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Women...s Basketball Defeats Polytechnic With Tough Defense

By Travis Johnson

The MIT Women’s Basketball team blew out visiting Polytechnic University 75-42 this Saturday, led by 29 bench points and suffocating defense.

The Polytechnic Fighting Blue Jays, hailing from Brooklyn, were clearly outclassed from the tip-off onward. They showed no ability to break MIT’s press defense, turning the ball over 15 times in the first half. With the press defense working and leading to easy shots for their offense, MIT jumped to a 14-3 lead and never looked back.

After the initial blitz, MIT moved their defense back to the half court but didn’t turn down the pressure. By the end MIT’s defense and Polytech’s sloppiness gave MIT 33 points off 30 turnovers.

Leading the charge offensively for the Engineers was star freshmen Clara J. Yuan ’09, who scored 16 points in 23 minutes of action. Yuan, an outside shooter, had a great day from the field, shooting 64 percent and hitting 2 three-pointers.

Coordinating things as usual was point guard Kimberly E. Soo Hoo ’08, who dished 8 assists and dropped 10 points of her own. Soo Hoo led MIT’s new fast-paced attack style with quickness and court vision, executing look-off and shovel passes in the fast break and directing traffic by pointing and yelling instructions to her teammates.

Before Coach Trish O’Brien turned to the bench for the last 10 minutes, MIT’s offense committed only 4 turnovers and shot 45 percent from the floor.

But the overriding story of the game was Polytech’s ineptitude. Their offensive leaders, Elizabeth Clifton and Kristen Partch, scored 29 of their points but needed 26 shots to do it, and also committed 17 turnovers. Clifton was often out of control during Blue Jay’s fast breaks, on one occasion running into Cherelle R. Walls ’07 who took the charge and earned a standing ovation from her coaches and teammates.

Defensively, the Blue Jays gave MIT free reign to shoot three pointers early with a 3-2 zone that didn’t cover the perimeter well at all. After switching to a man-to-man the story wasn’t much better, as MIT’s fast break beat a fatigued Blue-Jays squad down the floor.

MIT’s weaknesses early in the season, fouls and rebounding, were problems on Saturday as well, but not to the extent of their early games. MIT gave up 15 offensive rebounds and committed 19 fouls leading to 19 Polytech free throws attempts. But the bright spots far outweighed the dark, as MIT’s bench played extremely well. Seven bench players got 10 or more minutes, and together they scored 29 points and actually extended MIT’s lead by two after the starters were removed for good with 10 minutes to play.

The win moves MIT’s record to 3-2 on the season. They play one more non-conference game before winter break, at home against Westfield State on Tuesday, Dec. 13. Conference play begins in January.