BABSON PARK, Mass. – Senior captain Sarah Collins (Weymouth, Mass.) led all players with 17 points, 19 rebounds, and five blocked shots to propel the top-seeded Babson College Beavers to a 51-35 victory over fourth-seeded WPI in the semifinal round of the 2013 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Women's Basketball Tournament at Babson's Staake Gymnasium on Saturday.
With the win, the Beavers (24-2, ranked 17th by D3hoops.com, 14th by USA Today) advance to their fifth straight NEWMAC Final, where they will take on the winner of Saturday's second semifinal between second-seeded Smith and third-seeded Wellesley. The championship tilt will take place on Sunday at Babson at 1 p.m.
Collins' game-high 17 came on 6-of-9 shooting from the field and a 5-of-6 clip from the line. She was joined in double figures by first-year Kristen Ferola (Amherst, Mass.), who scored 10 points to go along with four rebounds, while freshman Linnett Graber (Roseland, N.J.) added nine points, five caroms, and three steals. First-year Megan Otto (Scituate, Mass.) also played well in her NEWMAC Tournament debut, finishing with six points, five boards, and four assists.
WPI (15-11) was led by senior Theresa Logan (Southboro, Mass.), who scored 11 points to surpass the 1,000-point mark in her career. She finishes in 16th place on WPI's all-time scoring list with 1,010 points. Senior Cindy Chelius (Northfield, N.J.) chipped in with six points and seven rebounds for the Engineers, who were held to just 27.8 percent shooting (15-for-54) in the contest.
Babson used a dominating defensive performance in the first half to take control of the contest, holding WPI to just 11 points on 20.0 percent shooting (5-for-25). The Beavers opened with a 12-2 run that featured four points apiece from Collins, Ferola, and Graber, and then used a 9-2 burst moments later to push the lead to 21-6. Babson eventually took their largest lead of the half after two free throws from Collins made it 23-7 with 3:47 to go before entering the half armed with a 26-11 advantage.
Logan and first-year Jessica Larsen (San Diego, Calif.) each hit a layup to cut the Babson lead to 13 in the opening moments of the second half, but that would prove to be as close as the Engineers would get the rest of the way. A lay-up by Ferola followed by a conventional three-point play by Graber made it 33-15, and Collins' final bucket of the night later in the half resulted in the game's largest margin at 44-24 with 6:07 left. Both teams emptied their bench in the closing minutes as the Beavers finished off the eventual 51-35 win.
|Game Highlights||Head Coach Judy Blinstrub|