CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Clark University generated 10 unanswered points during the final two minutes of regulation to claim a one-point lead but a three-point play by MIT junior Mari Kordell (Ijamsville, Md.) with 24.3 seconds on the clock coupled with another free throw by the point guard with 0.7 ticks left helped the Engineers capture a 61-58 NEWMAC women's basketball victory on Saturday afternoon. Kordell led all players with 21 points and added two steals for MIT which improved to 10-13 on the year and 7-11 in conference play. Senior Ashleigh Condon (Hull, Mass.) paced the Cougars (9-14, 6-12 NEWMAC) with 15 points to go along with a game-high five steals and three assists.
Clark jumped out to a 6-2 lead later created a 15-10 margin on a three-pointer from freshman Aretha Sullivan (Worcester, Mass.) at the 11:54 mark. On the Engineers' ensuing possession, junior Michelle Battipaglia (Katonah, N.Y.) drained a layup which sparked an 11-6 run as a Kordell trey put them in front, 21-20, with 5:16 left. Senior Emily Reilly's (Marlborough, Mass.) free throw evened the score; however, two shots at the charity stripe by sophomore Maya Ramachandran (Fremont, Calif.) gave the Cardinal and Gray a small cushion. The Cougars responded with six straight points, including a pair of Condon buckets, to go up 27-23. MIT cut its deficit in half 20 seconds before the intermission on a layup by junior Osheiza Otori (Metairie, La.).
The tight play continued into the second stanza as three ties and a lead change occurred before the Engineers slowly mounted a 14-5 run which resulted in a 47-40 advantage at the 7:48 mark. A trifecta by sophomore Brooke Brennan (Weston, Mass.) ended Clark's scoring drought but MIT outscored the visitors, 10-5, during the next four minutes to establish its largest margin of the day at 57-48.
The Cougars' comeback attempt began with a three-point play by senior Esther Cohn (Chapel Hill, N.C.) with 2:12 remaining, which was followed by another conventional three-point score from senior Megan Grondin (Cumberland, Maine) at 1:38. After an offensive foul by the Engineers, Grondin knocked in a layup with just under a minute left. A steal by Reilly eventually resulted in Condon going to the charity stripe where she knocked down both of her shots, putting Clark ahead, 58-57, with 24.3 seconds on the clock.
The lead was erased six seconds later as Kordell drove down the court and hit a jumper in the middle of the lane while being fouled. Following her successful free-throw attempt, the Cougars made their last charge. Condon's shot was off the mark with the loose ball being pounced on by both sides, resulting in a jump ball in favor of Clark with six seconds to go. Following a timeout by the Cougars, Brennan put up a shot from behind the arc but her attempt bounced off the back of the rim. Kordell grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 0.7 ticks left, putting her at the free-throw line where she hit the first of her two attempts to secure the win.
Sophomore Sabrina Drammis (Hilton Head Island, S.C.) tallied 12 points, six rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and two steals for MIT. Ramachandran registered a game-high 13 rebounds and added six points and two blocks. Battipaglia finished with 11 points while senior Rachel Hunt (Arlington Heights, Ill.) posted seven boards and six points.
Grondin notched 13 points and three steals as Reilly generated nine points, seven rebounds, and two assists. Cohn totaled nine points, nine boards, and three steals while Brennan rounded out the squad with nine points and four rebounds.
Both squads return to action on Wednesday, Feb. 19 with match-ups against NEWMAC opponents as MIT will travel to Babson College while Clark will host Emerson College.