Women's Basketball Remains Perfect in NEWMAC with 56-53 Road Triumph at MIT

Ama Biney

Cambridge, MA --- In a back-and-forth fourth quarter, WPI put together six straight points late in regulation to emerge with a 56-53 victory over MIT in a NEWMAC women's basketball game on Saturday afternoon. Senior Sabrina Drammis (Hilton Head Island, SC) led all players with 18 points and 11 rebounds in addition to dishing out three assists for MIT (3-3, 2-1 NEWMAC). Sophomore Ama Biney (Worcester, MA) paced WPI's (7-1, 3-0 NEWMAC) balanced attack with 15 points to go along with a game-high four assists. 

MIT established an 18-7 advantage with 1:10 left in the opening quarter following back-to-back layups by freshman Kara Holinski (Livonia, MI) and a three-pointer from classmate Taylor V'Dovec (Blaine, WA). A trey by sophomore Madison Beck (Syracuse, NY) ended WPI's five-minute scoring drought but a Drammis jumper with eight seconds on the clock gave the hosts a 20-10 lead at the break.

An exchange of buckets started the second quarter as a pair of Drammis free throws moved the score to 24-14 at the 6:24 mark. Just over a minute later Biney converted a three-point play, kicking off a 9-2 spurt that saw senior Lisa Mendez's (Yonkers, NY) layup bring WPI within three (26-23) with 1:43 to go. A Holinski layup momentarily gave MIT some breathing room but Mendez replied with a trifecta, narrowing the gap to 28-26 at halftime.

MIT increased its lead with early layups from senior Maya Ramachandran (Fremont, CA) and Holinski; however, a bucket by Biney sparked a 15-4 run that put WPI in front, 41-36 with 1:17 left to play. Beck accounted for five points during the rally, including a three-pointer that gave WPI its first lead of the day, while Biney had four points. MIT countered with a Holinski trey and Ramachandran layup to enter the final frame tied at 41.

A pair of ties and lead changes marked the first two minutes of the fourth quarter. Following unsuccessful possessions by both sides, MIT inched ahead, 49-45, courtesy of layups by freshman Kristen Ngan (Sudbury, MA) and Holinski. WPI cut its deficit in half on a Mendez layup at 5:35 and then tied the game on a jumper by junior Tess Nogueira (Merrimac, MA) with just under four minutes to go. With 1:52 remaining, junior Liana Ilutzi (East Hanover, NJ) gave MIT a 51-49 edge when Ngan tipped a ball that was going out of bounds underneath MIT's basket to Ilutzi for the layup.

On WPI's next possession, a Luna jumper produced the final tie of the day while her own steal and layup quickly kept the visitors ahead for good. A steal by WPI sophomore Stasha Greenalch(Newington, CT) later put her at the free throw line where she hit the first of two attempts with 21 seconds remaining. MIT's next trip down the court resulted in a jumper that was off the mark and a foul on Greenalch, who sank the second of two shots at the charity stripe with 12 ticks on the clock. Following its own timeout, MIT used five seconds before Drammis buried a jumper that brought it within two (55-53). A foul sent Biney to the free throw line where she secured the victory on her second shot.

"I think we were able to make a couple more plays down the stretch and gain that slight advantage for the last minute but it could have gone either way," commented WPI head coach Cherise Galasso. "They are a very dangerous team." 

Holinski finished with 13 points and six rebounds as Ramachandran totaled 10 points, three blocks, and two assists for MIT. Ilutzi rounded out the squad with three assists.

Luna notched eight points and two steals as Beck generated eight points and four rebounds. Greenalch and junior Sarah Rogers (Colchester, CT) both grabbed five boards as Greenalch snagged two steals. Mendez bolstered WPI's scoring with seven points while senior Jessica Larsen(Poway, CA) dished out three assists.

"Ama really asserted herself today and was consistent but Madison Beck and Sarah Rogers gave us a big boost off the bench on both ends of the floor," continued Galasso. "Lisa Mendez once again was huge for us in crunch time. She just flat out makes big shots. I am really impressed with her level of play right now."

"We feel fortunate to come away with this one  against such a talented team and will enjoy it tonight. But tomorrow we will quickly turn our attention to our road game at Fitchburg Tuesday.  We are pleased with the early results but none of this will matter if we don't keep getting better every day and be able to compete down the stretch when it really matters." 

Both squads return to non-conference action on Tuesday, Dec. 8. MIT will host Framingham State while WPI will travel to Fitchburg State.

Release Courtesy MIT Sports Information