Wellesley Rallies Past MIT, 60-51

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A 20-5 run that spanned 10 minutes in the second half helped propel Wellesley College to a 60-51 win over MIT in a New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women’s basketball game on Saturday. Aparna Sud paced the Engineers (4-16, 2-12 NEWMAC) with 16 points, including a 4-of-9 performance from behind the arc. Ashleigh Sargent recorded an efficient outing for the Blue (8-11, 6-8 NEWMAC) as she shot 6-of-8 from the floor and 3-of-4 from the charity stripe for a team-high 15 points.

MIT jumped out to a 9-2 edge, but Wellesley battled back and evened the contest at 16 courtesy of a pair of free throws by Malia Maier with 8:21 on the clock. A put-back and a three-pointer by Sud gave the Engineers some breathing room. The Blue countered with a 7-2 spurt, as back-to-back layups from Becca Kimball gave her squad its first lead of the game (24-23) with 3:48 left in the frame. Maier chipped in a layup two minutes later, however Sud’s three-pointer tied the game at 26. Wellesley’s Robyn Burleson responded with a trey of her own before a layup by Kristen Whaley brought MIT within one (29-28) at the intermission.

The Engineers opened the second stanza by outscoring the visitors, 11-5, for a 39-34 advantage at the 12:23 mark. Following two minutes of scoreless play, the Blue mounted its pivotal run that was ignited by six consecutive points from KD Stearns. She recorded the last three points of the rally to give Wellesley a 54-44 advantage with 2:59 remaining in regulation. MIT narrowed the gap to six (55-49) courtesy of a three-pointer by Lauren Sascha Burton and a coast-to-coast layup from Lauren Simmons with 36 seconds on the clock. This was as close as it would get as the Blue converted three out of their next four shots at the free-throw line. Each side traded layups during the final 24 seconds to cap the scoring.

Burton finished with 10 points and two steals as Sally Simpson tallied eight points, five rebounds, and three steals. Stephanie Cooke hauled in a game-high 10 boards to go along with two steals. Simmons dished out a career-high four assists while Whaley contributed eight points.

Maier compiled 10 points, six rebounds, six assists, three steals, and two blocks for the Blue. Stearns notched 14 points and two steals as Kimball posted nine points and a team-high seven boards. Katie Martore bolstered Wellesley’s defense with six caroms.

The Blue held a commanding advantage in points in the paint (34-12) and also at the free-throw line, where it was 20-of-29 while the Engineers went 4-of-8. MIT hit nine shots from three-point range, compared to two by Wellesley. The Cardinal and Gray also had a slight edge in points off turnovers (15-13), second-chance points (11-9), and bench scoring (24-19).

Both squads will continue conference play on Wednesday, Feb. 10. MIT will host Wheaton College while Wellesley will travel to Babson College.