Smith Holds on to Defeat MIT, 77-70, in NEWMAC Tournament Quarterfinal

Smith Holds on to Defeat MIT, 77-70, in NEWMAC Tournament Quarterfinal

THE BASICS:

- Score: #5 Smith College 77, #4 MIT 70

- Records: MIT (20-6); Smith (18-8)

- Location: Cambridge, Mass. (Rockwell Cage)

- The Lead: An 8-of-10 performance at the charity stripe during the final minute of regulation helped #5 seed Smith College hold on for a 77-70 victory over #4 MIT in the quarterfinals of the NEWMAC Women's Basketball Tournament on Wednesday. Sophomore Taylor V'Dovec (Blaine, Wash.) paced the Engineers with a game-high 26 points to go along with eight rebounds. One of five players to reach double-digits for the Pioneers, Kennedy Guest-Pritchett led the way with 19 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

- MIT inched out to a 10-7 lead with 3:12 left in the opening quarter. Two free throws by Guest-Pritchett on Smith's next possession sparked a 12-4 run to end the quarter.

- The Pioneers carried the momentum into the second stanza as their advantage grew to 45-26 courtesy of Lauren Biondi's three-pointer at the buzzer.

- The third quarter was a balanced shooting performance that saw the Engineers narrow the gap to 58-45 on V'Dovec's jumper at the end of the frame.

- MIT continued to chip away at the deficit in the fourth quarter, eventually coming within five (73-68) after two free throws by senior Liana Ilutzi (East Hanover, N.J.) with 29 seconds left. The visitors turned the ball over on their ensuing possession but sophomore Dolly Yuan's (San Jose, Calif.) three-pointer was off the mark. After securing the rebound, Biondi was fouled and then she drained both shots from the charity stripe with 18 ticks remaining. The Engineers replied with an Ilutzi layup but Jade Chihara secured the victory for Smith courtesy of two free throws with 10 seconds to play.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- Ilutzi finished with 13 points and four assists while sophomore Kristen Ngan (Sudbury, Mass.) chipped in nine points and two steals. Freshman Cindy Si (San Antonio, Texas) produced eight points and two steals as sophomore Kara Holinski (Livonia, Mich.) dished out four assists.

- Katy McClellan earned a double-double on 12 points and 10 rebounds while Biondi tallied 11 points, seven boards, and four assists. Paige Marquez posted 12 points as Meghan Holland totaled 11 points and four assists.

- Smith shot 50 percent from the floor (28-56) and three-point range (8-16) while MIT finished with a 47.4 field-goal percentage and only hit three shots from behind the arc. Both squads generated 34 points in the point as the Engineers held a 13-11 edge in points off turnovers. The Pioneers out-rebounded the hosts, 40-22, helping them record a 20-7 advantage in second-chance points.

UP NEXT:

- Smith will take on host and top-seeded Babson College in the NEWMAC Tournament semifinals on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 12:00 p.m.

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