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MIT Basketball Season Ends with Cohesive Joy

By Alisha Schor

Two losses marked the end of the MIT women’s basketball season last week, but they did not tell the whole story. Last Saturday’s game at Wheaton College left the Engineers only nine points down (47-56), while last Thursday’s game against Tufts (40-66) was a well played effort, a disappointment only because of an early deficit that was too large to make up. “We got off to a slow start [against Tufts], but we got ourselves back in it. It was just too big of a hole,” Maria E. Hidalgo ’04 said. Head Coach Kristi Straub agreed, noting that the team played well, discounting the opening minutes of the game: “If we take away the first eight minutes of the game, it was a seven point game. They built off a 19 point lead. We played hard, executed well, everything was right. We got the opportunities we wanted,” Straub said.

The Engineers were without the ball handling of guard Andrea J. Dooley ’06, but Jasmin Moghbeli ’06, back from injury, was able to play again. The change in lineup, however, did not seem to affect playing much as MIT proved that they had the skill in their ball handling and rebounds. “We were beat in transitions and they had a little speed on us. But overall there was a good progression through the season,” Straub said.

The game against Tufts also marked the last home game for this year’s seniors who were all sent into the game with three minutes left in play. While the minute and a half they played was intended as more of a ceremonial tribute, Hidalgo, a leading point-scorer throughout the season, did manage to collect two points. “We all enjoy playing out there. It was a fun game, it was tough. We picked it up at the end of the first half. I wanted this game to last forever,” Samia A. Mahjub ’04 said.

Last Saturday’s loss at Wheaton College set the Engineers’ final season record at 3-19, with all of their wins coming against non-NEWMAC opponents. A host of new players along with a new coach were among the factors contributing to the difficult season, as team members struggled to find their cohesiveness. “It’s always rough adjusting to new things. With a young team and a new coach it’s twice as hard,” Hidalgo said.

In any case, though, the 2003-2004 season was a valuable learning experience as a development and transition year. “I learned a lot this season. I only played [basketball] for two years here and the whole thing was a big learning experience,” Mahjub said.

And even now as the season is barely ending, the underclassmen look to next year for changes and improvement and will be able to bring the experiences of the past three months with them.