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Women's Hoops Begin Seaon with Victory in Top-Off Classic

By Thomas Kettler
Staff Reporter

The women's basketball team started the season by winning the Tip-Off Classic a week ago at Rockwell Cage, beating Salve Regina 65-62 in the championship game.

The Engineers also beat the Wentworth Institute of Technology, 77-56, enroute to their championship. Simmons College blasted Wentworth by a score of 76-34 in the consolation game.

In the first half of the Wentworth game, Mari Casserburg '94 was the leading scorer with nine points for the Engineers. MIT finished the half with a 37-21 lead. The Engineers dominated the Leopards on both offense and defense, and Wentworth finished the half shooting only 28 percent from the floor.

At halftime, people in attendance were called to attempt a lay-up, a free throw and a three-pointer for prizes. Only Dave Ratliff, brother of Kristin Ratliff '95, and Dante Anderson were able to complete shots.

In the second half, MIT shot over 50 percent from the field and improved on its 42 percent performance at the line by shooting for 67 percent.

The team finished with four players in double figures in scoring led by Casserburg's 21. Jennifer Wozniak '95 and Ratliff finished with 12, while C. J. Doane '95 had 10.

Ratliff was the leading rebounder for the Engineers with nine while Tammy Porter '94 led the team in assists with four and in steals with eight. However, MIT did allow 28 offensive rebounds in the game and ended up only shooting 52 percent from the line.

Even so, Head Coach Suzan Rowe was upbeat about the team's performance. "It was a nice way to open the season. I was impressed with the teamwork out there and everyone's effort," she said. "What I like is that we had pretty much all around scoring."

In the first half of the championship game, Salve Regina ended the half with a 34-26 lead. Ratliff finished the half leading the Engineers with 10 points, and Casserburg had nine. Neither team shot very well from the field; both finished shooting under 40 percent from the floor.

Again, at halftime, people in attendance were called to make shots. George Hazzard, father of MIT assistant coach Geoff Hazzard, Joe Dowd, and Mark Throop were able to complete shots for prizes.

In the second half, the Newporters' inability to make free throws was their downfall as the Engineers battled back from a double-digit deficit in the second half to win the championship.

Salve Regina shot less than 25 percent from the charity stripe in the half, while MIT shot 62 percent from the line to finish at 60 percent for the game. They also shot 48 percent from the floor to finish at 42 percent.

Improvement was seen also in rebounding as the Engineers allowed eight fewer offensive rebounds from the previous game, but grabbed 14 more defensive rebounds.

Rowe said, "It was not pretty at all. I was not impressed with our performance today at all until the end when we just had to decide to put it together."

Team work seemed to be the problem on floor, Rowe said. "People weren't there getting together. At the end when it came down to it, they got together. They made it very exciting and we'll take the win even though it wasn't pretty," she said.

Individually, Casserburg was the leading scorer again with 20 and rebounder with 19, 10 of them offensive. Other players who scored in double figures include Jennifer Boyle '96 and Ratliff with 12 and Amy Mackay `97 with ten. Boyle and Casserburg tied for the lead in assists with three and Casserburg led in steals with four.

The all-tournament award winners included Heather Ross of Simmons, Kim McCabe of Wentworth, Kerry Ceurvels and Shannon Dugan of Salve Regina, and Boyle. Casserburg won the MVP award. But she was humble in accepting the award; "I don't really see it as a personal award. I think it's an award as a team for us coming back together as a team," she said.