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In a close game on Saturday afternoon, the MIT Women’s Basketball team defeated WPI 61-57 in a battle that was hard-fought until the end. MIT improved its record to 4-3 overall and 1-1 in NEWMAC. Impressive offense and a strong defensive front made up the difference in this game for the Engineers.

The first half’s fast-paced back-and-forth action prompted multiple lead changes and ties and showed off MIT’s proficient offense. Rachel A. Hunt ’14 was on fire with 6 of 8 shooting throughout the game and a notable 3-point play in the first half that created the momentum for MIT’s 10-2 run. Sharon S. Hao ’14 also brought energy to the play with a 3-pointer that took MIT to 32-27 at the close of the first half.

The beginning of the second half mirrored the first in its fast-paced back-and-forth action until Tamara R. Pena ’14 made a crucial 3-pointer that pushed MIT ahead to 42-37. After a 13-4 run by WPI, MIT went on a 9-0 run with only two minutes left. Once again, quick back-and-forth play brought the game to 57-57 following a 3-pointer by WPI’s Lauren Hannmann. Mari R. Kordell ’15 made a crucial jump shot with a mere 10 seconds left to bring MIT to 59, and as Pena grabbed the rebound from WPI’s next possession, she was instantly fouled and made both her free throws to close the game at 61-57.

A crucial component to MIT’s defense was the number of blocks they made — an impressive nine, of which seven were from Hunt, versus WPI’s three. MIT also made 10 steals as opposed to WPI’s eight, and overall brought an extremely high energy level to the game. The team’s offense was just as impressive as its defense. The team had a 44.4-percent field goal percentage versus WPI’s 32.8 percent. MIT also scored 18 second-chance points versus WPI’s eight, even though WPI had 19 offensive rebounds whereas MIT only had 11.

Both teams had good bench participation, with 14 points coming from MIT’s bench, six of which came from Anna L. Merrifield ’13, who also led the team with seven rebounds.

MIT will next play the U.S. Coast Guard Academy on Tuesday, Dec. 6.