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In their first NEWMAC matchup of the year, the women’s basketball team beat the U.S. Coast Guard Academy 59-24 on Tuesday night. The Engineers registered their first conference-opening win since the 2002-03 season and also surrendered the fewest points to a league opponent in program history. In addition, the Cardinal and Gray’s ledger of 4-2 equals its best start since the 2000-01 campaign.

A jumper by Tamara R. Pena ’14, who was just named the NEWMAC Athlete of the Week for her performances last week against Pinor Manor College and Fisher College, and a three-pointer from Lauren S. Burton ’13 put MIT in front less than two minutes in to the game. Following over three minutes of scoreless play, the Bears finally got on the scoreboard, but the Engineers responded with nine unanswered points to increase their lead to 14-2 at the 12:17 mark. At the ten-minute mark, a three by Pena started an 18-6 Engineer run which resulted in a 24-point lead for MIT at halftime.

MIT maintained its comfortable margin as it outscored Coast Guard, 23-12, in the second stanza. A basket by Kathryn O. Harris ’12 inside the final minute gave the Engineers their largest lead of the night and also set up the final score of 59-24.

Pena powered MIT with 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including a 5-of-9 performance from behind the arc. She also tacked on three assists and three steals. Sydney B. Beasley ’14 compiled 13 points, a game-high five steals, five rebounds, and two blocks as Burton totaled seven points, seven boards, a game-high five assists, and three steals. Anna L. Merrifield ’12 grabbed a team-best nine rebounds while Rachel A. Hunt ’14 posted six boards, three assists, and two blocks. Margo A. Batie ’14 bolstered the rebounding corps with four caroms, including three off the offensive glass.

The Engineers led the way in rebounding (46-28), points in the paint (24-12), points off turnovers (33-10), and bench scoring (21-2). On the season, MIT registered highs for field goal percentage (.448), steals (18), and tied its season-best mark for blocks (seven).

MIT returns to action December 4, when they visit Babson College.