NEW LONDON, Conn. – In its final game of the NEWMAC regular season, the MIT women's basketball team fell to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 66-58, on Saturday afternoon. Freshman Kristen Ngan (Sudbury, Mass.) paced the Engineers (17-8, 11-5 NEWMAC) with 16 points to go along with two steals.
The No. 4 seed in the NEWMAC Tournament, MIT will host No. 5 Springfield College in a quarterfinal game on Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 7:00 p.m. Making their third consecutive postseason appearance, this will be the first time the Engineers will be playing in Rockwell Cage during the opening round since 2003.
Senior Maya Ramachandran (Fremont, Calif.) tallied 11 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks, and two steals while junior Liana Ilutzi (East Hanover, N.J.) compiled nine points, seven assists, four rebounds, and three steals. Senior Sabrina Drammis (Hilton Head Island, S.C.) rounded out the squad with nine rebounds and eight points.
In a back-and-forth opening quarter, Coast Guard ended the frame with an 18-16 edge. MIT evened the score with Ngan's jumper 17 seconds into the second stanza while two Ilutzi free throws and a basket gave the Engineers a 21-18 lead at the 7:27 mark. The Bears responded with a pair of three-pointers, helping fuel a 17-2 run in a five-minute span. MIT battled back, as it cut the deficit to six (35-29) with 56 seconds to go. Coast Guard drained a layup during its next trip down the court to wrap up the scoring.
The Cardinal and Gray came within six points on two occasions early in the third quarter, the last on Ramachandran's layup with 7:40 on the clock. The Bears replied with 10 unanswered points during the next four minutes, increasing their advantage to 50-34. MIT countered with 12 straight points, capped by a trio of Ngan free throws at the end of the quarter, making the score 50-46.
The balanced scoring returned at the start of the fourth quarter as freshman Dolly Yuan's (San Jose, Calif.) three-pointer brought the Engineers within 54-51 at the 7:28 mark. Coast Guard drained a layup during its next possession before the game became a defensive battle. Ngan's jumper ended the stalemate with 4:08 on the clock and once again brought the visitors within three. Coast Guard then sank a pair of layups to create some breathing room before finishing off the game with a 6-of-10 performance at the charity stripe inside the final minute.