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Young B-Ball Team Finds Stride

By Travis Johnson

STAFF WRITER

MIT Women’s Basketball went 1-1 this past weekend, good for runner-up honors at the MIT Tip Off Classic.

The Engineers defeated Mount Ida College Friday night in dramatic comeback fashion, erasing a six point deficit with four minutes to play and winning 51-42. MIT then fell in the championship game to University of New England by a score of 53-36.

The Mustangs of Mount Ida led Friday’s match throughout the first half and most of the second, keeping the lead at about 4 to 6 points.

Until the turnaround late in the second half, MIT was plagued by turnovers and missed lay-ups. Especially early on, MIT lost a lot of possessions to poor passing and to miscommunication.

Coach Kristi Straub attributed these errors to “Jitters -- big time jitters,” as her lineup, which returned no starters from last season and featured a freshmen point guard, got accustomed to college basketball.

When they were able to hang on to the ball, their offense delivered good shots, often at point-blank range. But the Engineers had trouble finishing.

MIT stayed in the game despite these faults thanks to the hustle and offensive rebounding effort, particularly by forward Christa M. Margossian ’07 who would later be named to the all-tournament team.

The game turned around in the second half when MIT started to attack the basket, get fouled, and make their free throws. As Straub described it, “They couldn’t guard us off the dribble and when they tried, they would foul... so at the half we emphasized attacking off the dribble -- and it worked nicely!”

After a 30 second timeout with about four minutes to play, MIT went on a 15-0 nothing run that lasted the remainder of the game and featured some excellent foul shooting and ball handling.

Against the University of New England in Saturday’s championship game, every mistake MIT made was magnified and every flaw was more noticeable.

As Straub stated afterwards, “In this afternoon’s contest, we were on the opposite side of things, playing an opponent who was more athletic and quicker.”

The New England team dominated throughout, but there were positives for MIT. Turnovers were down from the night before, 30 to 23. The effort also never subsided, as evidenced by a 7-0 run in the middle of the second half that cut the deficit from 21 to 14.

As for the rest of the season, Coach Staub has three goals: “one, improve; two, have fun; and three, win a few games. I think that if we keep the focus on one and two, an ample supply of three will result.”