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Despite Early 7-2 Advantage, Women...s Hoops Behind By 19 at Halftime, Unable to Catch WPI

By Mindy Brauer

A pair of key runs in each half helped power WPI to a 66-45 victory over MIT in a NEWMAC women’s basketball game on Saturday.

Clara J. Yuan ’09, Sharon M. Prange ’07, and Amy J. Marshall ’09 each tallied 10 points for MIT. WPI’s Meghan Pajonas finished the day with 23 points and 10 rebounds, after accumulating 17 points and seven boards in the opening period.

MIT (3-10, 0-3) recorded the first two baskets of the game before Kate Maki put WPI (9-5, 2-1 NEWMAC) on the scoreboard after 2:32 had elapsed. On MIT’s next possession, Michal A. Ruchelsman ’07 drained a three-pointer to give the Engineers their largest lead of the day at 7-2.

A pair of free throws by Pajonas sparked a 19-2 run that resulted in a 21-9 advantage at the 10:52 mark. MIT was able to cut the deficit to nine on two occasions, the last time at 26-17 with seven minutes remaining in the half. WPI continued to find success from the floor as its lead grew to 19 points (42-23) on a trey by Caitlin Macko right before the buzzer sounded at the intermission.

MIT opened the second half with a 13-3 run during the first six minutes to narrow the margin to 10 (45-35). Yuan ignited the spree with a three-pointer which was answered by a trey from Macko. After two minutes of scoreless play, Yuan ended the drought with a lay-up which was followed by back-to-back baskets and a free throw by Marshall. On WPI’s ensuing possession, Marshall picked up a steal and set up Lauren N. Simmons ’10 for what proved to be the final bucket of the run.

Macko notched WPI’s first basket in six minutes at the 12:28 mark, which set off a 17-2 Worcester run for a 64-37 lead with 4:19 left to play, a lead largely unchallenged in the waning minutes.

Prange picked up a team-high seven rebounds, two steals, and a block while Ruchelsman grabbed six boards. Kimberly E. SooHoo ’08 dished out five assists for MIT.

Both teams continue conference play on the road today. MIT will visit Wheaton College while WPI will travel to Wellesley College.