#17 Babson Uses Dominating Second Half to Defeat Blue Basketball

#17 Babson Uses Dominating Second Half to Defeat Blue Basketball

BABSON PARK, Mass. – Despite trailing by only one at the half, the Wellesley basketball team succumbed to a dominating second-half effort by host Babson, as the Beavers pulled away for a 76-43 victory in NEWMAC action on Wednesday night. 

Babson junior Sarah Collins scored her 1,000th career point, netting 20 total, while senior Nicki Wurdeman added a career-high 32 points in the win for the 17th-ranked Beavers, who improved to 17-2 overall and 13-0 in the conference. Wellesley fell to 9-9 overall and 8-5 in league play after suffering its second loss in a row since winning four straight and six out of seven to start the new year.

Entering the game with 987 points in 74 career games, Collins scored eight in the first half and then hit a pair of lay-ups in the first four minutes of the second. The 6-foot-1 center moved past the 1,000-point mark with 14:35 left in the game, when she took a pass from senior captain Kathleen King and banked in a short jumper from the left block. Collins (1,007) now joins both Wurdeman (1,867) and King (1,632) in achieving the milestone, marking the 12th known instance in Division III women's basketball history that a team has had three individuals simultaneously over 1,000 points in their career.

Collins finished with 20 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and five blocks in the victory, while King tacked on 10 points, eight boards, and five assists. Wurdeman's career-high 32 points came on 11-of-17 shooting from the field, including a 4-of-7 clip from three-point range, and a 6-for-10 performance from the line. The senior captain and two-time All-American also grabbed eight boards and blocked six shots.

Wellesley was paced by first-year Morgyne Weaver, who shot 5-for-7 from the floor for 11 points, and sophomore Leslie Leong, who added 10 points, four boards, and six assists. Junior captain Malia Maier contributed seven points while senior captain Elisha Orama grabbed five rebounds. First-year Natalie Anderson added five points for the Blue, who shot just 8-for-31 from the field after a quick 10-for-20 start. 

Wellesley led for a good part of the first half, thanks to hot shooting and a tenacious defensive effort. With Babson holding a slim 15-11 edge midway through the period, the Blue went on a 12-2 run over a five minute stretch to move in front, 23-17, with 5:34 remaining before the break. Leong scored five points during the spurt, including a three-pointer that capped it and gave the visitors their largest lead of the contest.

Still trailing at 28-23 with less than three minutes left in the first, Babson seized control of the contest by bridging halftime with a 26-1 run over the next nine minutes of play. The Beavers closed the first half with a 8-1 burst, fueled by six points from Wurdeman, to go up 31-29 at the break, and then scored the first 18 points of the second stanza to built a commanding 49-29 advantage. Wurdeman scored 11 more during the second-half portion of the run, while Collins tallied six, including her 1,000th point that made it 47-29. The lead would eventually surge to as many as 36 before finishing at 76-43.

Both teams return to action on Saturday. Wellesley hosts Clark at 2 p.m., while Babson heads to Norton for a 2 p.m. game at Wheaton.