CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The MIT women's basketball team kicked off New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play with a 59-24 victory over the U.S. Coast Guard Academy on Tuesday night. The Engineers registered their first conference-opening win since the 2002-03 season and also surrendered the fewest points to a league opponent in program history. In addition, the Cardinal and Gray's ledger of 4-2 equals its best start since the 2000-01 campaign.
A jumper by Tamara Pena and a three-pointer from Lauren Sascha Burton put MIT in front less than two minutes in to the game. Following over three minutes of scoreless play, the Bears got on the scoreboard courtesy of a put-back by Alexa Hunko. The Engineers responded with nine unanswered points to increase their lead to 14-2 at the 12:17 mark. Both squads traded baskets until a trey by Pena midway through the frame sparked an 18-6 run which resulted in a 36-12 halftime advantage for the visitors.
MIT maintained its comfortable margin as it outscored Coast Guard, 23-12, in the second stanza. A basket by Kathryn Harris inside the final minute gave the Engineers their largest lead of the night and also set up the final score.
Pena powered MIT with 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including a 5-of-9 performance from behind the arc. She also tacked on three assists and three steals. Sydney Beasley compiled 13 points, a game-high five steals, five rebounds, and two blocks as Burton totaled seven points, seven boards, a game-high five assists, and three steals. Anna Merrifield grabbed a team-best nine rebounds while Rachel Hunt posted six boards, three assists, and two blocks. Margo Batie bolstered the rebounding corps with four caroms, including three off the offensive glass.
The Engineers led the way in rebounding (46-28), points in the paint (24-12), points off turnovers (33-10), and bench scoring (21-2). On the season, MIT registered highs for field goal percentage (.448), steals (18), and tied its season-best mark for blocks (seven).