Women's Basketball Defeats WPI, 54-50, to Capture First NEWMAC Championship

Courtesy of Risley Sports Photography
Courtesy of Risley Sports Photography

THE BASICS:

- Score: No. 5 MIT 54, No. 2 WPI 50

- Records: MIT (18-9); WPI (22-6)

- Location: Northampton, Mass. (Ainsworth Gym)

- The Lead: Four free throws during the final 24 seconds of regulation helped the No. 5 seeded MIT women's basketball team defeat No. 2 WPI, 54-50, and capture the program's first NEWMAC Championship on Sunday. Junior Kara Holinski (Livonia, Mich.) was named the Tournament Most Outstanding Player for her play throughout the tournament.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

- A tight first quarter featured four ties with the last occurring at 13 with 3:18 on the clock. MIT used a Holinski layup and a jumper by junior Dolly Yuan (San Jose, Calif.) right before time expired to take a small lead.

- Junior Taylor V'Dovec (Blaine, Wash.) knocked down a jumper 36 seconds into second quarter, increasing MIT's margin to 19-13. WPI came within one point on three occasions, the last at 25-24 with 2:44 on the clock. After an exchange of possessions, a put-back by V'Dovec with 20 seconds left gave MIT a 27-24 edge at halftime.

- A fastbreak layup by WPI led to a string of seven unanswered points and a 31-27 advantage at the 6:14 mark of the third quarter. A pair of Holinski free throws ended MIT's scoring drought with 2:50 on the clock while junior Kristen Ngan (Sudbury, Mass.) buried a three-pointer to quickly put MIT back in front. WPI knotted the score at 32 with a free throw, however, Ngan drained both of her free-throw attempts to create some distance heading into the final frame.

- Freshman Jocelyn Luizzi (Colchester, Conn.) hit a jumper 19 seconds into the fourth quarter, setting off an exchange of baskets until Yuan's free throw gave MIT a 45-40 lead with 4:38 remaining. After a WPI layup, Ngan knocked down a three-pointer and then a layup with 2:13 to go. WPI responded with its own trey and layup, trimming its deficit to 50-47 with 25 seconds left to play. MIT then capitalized on free throws by Holinski and Luizzi to create a seven-point cushion which withstood a WPI trey with three seconds left.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- Ngan finished with a game-high 14 points and grabbed four rebounds while V'Dovec registered 13 points and eight rebounds. Luizzi also hauled in eight boards as Yuan posted nine points and five rebounds.

- MIT had a slight advantage in field goal percentage (43.2 – 39.6), rebounds (32-25), and second-chance points (8-4). MIT was 14-of-15 from the free throw line while WPI converted four of its five attempts. WPI led the way in points off turnovers (9-6) and points in the paint (24-18) 

UP NEXT:

- MIT will learn about the location and its opponent in the upcoming NCAA Tournament during the selection show on Monday, Feb. 26 at 2:30 p.m. on NCAA.com.

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