WPI Escapes With 44-42 NEWMAC Win Over Wellesley Basketball

Sophomore Emily Kopp scored a game-high 11 points and had a team-high six rebounds to lead the Blue in the setback (Julia Monaco).
Sophomore Emily Kopp scored a game-high 11 points and had a team-high six rebounds to lead the Blue in the setback (Julia Monaco).

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Senior Madison Beck (Syracuse, N.Y.) knocked down the game-winning three-pointer with 27 seconds to play as WPI escaped Dorothy Towne Fieldhouse with a 44-42 New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) victory over Wellesley College basketball on Wednesday evening. 

WPI, now winners of six of their last seven games, improves 13-4 and 6-2 in conference. The Blue are now 4-10 overall and 2-6 in NEWMAC games. 

Beck finished the game with seven points for the Engineers, none bigger than her fourth quarter triple that helped WPI take the lead for the first time since the 1:41 mark of the third quarter. First year Maddie Blake (Bedford, N.H.) scored a team-high eight points for WPI, while senior Stasha Greenalch (Newington, Conn.) matched Beck with seven points and dished out four assists. Senior Maura Buckley (Melrose, Mass.) pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds to lead WPI to a 37-29 advantage on the glass.

Sophomore Emily Kopp (King Ferry, N.Y.) scored a game-high 11 points and had a team-high six rebounds to lead the Blue. However, Wellesley struggled from the floor, connecting on just 27.8% (15-of-54) of their attempts in a low scoring contest. Senior Kayla Jang (South Pasadena, Calif.) chipped in with eight points and four steals in 39 minutes of action. 

Wellesley led throughout most of the game, after closing out the first quarter with a 6-0 run to take an 11-6 advantage into the second. However, WPI took control of the glass and got back into the game in the second quarter, out-rebounding the Blue 11-3 over the second 10 minutes, while knocking down 6-of-9 attempts from the floor, to erase the five-point deficit. 

WPI rallied to tie the game, 17-17, when junior Katie Nugent (Huntington, N.Y.) dropped in a layup at 3:16. The teams exchanged buckets on the next two possessions, before a jumper from Kopp put the Blue back ahead, 21-19, with a minute left before the half. WPI senior Ama Biney (Worcester, Mass.) then hit one of two free throws in the final seconds of the second to make the score 21-20 at the break.

A Jang jumper to open the third quarter put the Blue up three, 23-20, but back-to-back WPI buckets tied put the Engineers up 25-23 less than three minutes into the second half. The teams continued to go back-and-forth, playing to an 11-11 third quarter tie that saw Wellesley eventually regain their one-point halftime edge, this time at 32-31, heading into the fourth. 

The Blue continued to lead until the 27 second mark when Beck buried a corner three to put WPI in front. Wellesley's last gasp effort was turned away as Buckley came up with two key blocks in the dying seconds to help WPI hold on for the 44-42 victory.

Wellesley will play at Smith in their next contest on Saturday, January 20, at 2:00 PM. WPI will also be in action on Saturday at 2:00 PM, when they host Wheaton.