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With Four Injured, Women...s Basketball Loses 34-41

By Travis Johnson

Clara J. Yuan ’09 was the last woman standing for MIT Women’s Basketball on Saturday. Among the five players that started their first game in November, Yuan was the only one uninjured at the end of their season-ending 34-41 loss to Smith.

Without usual starting forwards Christa M. Margossian ’07 and Sharon M. Prange ’07, MIT (7-16, 2-11 NEWMAC) was still able to get off to a quick 9-2 start behind hot shooting from Yuan and turnovers by Smith (7-17, 2-11).

During that run, MIT lost their point guard and emotional leader Kimberly E. Soo Hoo ’08 when she fell hard on her knee after making a layup. Without Soo Hoo, the Engineer offense struggled, totaling only 13 points in the first half. Smith, though not much better offensively, was able to take a 19-13 lead into the break.

Karen A. Kinnaman ’06, who typically starts as the small forward for MIT, had a badly sprained ankle and was only available for limited action, meaning that after Soo Hoo was injured, Yuan was the only original starter on the floor.

Typically a shooting guard, Yuan was forced by the loss of Soo Hoo to play point guard and handle the ball as well as score. Working off the dribble, her shot is much less accurate, and Saturday wasn’t a great shooting night for her even when set. The result for Yuan was 3-16 shooting from the floor.

But Yuan had success driving to the basket and earning foul shots. Shooting 7-8 from the line, she kept her team within striking distance throughout the second half, but MIT was never able to regain the lead.

Smith’s offense exploited a big size advantage over MIT’s forwards and worked the ball inside as much as possible. Helena Charron in particular was able to use her size and good footwork to lead the Pioneer’s in scoring with 16.

Kinnaman saw her first action in the second half. She hobbled up and down the floor on her ankle, and contributed a point, two rebounds, and solid defense during her final game at MIT.

Samantha F. O’Keefe ’09 played heavy minutes at the forward position and played well at times and poorly at others. She led the team with a 66 percent shooting and grabbed six rebounds but committed nine turnovers that cost her team dearly.

The 2005–2006 season was an improvement for MIT, with seven wins and two in conference, compared with last season’s four wins and none in conference. Had there not been so many injuries, the team would have been competitive for a post-season birth, given to all but the bottom two teams in the NEWMAC.