CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Solid defensive play that generated 19 points off of 19 first-half U.S. Coast Guard Academy turnovers propelled host MIT to a 45-34 victory in a NEWMAC women's basketball game on Wednesday night. The win not only ended the Engineers' three-game skid but also resulted in their second consecutive series sweep of the Bears. Freshman Mari Kordell (Ijamsville, Md.) registered a game-high 13 points and five assists while fellow classmate Alexxis Isaac (San Antonio, Texas) racked up 12 points, 12 rebounds, and four steals for MIT. Freshman Victoria Gurtler (Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.) led Coast Guard's balanced attack with nine points to go along with six rebounds.
Freshman Brittney Zimmerman (Lewistown, Pa.) opened the scoring by knocking down what proved to be Coast Guard's only three-pointer of the night. A layup by Kordell on MIT's ensuing possession sparked a 13-2 run that put the hosts ahead for good. The Bears responded by slowly chipping away at the deficit and eventually came within three (17-14) courtesy of freshman Jamie Waterman's (Jasper, Ga.) layup at the 6:38 mark. In addition, sophomore Alexa Hunko's (Glen Rock, N.J.) four-of-four performance from the charity stripe during the rally helped keep Coast Guard within striking distance. The Engineers replied by scoring nine of the last 11 points of the half as sophomore Sharon Hao's (San Jose, Calif.) jumper gave the hosts a 26-16 lead at the break.
The Cardinal and Gray wasted little time extending its advantage in the second half, capitalizing on a Kordell layup and a trey courtesy of sophomore Margo Batie (Los Angeles, Calif.) resulting in its largest margin of the game at 15 points. Despite the deficit the Bears continued to attack, narrowing the gap to eight on three occasions, the last at 41-33 with 4:43 left to play. On MIT's next trip down the court, Kordell was sent to the free throw line where she converted both of her attempts. The game would remain scoreless until Isaac's put-back on a missed free throw fell in with 14 seconds on the clock. Gurtler capped the scoring by draining the first of her two free throws with 3.8 ticks remaining.
Sophomore Tamara Pena (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) contributed six points and two steals while junior Anna Merrifield (Honolulu, Hawaii) totaled six boards, including five off the offensive glass, three assists, one block, and one steal for the Engineers. Coming off the bench, freshman Michelle Battipaglia (Katonah, N.Y.) recorded four points and two steals.
Sophomore Kaitlin Ward (Saline, Mich.) tallied seven points, five rebounds, and four steals as freshman Alexi Howland (Latham, N.Y.) registered four points, four boards, and two assists. Waterman chipped in five rebounds and four points while sophomore Larla Brown (Kingwood, Texas) tacked on six rebounds.
Both squads continue conference play on the road on Saturday, Feb. 4. MIT (9-10, 5-8 NEWMAC) will visit Mount Holyoke College while Coast Guard (5-13, 1-12 NEWMAC) travels to Smith College.