Merrifield Grabs 17 Rebounds as MIT Fights off Wilkes, 62-55

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – In the first meeting between both programs, the MIT women's basketball team emerged with a 62-55 victory over Wilkes University in the third-place game of the Western New England College Golden Bear Hoop Classic on Saturday. Lauren Sascha Burton, who tallied seven points, six rebounds, three assists, and two blocks, represented the Engineers (1-2) on the All-Tournament Team.

MIT's bench accounted for 50 percent of its points, resulting in a commanding 31-6 advantage in bench scoring. The Cardinal and Gray also led the way in rebounding (54-38), points in the paint (24-14), and second-chance points (18-9).

Merrifield hauled in 17 rebounds to go along with six points, five assists, and a block. Rebecca Odim posted a team-high 10 points as Margo Batie notched six points, five boards, and two steals. In 16 minutes of action, Stephanie Cooke registered eight caroms, seven points, and two assists. Rachel Hunt contributed six points and three blocks as Kathryn Harris totaled five points and three rebounds, all coming off the offensive glass. Tamara Pena chipped in eight points and three boards while Marissa Good dished out three assists.

The Engineers quickly established an 11-4 lead after 4:38 expired. Wilkes battled back, eventually going ahead at 15-13 with 12:11 on the clock. Following four ties during the next five minutes, a three-pointer by Batie and a layup from Pena gave the Cardinal and Gray some breathing room. The Colonels narrowed the gap to one on a pair of occasions, but Sydney Beasley's basket helped MIT enter the intermission with a 34-31 edge.

MIT carried the momentum into the second stanza as it registered an 8-3 spurt during the first two minutes. Wilkes responded with five straight points in a span of two minutes that brought it within three (42-39). This was as close as it would get, as the Engineers saw their advantage grow to double-digits (53-42) at the 9:26 mark.

The Colonels continued to attack, tallying seven of the next nine points, narrowing the margin to six (55-49) with 6:03 to go. Hunt's layup on MIT's ensuing possession stopped the rally and a free throw by Odim extended the cushion. Wilkes once again cut its deficit to six with just over two minutes remaining. However, a trey by Merrifield and a free throw from Burton with 29 seconds on the clock secured the win for the Engineers.