Women's Basketball Grinds Out 47-43 Win Over WPI

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – In a back-and-forth battle that featured eight lead changes and seven ties, MIT tallied five consecutive points during the final 51 seconds of regulation to pull out a 47-43 win over WPI in women’s basketball action on Wednesday. The victory over WPI was the first for MIT since the 2002-03 season and helped it improve to 3-12 on the year and 1-8 in New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action. The visiting Engineers saw their ledger dip to 10-6 overall and 6-3 in conference play.

MIT opened the contest with six straight points, but WPI battled back and evened the frame at 12 on a Charlotte McDonnell layup at the 7:20 mark. MIT responded with a 9-0 spurt during the next three minutes. WPI countered with 12 unanswered points to capture a 24-21 edge, but MIT’s Lauren Simmons drained a three-pointer to knot the game right before halftime.

The host Engineers continued to attack in the second stanza, eventually taking a 35-30 advantage with 11:13 on the clock. A 7-0 spurt which featured a trey and a layup by Caitlin O’Connor put WPI in front, 37-35, just over three minutes later. MIT reclaimed the lead courtesy of Stephanie Cooke’s three-point play and extended its margin to three (42-39) on Lauren Sascha Burton’s steal and layup with 3:24 left to play. On WPI’s ensuing possession Elle Fontaine registered a three-point play of her own which resulted in the seventh tie of the game.

After several missed opportunities by both sides, WPI went up, 43-42, when Melissa Kuhn converted the front end of a one-and-one with 1:17 remaining. MIT’s Anna Merrifield gave her team a lead it would not relinquish when she hit a jumper with 51 seconds on the clock and Burton increased the margin to two (45-43) by hitting the first of her two free throws with 28 seconds to go. On the resulting defensive rebound, Burton intercepted the outlet pass and forced WPI to foul eight seconds later. Sally Simpson drained both shots from the charity stripe to seal the win for the Cardinal and Gray.

Burton tallied nine points, six rebounds, and six steals as Simpson posted nine points and seven boards, including a game-high five off the offensive glass. Cooke compiled eight rebounds, seven points, three assists, and two steals while Aparna Sud grabbed four steals. Merrifield finished with a team-high 10 points to go along with five caroms.

Lauren Hannmann led all scorers with 12 points as Fontaine notched eight points and seven rebounds. Theresa Logan and Kuhn each swatted two shots while Logan added a game-high nine boards. O’Connor bolstered WPI’s cause with seven points and two steals.

MIT had a slight edge in rebounds (41-39), points off turnovers (16-12), and second-chance points (11-9) while WPI finished ahead in points in the paint (20-18) and bench scoring (13-7). The visitors converted 10 of their 14 free throw attempts while MIT was 4-of-5 from the line with all of its attempts coming during the final five minutes of play.

Both squads will continue conference play at home on Saturday, Jan. 23. MIT will host Clark University while WPI will take on the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.