NEW YORK, N.Y. – NYU fought off several runs by the MIT women's basketball team to hold on for a 73-70 victory in the opening day of the NYU Tip-Off Classic on Saturday afternoon. Freshman Kara Holinski (Livonia, Mich.) paced the Engineers (1-1) with 23 points on 9-of-10 shooting, including hitting five of her six shots from three-point range.
Senior Sabrina Drammis (Hilton Head Island, S.C.) posted 13 points, four rebounds, and two steals while freshman Kristen Ngan (Sudbury, Mass.) registered 12 points and three assists. Junior Liana Ilutzi (East Hanover, N.J.) distributed six assists as senior Maya Ramachandran (Fremont, Calif.) added nine points and a team-high five rebounds to MIT's cause.
As a team, the Engineers had a 56.0 field goal percentage while holding the Violets to a 39.6 shooting performance. The hosts, however, went 27-of-32 from the charity stripe as MIT was only 6-of-10 from the free throw line.
NYU(2-0), ranked No. 5 by D3Hoops.com and No. 7 by USA Today, raced out to a 20-11 advantage with 3:38 left in the opening quarter. Holinski buried a trey on the Cardinal and Gray's ensuing possession before both sides traded baskets. Another Holinski three-pointer narrowed the gap to 22-19 with 19 seconds remaining, capping the scoring in the first quarter.
Two free throws by the Violets in the first minute of the second stanza increased their cushion but MIT responded with layups from Holinski and Ngan in the next minute to come within one (24-23). A layup ended NYU's three-minute scoring drought at 6:04 but two Ilutzi free throws kicked off a 7-2 spurt with Ngan's three-pointer tying the game at 30 with 3:21 on the clock. The Violets drained two free throws to stay in front; however, a Holinski trifecta put the Engineers ahead and set off two lead changes and a tie. NYU replied with a 7-2 run to enter halftime with a 41-37 edge.
The Violets carried the momentum into the third quarter, establishing a 45-39 lead after 3:06 elapsed. Two Ngan free throws and a Drammis layup trimmed the margin to two midway through the period but NYU increased its advantage to 53-45 by converting all six of its free-throw attempts and sinking a layup with 2:28 remaining. Following an exchange of baskets, freshman Maude Gull's (Zurich, Switzerland) three-pointer narrowed MIT's deficit to 55-50 at the end of the frame.
The Engineers opened the fourth quarter scoring courtesy of a free throw by Ngan but the Violets countered with a trey to gain some breathing room. MIT continued to attack as a jumper by Drammis brought it within 60-58 at the 7:51 mark. NYU responded with a layup on its next trip down the court; however, Drammis's layup once again narrowed the gap to two. The Violets then put together an 8-3 run during the next three minutes but a Drammis bucket and Holinski trey moved the score to 70-68 with 1:27 left to play.
Despite missing two shots, NYU retained possession during the next minute as MIT fouls eventually put the Violets at the free throw line where they sank both attempts with 25 seconds remaining in regulation. NYU forced a turnover on the Engineers' next possession and then hit the second of two free throws with 12 ticks left. Upon inbounding the ball, Ilutzi quickly drained a layup, taking three seconds off the clock, but this would be the final play of the game.
MIT returns to action on Sunday, Nov. 22 when it will take on Heidelberg University at 2:00 p.m. in the second round of the NYU Tip-Off Classic.