Wellesley Outlasts MIT, 54-53
Jan. 16, 2008
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Wellesley College survived a late rally by MIT and emerged with a 54-53 victory in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's basketball action on Wednesday night. The Blue's (4-9, 1-2 NEWMAC) Julia Thomas led all scorers with 14 points on six-of-nine shooting from the floor while grabbing 14 rebounds for her fifth consecutive double-double. Kelsey Cappelle paced the Engineers (6-6, 0-2 NEWMAC) with 13 points to go along with seven boards.
Each side traded baskets to start the game until back-to-back jumpers by Thomas resulted in a 13-8 advantage for Wellesley midway through the frame. MIT narrowed the margin to three (18-15) over four minutes later on a bucket by Samia Mahjub. A three-point play by Courtney Richter sparked a 13-5 run which gave the Blue its largest lead of the night (31-20) with 59 seconds remaining in the half. A put-back by Cheryl Kwinn and then a jumper from Kimberly Soo Hoo at the buzzer cut the Engineers' deficit to seven (31-24) at the break.
Wellesley regained its 11-point edge (39-28) at the 15:34 mark of the second stanza on a three-pointer by Laura Barrett. During the next two minutes, both squads exchanged baskets with the Blue maintaining a comfortable edge (43-34). Clara Yuan drained a trey on MIT's ensuing possession which was quickly followed with a bucket by Cappelle. After two minutes of scoreless play, Yuan narrowed the gap to two (43-41), but Katie Frett immediately countered with a basket of her own. During the Engineers' next trip down the court, Alice Yeh converted from behind the arc, however, Courtney Pelley increased Wellesley's lead to three. Yeh continued to find success from three-point range as her shot evened the contest at 47 with 8:37 remaining.
Following a two-minute scoring drought, a lay-up by Thomas put the Blue ahead for good. Richter's three-pointer gave Wellesley a cushion as Cappelle recorded MIT's first basket in over five minutes. Thomas registered the Blue's final bucket with 2:35 to go while jumpers from Yuan and Cappelle brought the Engineers within one (54-53) at the 1:15 mark. Neither side was able to increase their point total during their following possessions, forcing MIT to foul and send Wellesley to the charity stripe with 23 seconds left. Mahjub grabbed the defensive rebound off the front end of a one-and-one attempt. Following an Engineers' timeout, Yuan's three-point shot fell short and Cappelle and Thomas swarmed in for the rebound. A jumpball was called and possession was awarded to the Blue with six seconds remaining. MIT fouled on the ensuing in-bounds pass and Wellesley was unable to extend its advantage at the free-throw line. The Engineers snagged the rebound but could not get off a shot during the last three seconds of regulation.
Coming off the bench, Yeh tallied 11 points while Yuan added nine. Kwinn grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds as Soo Hoo dished out six assists. Mahjub bolstered MIT's defensive efforts with three steals.
Richter and Pelley each contributed 10 points for Wellesley as Katie Martore led the way with five assists and three steals.
Both teams will continue NEWMAC play on the road on Saturday, Jan. 19. MIT will make the trip to Babson College while Wellesley will travel to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.