WORCESTER -- In its return to the court, the WPI women's basketball team came away with a 48-46 victory over national-ranked Bates Wednesday night in game one of the WPI Holiday Tournament.
In a battle between (formerly) 7-1 teams, WPI dominated the paint, out rebounding the No. 22 Bobcats 48-35 and outscoring Bates 32-20 in the paint en route to the victory. Additionally, the WPI bench accounted for 30 of the team's 48 points, while Bates' bench chipped in five in the outing.
One of those off the bench efforts for the Engineers (8-1) was a game-high 15-point night from Emily Raynowska (Brentwood, NH) who also added nine rebounds, inches away from her first career double-double. Kara ONeil (Holden, MA) added 11 points, seven rebounds and shot 55.6 percent from the field and Alex Scariati (Scotch Plains, NJ) paced all players with six assists.
Bates was led by Morgan Kennedy (Oklahoma City, OK) and Brianna Gadaleta (Chappaqua, NY) who turned in 12-point performances while Meghan Graff's (South Portland, ME) effort down the stretch propelled her to a team-high 13 points.
The two teams traded leads throughout the first quarter with Bates leading after the first 10 minutes of action, 15-12, thanks to a Kennedy layup that landed with five seconds remaining in the stanza.
The two teams were evenly matched throughout the second frame as well as three-straight early buckets including back-to-back buckets from Raynowska and one from O'Neil gave the Engineers a 20-17 lead with 6:26 to go. An Alyson Kennedy (Oklahoma City, OK) trey for Bates evened the score at 22-all and a Gadaleta jumper with one minute to go in the first half put the Bobcats on top by two heading into the intermission, 24-22.
WPI made its move in the third quarter thanks to three-straight buckets from Raynowska to turn a 28-28 deadlock into a 34-28 Engineer advantage. Raynowska would ultimately rally off 11-straight points for WPI during the final 4:41 of action in the third quarter helping WPI to a 39-33 lead with 10 minutes to go.
After Bates cut the lead to four, Scariati drained a three to make it a seven-point game. Five-straight points from Graff for Bates made things interesting down the stretch as she was able to make it a two-point ballgame, 48-46 with just over a minute to go, but the Engineers were able to hold off the Bobcats for the win.
The Crimson and Gray enjoyed a sizaable 48-35 edge on the glass and a 13-4 advantage in second chance points with senior Jordan Wynn (Groton, MA) leading the way with 10 boards. Bates forced 22 turnovers on the night and led the points off turnover catagory by a 21-9 margin.
WPI is back in action with its second game of the Holiday Tournament with a New Year's Eve matchup with Susquehanna at 1pm on Friday afternoon. Bates will take on Susquehanna tomorrow afternoon at 4pm in its second game of the Holiday Tournament.