 left to play. The Engineers narrowed the gap to three on an Otori free throw and Drammis jumper a minute later; however, Wheaton closed out the game by going 4-of-6 at the charity stripe to secure the victory.

Drammis tallied 12 points, eight rebounds, and three steals as Ilutzi posted 10 points, seven assists, and five boards. Otori registered six points, five rebounds, two blocks, and two steals while sophomore Maya Ramachandran (Fremont, Calif.) notched eight points, eight boards, and two blocks. Senior Tamara Pena (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) rounded out the Cardinal and Gray with three assists.

Shoemaker finished with 12 points as she went 10-of-10 at the free throw line and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Lyons. Ferrari also recorded 12 points after burying all three of her attempts from behind the arc in addition to a 3-for-4 outing at the charity stripe. She also grabbed a team-high three steals while Arnone had five points and four assists. Brickley contributed 11 points as senior Laura McClelland (Scituate, Mass.) hauled in six rebounds.

Both squads continue NEWMAC action on Saturday, Feb. 15. MIT will host Clark University while Wheaton travels to Babson College.