First-Half Run Propels No. 21 Babson Past Women's Basketball

Sophomore Michelle Battipaglia

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Behind the strength of a game-high 22 points from senior Sarah Collins (Weymouth, Mass.), nationally-ranked No. 21 Babson College recorded a 53-35 victory over MIT in a NEWMAC women's basketball game on Thursday night. The forward also tacked on 11 rebounds, four blocks, and three steals to help the Beavers improve to 12-1 on the year and 7-0 in conference play while also picking up the program's 72nd straight NEWMAC win. Sophomore Michelle Battipaglia (Katonah, N.Y.) produced a team-high eight points coming off the bench for the Engineers (6-7, 2-5 NEWMAC).

The first nine minutes of the opening frame were a defensive battle as two free throws and a layup by freshman Briana Hunt (Auburndale, Mass.) put the visitors in front, 9-5. Battipaglia trimmed MIT's deficit with a jumper on its next possession, but sophomore Erin Young (Westwood, Mass.) buried back-to-back three-pointers to give Babson a 15-7 lead at the 10:23 mark. The game became a scoreless affair during the next four minutes until a put-back by freshman Kristen Ferola (Florence, Mass.) ignited a 16-6 run that resulted in a 31-13 advantage for the Beavers at halftime. Collins accounted for 12 points during the rally, including a stretch of eight in a row.

After recording the final basket of the first half, Collins picked up right where she left off as she sank a layup after nine seconds expired in the second stanza. Babson maintained its comfortable margin throughout the half as the lead eventually grew to 23 (48-25) courtesy of a trey from freshman Linnett Graber (Roseland, N.J.) with 6:35 on the clock. Despite the deficit, the Engineers produced a 9-3 spurt that was sparked by a layup from sophomore Kirstyn Hein (Pinckney, Mich.) and featured five points by junior Rachel Hunt (Arlington Heights, Ill.) to make the score 51-34 with just under four minutes left to play. Freshman Alicia Wilde's (Franklin, Mass.) layup completed the scoring for the Beavers while freshman Durva Bhandare (North Brunswick, N.J.) converted the front-end of a one-and-one to set up the final result.

Freshman Sabrina Drammis (Hilton Head Island, S.C.) tallied six rebounds, four points, three blocks, and two steals for the Cardinal and Gray while Rachel Hunt finished with seven points, five boards, and three blocks. Freshman Maya Ramachandran (Fremont, Calif.) posted five points, five rebounds, and two steals as sophomore Mari Kordell (Ijamsville, Md.) dished out a game-high five assists.

Briana Hunt notched seven points, three rebounds, and two assists while Wilde contributed six points and three rebounds. Graber and freshman Megan Otto (Scituate, Mass.) both snagged four rebounds as Graber registered three assists.

Both squads continue NEWMAC play on Saturday, January 12. MIT will visit Springfield College while Babson hosts Smith College in a battle of undefeated conference squads.