January 29, 2011

Springfield Nips Women's Basketball, 36-31

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – In a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's basketball game, visiting Springfield College held on for a 36-31 victory over MIT on Saturday afternoon. Kelly Slattery compiled a game-high 14 rebounds and 12 points for the Pride, who improved to 7-12 on the year and 7-5 in conference play. Rachel Hunt led the Engineers (8-10, 4-7 NEWMAC) with nine points, five blocks, and three assists to go along with five rebounds.

Springfield opened the game with 11 unanswered points and went on to create a 15-2 lead at the 11:22 mark. Sparked by a layup from Lauren Sascha Burton, MIT mounted a 15-4 run that narrowed the gap to two (19-17) with 28 seconds on the clock. Slattery responded with a layup seven seconds before the break, moving the score to 21-17.

The first five minutes of the second half were a defensive battle until a pair of free throws by Rebecca Odim and a Burton layup knotted the score at 21. After trading baskets, Meghan Biondolillo put the Pride ahead, 25-23, with two free throws midway through the frame. On its ensuing trip down the court, MIT took its first lead of the day courtesy of Margo Batie's three-pointer.

Springfield countered with a 10-2 spurt that spanned three minutes and resulted in a 35-28 advantage. Kelly Murphy and Biondolillo both posted a layup and three-pointer for the Pride during the run. Hunt's three-point play trimmed the Engineers' deficit to four (35-31) with 4:30 remaining in regulation.

Both sides were plagued with turnovers and shooting woes down the stretch. Springfield, in the midst of a seven-minute scoring drought, kept the door open late as it missed the front-ends of a one-and-one on trips to the charity stripe with 39 and 24 seconds to go. MIT, meanwhile, failed to convert its seven field goal attempts during the final minutes.

The Pride secured the win when Murphy drained her free throw with 11 seconds left to play.

Burton finished with seven points, three steals, and two assists as Stephanie Cooke grabbed a team-high seven rebounds for the Cardinal and Gray. Anna Merrifield chipped in six points and five boards while Batie registered five points and two steals.

Murphy posted eight points as Biondolillo added seven coming off of Springfield's bench. Emily Walker notched nine rebounds and two blocks while Andrea Butler totaled six steals and five boards. Rachelle Walker dished out a team-high three assists.

Both squads continue conference play on Wednesday, Feb. 2. MIT will host nationally-ranked No. 5 Babson College while Springfield will travel to WPI.