November 30, 2011

Wellesley Fights off Engineers, 51-46

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Wellesley College used a 10-4 run in the middle of the second half to propel it to a 51-46 victory over MIT in the NEWMAC women's basketball opener for both teams on Wednesday night. Sophomore Rachel Hunt (Arlington Heights, Ill.) compiled eight assists, five rebounds, five steals, four blocks, and four points for the Engineers while sophomore Leslie Leong (Sacramento, Calif.) tallied 11 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, and two steals for the Blue.

MIT established a 17-9 advantage in the first 6:45 of the contest, but Wellesley responded with 12 unanswered points, six courtesy of junior Ashleigh Sargent (Bedford, N.H.), to go ahead at the 7:03 mark. A basket by freshman Alexxis Isaac (San Antonio, Texas) ended the Engineers' scoring drought just over a minute later while a free throw from Leong increased the Blue's cushion. A free throw by junior Lauren Sascha Burton (Seattle, Wash.), a put-back courtesy of Hunt on the missed second attempt, and a jumper from sophomore Sharon Hao (San Jose, Calif.) on three consecutive possessions gave the hosts a 24-22 edge with 3:30 to go.

Freshman Morgyne Weaver (Oklahoma City, Okla.) replied with a layup that resulted in the fourth tie of the game; however, freshman Mari Kordell's (Ijamsville, Md.) free throw and a put-back by junior Anna Merrifield (Honolulu, Hawaii) put the Engineers in front, 27-24. Leong's two successful attempts from the charity stripe with 31 seconds remaining closed the scoring for the first half.

Wellesley carried the momentum into the second stanza as it registered six straight points to recapture the lead. The scoring went back and forth as a three-pointer from Hao brought MIT within two (36-34) at 13:46. Following a minute of scoreless play, two free throws by freshman Courtney Jackson (Baldwin, N.Y.) sparked the Blue's pivotal 10-4 run that ended with 7:39 on the clock.

The Engineers narrowed the gap to four on two occasions, the last on a pair of free throws by Kordell that made the score 48-44 with 2:28 left to play. Weaver increased Wellesley's margin on a layup and then added a free throw with just over a minute remaining in regulation. Kordell's jumper with 25 seconds to go resulted in the final score.

Isaac led the Cardinal and Gray with 12 points and eight rebounds as Kordell finished with 10 points. Burton bolstered MIT's balanced night with eight points and five boards.

Weaver posted a game-high 13 points to go along with eight rebounds for the Blue. Ashleigh Sargent notched 10 points and five boards while freshman Meghan Sargent (Bedford, N.H.) added seven points courtesy of a 5-of-7 performance from the charity stripe. Junior Malia Maier (Torrance, Calif.) rounded out the defensive effort with six steals.

Both squads continue conference play on Saturday, Dec. 3. MIT (3-3, 0-1 NEWMAC) will host WPI while Wellesley (2-2, 1-0 NEWMAC) will travel to Springfield College.