Comeback Attempt Falls Short as No. 12/14 Saint Joseph’s Holds on to Defeat MIT, 68-61, in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament

Comeback Attempt Falls Short as No. 12/14 Saint Joseph’s Holds on to Defeat MIT, 68-61, in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament

THE BASICS:

- Score: No. 12 (WBCA)/No. 14 (D3hoops.com) Saint Joseph's College of Maine 68, MIT 61

- Records: MIT (21-8); Saint Joseph's (28-1)

- Location: Ithaca, N.Y. (Ben Light Gymnasium)

- The Lead: Nationally-ranked No. 12/14 Saint Joseph's College of Maine drained all six of its free throws during the final 42 seconds to hold off MIT's comeback attempt and record a 68-61 victory in the first round of the NCAA Division Women's Basketball Tournament at Ithaca College on Friday night. Senior Dolly Yuan (San Jose, Calif.) tallied 12 points, five rebounds, three assists, and two steals for the Engineers.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

- The Monks scored the first five points of the game, but MIT rattled off eight straight points, taking the lead at the 5:38 mark. A three-pointer by Yuan was followed by a trey from senior Kristen Ngan (Sudbury, Mass.) and then Yuan tacked on two free throws. Saint Joseph's responded with a 15-2 run to close the quarter, creating a 20-10 advantage.

- The Engineers chipped away at the deficit, going in front 25-24 courtesy of a layup by Ngan with 3:20 on the clock in the second stanza. An exchange of baskets followed until a three-pointer by the Monks gave them a 31-27 edge with 1:51 to go. A layup by sophomore Kylie Gallagher (Upton, Mass.) brought MIT within one but Saint Joseph's knocked down a three-pointer with three ticks left, entering halftime with a 34-29 lead.

- The Monks opened the third quarter with a 12-5 run, however, the Engineers scored six of the next seven points, using Ngan's floating jumper in the lane to trim the deficit to 47-40 midway through the quarter. Saint Joseph's drained a layup on its next possession, sparking an 8-3 run to close the quarter.

 

- MIT kicked off the final frame with a layup by Ngan followed by three-pointers from senior Kara Holinski (Livonia, Mich.) as well as first-years Annika Sougstad (Mahtomedi, Minn.) and Christina Antonakakis (Holmdel, N.J.) to come within one (55-54) at the 8:11 mark. A three-pointer gave the Monks some breathing room but sophomore Jocelyn Luizzi's (Colchester, Conn.) put-back led to both teams trading baskets, capped by Holinski's steal and fast-break layup that made the score 62-60 with 2:51 on the clock. MIT attempted several shots from behind the arc down the stretch, however, Saint Joseph's went 6-of-6 at the charity stripe during the final 42 seconds to secure the victory.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- Ngan finished with a team-high 14 points while Luizzi totaled 12 points and eight rebounds. Senior Taylor V'Dovec (Blaine, Wash.) registered seven points and seven boards as Gallagher notched six rebounds and two blocks.

- The Engineers had the advantage in bench scoring (19-5) and second-chance points (8-4).

- The Monks led the way in field-goal percentage (44.6 – 34.9), rebounds (40-35), points off turnovers (20-16), and points in the paint (30-26).

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