WELLESLEY, Mass. – With solid rebounding and an outstanding defensive effort, Wellesley College basketball defeated MIT, 44-26, on Wednesday night at Keohane Sports Center. The win lifts the Blue to 9-7 overall, 8-3 in NEWMAC play. MIT drops to 8-9, 4-7 in the conference.
Wellesley out-rebounded the Engineers 43-24 on the evening, while holding the visitors to only five offensive boards. The Blue defense was equally stifling, limiting the Engineers to 17% from the floor and accounting for two 10-minute MIT scoring droughts, one in each half.
The Blue built a 16-5 lead midway through the opening period, courtesy of efficient outside shooting from Meghan Sargent, Leslie Leong, and Malia Maier. The Blue scored eight more unanswered points before MIT surged late in the half, sparked by a trey from Tamara Pena. But Wellesley kept the pressure on and cruised to a 26-14 halftime lead.
The teams traded three-pointers to open the second half before two free throws from MIT's Mari Kordell cut the lead to 29-21 with 13:40 remaining, the slimmest lead since midway through the first period. But the Blue slowed the pace and tightened their defense while gradually building a 36-21 lead. With 3:40 left, Kordell broke the drought for MIT with two freethrows. Wellesley responded by scoring six of the next eight points, including four from Ashleigh Sargent, as the Blue grabbed the 44-26 win.
Kordell led MIT with nine points and four steals. Pena added six points, all from behind the arc, while Anna Merrifield and Alexxis Isaac chipped in four points each.
Leong led all scorers with 14 and tallied 11 boards as well. Maier and Morgyne Weaver each recorded seven points for the Blue, while Ashleigh Sargent added six.
Both squads return to action on Saturday, Jan. 28, at 2pm, when MIT travels to WPI and Wellesley playsl host Springfield.