Explosive Second Quarter Pushes Women's Basketball Past Wheaton, 70-52

Freshman Taylor V'Dovec
Freshman Taylor V'Dovec

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The MIT women's basketball team outscored Wheaton College, 27-8, in the second quarter en route to a 70-52 NEWMAC win on Thursday night. Four players reached double-digits in scoring for the Engineers (10-4, 6-1 NEWMAC) as freshman Kara Holinski (Livonia, Mich.) led the way with 16 points in helping the hosts record their fifth straight 10-win season. Sophomore Oppie Morris (Ware, Mass.) paced the Lyons (10-5, 3-3 NEWMAC) with 13 points to go along with six rebounds.

A three-pointer by Morris put Wheaton on the board and gave it the lead at the 6:51 mark of the first quarter. Freshman Kristen Ngan (Sudbury, Mass.) drained a layup on MIT's ensuing possession, sparking a 10-1 run that resulted in a 12-4 advantage with 23 seconds to go. Morris ended the Lyons' scoring drought from the floor courtesy of her own layup with nine ticks left.

The Engineers opened the second quarter on a Holinski three pointer but a pair of free throws by freshman Ruthie Zientek (Holmdel, N.J.) narrowed the gap to 15-8 at the 9:39 mark. A put-back by freshman Taylor V'Dovec (Blaine, Wash.) during MIT's next trip down the court ignited a 22-4 run that spanned just over eight minutes. The final points of the frame came at the free throw line as Wheaton senior Kiley Shoemaker (Fayetteville, N.Y.) and V'Dovec sank both of their attempts, moving the score to 39-14 at halftime.

The third quarter started with a three-point play by Morris which set off an exchange of baskets until a jumper from senior Sabrina Drammis (Hilton Head Island, S.C.) increased the Cardinal and Gray's lead to 45-19 with 6:42 on the clock. Sophomore Emily Cuthbertson (Hudson, N.H.) quickly buried a trey, helping the Lyons mount an 18-8 run as a Zientek jumper trimmed the deficit to 53-37. MIT replied with a basket from freshman Sophie Gershon (New York, N.Y.), which resumed the back-and-forth scoring during the final two minutes of the period and provided the hosts a 57-40 cushion heading into the break.

The first two minutes of the fourth quarter were a defensive battle until the Engineers registered five straight points over the course of 90 seconds. Following its own timeout, Wheaton senior Rebecca Arnone (Litchfield, N.H.) nailed a three-pointer that kicked off a 12-5 spurt that narrowed the gap to 67-52 with 1:29 remaining. The Lyons would get no closer as sophomore Lindsay Westlake (Brookline, Mass.) went 3-for-4 at the charity stripe during the final 41 seconds of regulation.

Drammis and Ngan both produced 12 points while V'Dovec notched 10 points and a team-high nine rebounds coming off the bench. Senior Maya Ramachandran (Fremont, Calif.) posted eight points and three steals as junior Liana Ilutzi (East Hanover, N.J.) dished out seven assists.

Zientek finished with 11 points as Arnone tallied 10 points, four rebounds, and three steals. Shoemaker totaled nine rebounds and six points while Cuthbertson earned five assists.

Both squads continue NEWMAC action at home on Saturday, Jan. 16. MIT will host Springfield College while Wheaton will take on Smith College with both games tipping off at 1:00 p.m.