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Women...s Basketball Team Opens Season With Strong Offense

By Travis Johnson
ASSOCIATE SPORTS EDITOR

Things are going to be different this year for MIT Women’s Basketball. With a new coach, a good freshman class and a new fast-paced approach, the Engineers hope they can improve on their 4-19 record from last year.

Over the weekend they opened their season 1-1, defeating St. Joseph’s College 78-56 on Friday and losing to Maine Maritime Academy 63-78 on Saturday.

The opening game of the season Friday night against St. Joseph’s College showed Coach Trish O’Brien’s offensive approach: run, run, run. And run they did, scoring 78 points, more than they did in any game last season.

But their defense and rebounding weren’t at the same level as their offense and will have to improve if they want a winning season.

Even against St. Joseph’s, the team they blew out, MIT was out rebounded 44-39, and the margin grew to 44-37 against Maine Maritime. But what really hurt was offensive rebounds: MIT allowed 19 in their loss, which Maine converted into 19 second chance points.

Part of this year’s fast paced style of play is pressure defense, sometimes full court sometimes half. The defense was successful in that it forced turnovers and got MIT easy baskets, but had a side effect: fouls.

Engineer defenders often turned up the pressure too high and got foul after foul, sending their opponents to the free throw line 28 and 33 times respectively.

The first half against Maine Maritime was close, with MIT leading 29-25 in the closing minutes. But the Mariners got hot, scoring 5 straight points to end the half and taking a 30-29 lead into the locker room.

Maine’s momentum carried over to the second half as MIT turnovers combined with their good shooting to put Maine ahead 45-30. Coach O’Brien called two timeouts along the way to try and change the trend, but Maine just rolled on.

An encouraging sign for MIT’s season is that after being blitzed to start the second half, they played even with the Mariners for the rest of the game, pulling within nine at one point and losing by the same fifteen the gave up at the start of the half.

Point guard Kimberly E. Soo Hoo ’08 led MIT offensively, dishing out 10 assists in the first game and 4 in the second. Soo Hoo’s favorite targets were Clara J. Yuan ’09, a shooter who hit seven three pointers over the weekend, and captain Karen A. Kinnaman ’05, who averaged 16 points.

After every defensive rebound or opponent’s basket, MIT made a quick outlet pass to one of their ball handlers who pushed it up the floor, looking for guards spotting up for a shot or forwards cutting to the basket. They resembled the Phoenix Suns, with Soo Hoo playing the part of Steve Nash.