WELLESLEY, Mass. – First year Caitlin Aguirre (El Paso, Texas) led all scorers with a career-high 21 points, but Wellesley College basketball dropped an 83-69 New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) final to Babson College on National Girls & Women in Sports Day, Wednesday night at Dorothy Towne Fieldhouse.
Babson, the current front-runner in the NEWMAC, improves to 17-4 on the season and 11-1 in league play, defeating the Blue for the second time on the year to drop Wellesley to 8-10 overall and 4-8 in conference.
Senior Jennifer Narlee (Medfield, Mass.) delivered a complete effort to lead Babson, recording a double double with 14 points and a game-high 18 rebounds, to go along with two steals, two blocks and a game-high five assists. Junior Brenna LeGacy (Attleboro, Mass.) dropped in a team-leading 20 points for Babson, finishing in double-figures for the second-straight game. Senior Giovanna Pickering (Hull, Mass.) joined Narlee and LeGacy in double figures with 15 points, while tying with Narlee for game-high honors with five assists. Senior guard Taylor Russell (Braintree, Mass.) finished just shy of double-figures with nine points and a pair of steals.
Aguirre broke the 20-point plateau for the first time in her rookie season, as Wellesley's leading scorer finished 7-of-13 from the floor and a perfect 3-for-3 from long range. The first year guard added four rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal. First year Kendall You Mak (San Francisco, Calif.) chipped in with 13 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals, while classmates Keer Sun (Pine Brook, N.J.) and Lauren Dines (Tenafly, N.J.) tallied nine and eight points, respectively. Sophomore Zojajha Ayub (Belle Mead, N.J.) also had eight points and junior Kayla Jang (South Pasadena, Calif.) grabbed a team-high five rebounds.
The Blue and the Beavers played a highly entertaining opening ten minutes, combining for 50 points in the game's first quarter. Babson shot a blistering 71.4 percent from the field in the first, while the Blue fired back at 61.6 percent. Babson first year Jacqueline Jozefick (Milford, Conn.) made good on her only attempt from the floor to open the second quarter, giving the Beavers a five-point edge with a triple at 9:14. The Babson lead disappeared quickly thanks to a 6-2 Wellesley run, capped by a jumper from Aguirre that pushed the Blue ahead 31-30 with 7:41 left before the half. The crosstown rivals battled back-and-forth, until a jumper from LeGacy at 3:49 put Babson up 38-36. The Babson lead eventually grew to seven points in the final minute of the second quarter, before Wellesley junior Chelsea Brown (San Jose, Calif.) closed the half with a jumper to make the score 45-40 at the break.
Babson built on their five-point edge in the third quarter, outscoring the Blue 18-14 to carry a 63-54 advantage into the fourth. Legacy scored nine of her 20 points in the third to lead the way for Babson. She added three more in the fourth, while Narlee ripped down 10 rebounds, as the Beavers constructed their largest lead of the contest, at 81-63, with 2:01 to play.
Babson finished the game at 47.7 percent from the field, hitting 4-of-10 attempts from beyond the arc, while holding a 49-30 edge on the glass. Wellesley countered at 40.7 percent from the field and 8-of-16 (50%) from three-point range.
Wellesley is off this weekend and will return to NEWMAC play on Wednesday, February 8, with a 7:00 PM contest at Smith. Babson will host Clark in their next game on Saturday, February 4, at 1:00 PM.