CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Freshman Meghan Fornaro (Charlton, Mass.) buried a jumper with 38 seconds left to play and then added a free throw with five ticks left to lift the U.S. Coast Guard Academy to a 36-32 victory over MIT in a NEWMAC women's basketball game on Tuesday night. Fornaro ended the evening 10 points, nine rebounds, and three steals as the Bears improved to 4-3 on the year and 2-1 in conference play. Freshman Sabrina Drammis (Hilton Head Island, S.C.) paced the Engineers (3-4, 1-2 NEWMAC) with seven points to go along with six rebounds.
MIT jumped out to a 7-2 lead after four minutes elapsed, but Coast Guard produced nine straight points to go up 11-7 midway through the half. The Engineers responded with a 9-2 spurt with sophomore Michelle Battipaglia (Katonah, N.Y.) accounting for seven points. A layup by junior Kaitlin Ward (Saline, Mich.) narrowed the gap to one (16-15); however, freshman Durva Bhandare (North Brunswick, N.J.) drained a jumper moments before the buzzer sounded to increase MIT's cushion at the intermission.
The Cardinal and Gray carried the momentum into the second stanza as a three-point play by Drammis following two minutes of action gave it some breathing room. Coast Guard stayed within striking distance as it trimmed its deficit to two on a pair of occasions, the last on sophomore Jamie Waterman's (Jasper, Ga.) free throw at the 13:16 mark. During the next five minutes, MIT replied with baskets by Drammis and junior Rachel Hunt (Arlington Heights, Ill.) to reestablish its six-point margin (28-22).
The Bears countered with eight unanswered points which resulted in the fourth and final lead change of the night. On the Engineers' next trip down the court, freshman Maya Ramachandran (Fremont, Calif.) drained a layup to knot the score at 30 with 5:21 to go. Fornaro quickly replied with a trey, and after an exchange of possession, Pena nailed a layup that brought the hosts within one (33-32) at the 3:45 mark. MIT had several chances to tie the game or reclaim the lead down the stretch but it could not capitalize on its opportunities.
Battipaglia finished with seven points while Ramachandran posted eight rebounds and five blocks. Senior Lauren Sascha Burton (Seattle, Wash.) added six boards as Hunt dished out three assists.
Ward also recorded10 points for Coast Guard while freshman Andrea Barrameda (Stockton, Calif.) and senior Karli Collins (Delavan, Wis.) both hauled in six rebounds.
Both squads continue conference play on the road later this week. MIT will travel to Mount Holyoke College on Friday, Dec. 7 for its final game before the holiday break while the Bears will visit Smith College a day earlier.