Women's Basketball Defeats Springfield, 66-55, to Advance to NEWMAC Tournament Semifinals

Dolly Yuan
Courtesy of Robert Krawitz

THE BASICS:

- Score: No. 5 MIT 66, No. 4 Springfield College 55

- Records: MIT (16-9); Springfield (18-8)

- Location: Springfield, Mass. (Blake Arena)

- The Lead: Behind a career and game-high 26 points from junior Dolly Yuan (San Jose, Calif.), the No. 5 seeded MIT women's basketball team defeated No. 4 Springfield College, 66-55, in the quarterfinals of the NEWMAC Tournament on Wednesday. With the victory, the Engineers secured a spot in the semifinals for the fifth time in program history and first since 2003.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

- MIT jumped out to an 11-2 lead as it went 3-for-3 from three-point range during the first four minutes. Springfield narrowed the gap to four on two occasions, the last at 15-11 with 1:25 left. The Engineers replied with a bucket by freshman Kylie Gallagher (Upton, Mass.) and then a Yuan trey at the buzzer to create some breathing room.

- The visitors scored four out of the first five points of the second stanza to build a 24-12 advantage at the 7:45 mark, however, the Pride rattled off seven straight points in less than two minutes. Junior Kara Holinski (Livonia, Mich.) buried a three-pointer on MIT's ensuing possession, setting off an exchange of baskets that was capped by Yuan's layup which established a 36-27 halftime advantage.

- The back-and-forth scoring continued into the third quarter until Springfield recorded five points in a row, trimming its deficit to 40-34 with 4:02 on the clock. Holinski quickly buried a jumper, sparking a 7-0 run during the next 3:29. The Pride ended its scoring drought courtesy of a layup with eight ticks left and then opened the final frame with another layup.

- Both teams hit a pair of free throws to maintain the nine-point margin but Yuan's trifecta kicked off a 7-2 burst that created the Engineers' largest lead (56-42) with 5:40 remaining. The hosts came within nine points with just under two minutes left, however, MIT went 6-of-8 at the charity stripe to secure the win.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- In addition to her big scoring performance, Yuan led all players with four assists. Holinski finished with 15 points as Gallagher amassed 11 points, a game-high 10 rebounds and five blocks, and two steals. Junior Taylor V'Dovec (Blaine, Wash.) rounded out the Engineers with nine points, seven boards, and three assists.

- MIT ended the night with a 45.3 – 36.7 advantage in field-goal percentage, including a 7-of-16 (43.8 percent) performance from three-point range while Springfield was 3-of-11 from behind the arc. The Engineers also had a 19-3 margin in points off turnovers. The Pride had the upper hand in rebounds (40-28) and points in the paint (26-20) while both squads registered 10 second-chance points.

UP NEXT:

- MIT travels to top-seeded Smith College for a 1:00 p.m. semifinal match-up on Saturday, Feb. 24. The Engineers and Pioneers split the season series while Smith defeated MIT, 77-70, in the quarterfinals of the 2017 NEWMAC Tournament.

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