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W. Basketball Falls to Mt. Holyoke

By Erion J. Clark

The MIT women’s basketball team tried its hand at ‘Lyon’ taming on Saturday, in the Rockwell Cage before over 100 fans. Unfortunately, the Mount Holyoke Lyons outlasted the Engineers to defeat them 77-74 in overtime.

Despite nearly identical statistics, MIT allowed the Lyons to make the most of second chances. First year assistant coach Nitza Basoco explains, “We gave them too many opportunities... too many offensive rebounds.”

Both teams controlled 16 offensive boards, but the Lyons were more able to score on quick second shots than the Engineers, who normally used their offensive rebounds to reset their offense.

The offense found its high gear, as the Engineers scored their highest point total (74) of the season. MIT finished regulation with 64 points, their second highest regulation total to date. Both wins for the Engineers this season have come when they have scored more than 60 points. Not since the January 9 game against Worcester Polytechnic Institute have the Engineers scored 60 points or better. This has, in part, hindered MIT, as the women’s team still seeks its first win of the new year.

What has helped MIT in this season’s campaign is the spirited, scrappy play of the front court. Captain center Cristina Estrada ’01 scored 23 points against Mt. Holyoke, before fouling out late in the second half. Forwards Katy Conley ’01 and Crystal Russell ’03 provided 10 points each. In the backcourt, Dwan C. Riddick ’03 and Eboney Smith ’01 provided stern defense. Riddick and Abby Willets ’01 recorded 2 steals each.

MIT pulls to tie in second half

Tech came out in the second half trailing 22-27. With their pressing defense forcing Mount Holyoke to miss early second half shots, they created chances to pull ahead. Willets gave MIT the lead with 14:40 remaining in the 2nd half with a basket. Down the stretch, there were many lead changes. As it seemed that Tech would fall in regulation, Crystal Russell evened the score up with 1:27 remaining in the half with a 3-point play.

Mt. Holyoke’s front court led the way in scoring (forwards Laura Dodge and Jennifer Williams, centers Elizabeth Williams and Anne Osowski) with 62 of the Lyons’ 77 total points. They also made their way to the line for foul shots down the stretch. Although both teams didn’t shoot well from the charity stripe (Mt. Holyoke - 51.7 percent, MIT 48 percent), Tech lead until a Mt. Holyoke shot evened the score at 64, seconds before the buzzer.

In overtime, Tech was short-handed in the paint, with Estrada on the bench with 5 personal fouls and Willets reaggravating an first half injury. Using this to their advantage, the Lyons worked the ball inside against MIT and pushed Tech’s record to 2-11.

The Engineers seek to finish up January on a strong note with games against Wellesley, Elms and Smith colleges. With a healthy winning streak going into the second semester, Tech can secure another winning season and prepare to make a run at claiming the NEWMAC title.