Pink balloons lined Rockwell Cage Saturday afternoon while fans dressed in pink packed the bleachers. Not only was it Senior Day for the MIT Women’s Basketball team’s final home game, but it was also the “Play4Kay” initiative. This fundraiser by the Kay Row Cancer Fund, in collaboration with the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, aimed to raise funds for breast cancer research and generate awareness on the courts and in communities.
The Kay Row Fund has raised over $4.5 million to date, and the Engineers collaborated with the fund for its last home game and had volunteers collect money at the front of Rockwell.
“It was amazing to see so many people come out to support our program on pinkzone and Senior Day; we’ve come a long way in my three years here, thanks in large part to the dedication of our seniors, Liz and Kathryn,” said Anna L. Merrifield ’13. “Play for Kay is a great cause, and it was fun to end our season on such a positive note,” she added.
The Engineers entered the game with a 10-13 record overall while the Cougars brought a 15-9 advantage. MIT and Clark exchanged baskets early on until the Cougars went on a massive offensive run, outscoring the Engineers 11-2. However, the Engineers quickly responded with an impressive 3 from Tamara R. Pena ’14. The Cougars attacked back defensively and also got into an offensive rhythm to outscore MIT 8-0 to end the first half at 26-15 (Cougars).
The second half was marked by more aggressive play from the Engineers. At the beginning of the half, Clark went on another run and hit its highest lead of the game, 35-20. But the Engineers were not done fighting. Sharon S. Hao ’14 scored a nice jump shot that sparked a new energy in the Engineers. Mari R. Kordell ’15 then went on to make another jumper, followed by a 3 from Hao, a jumper from Alexxis R. Isaac ’15, and a 3 from Margo A. Batie ’14 to bring the Engineers back within five points from the Cougars.
The Cougars challenged the Engineers in the last five minutes, but Anna L. Merrifield ’13 charged back with a three that brought the game to 47-41. A jump shot and four free throws, however, brought the Cougars back up to a double-digit lead. The Engineers fought back once more with a nice three from Merrifield and two free throws from Lauren S. Burton ’13 to bring the game to 53-46 (Cougars). However, Clark capitalized on its next four free throw attempts to end the game at 61-50 (Cougars).
The Engineers brought a great energy to the second half and were more aggressive than the Cougars with 13 steals throughout the game vs. Clark’s 9. MIT also did a great job of keeping the turnover rate low and capitalizing on Clark’s high turnover rate. MIT had 15 turnovers vs. Clark’s 27 and made 21 points off of the turnovers vs. Clark’s 11. The Engineers also had great bench participation with 22 bench points over Clark’s 15.
The fundraiser was a nice way to bring the community together, rally for a great cause, and bring out a competitive spirit in the players and the fans. The Cougars attacked, but the Engineers fought back and ended the regular season 10-14. I hope we’ll see the Engineers bring this aggressive energy that we saw in the second half of this game to next season.