BABSON PARK, Mass.—Senior Giovanna Pickering (Hull, Mass.) scored 17 of her 26 points in the fourth quarter to help Babson College rally past visiting Smith College, 76-72, in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's basketball action on Saturday afternoon at Staake Gymnasium.
With the win, Babson is now 16-4 overall and 10-1 in conference play, while Smith drops to 13-6 overall and 5-5 in the NEWMAC.
Junior Brenna LeGacy (Attleboro, Mass.) finished with 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting to go along with eight rebounds and three assists, while sophomores Elizabeth Lane (Skaneateles, N.Y.) and Bianca Tomassini (North Branford, Conn.) scored eight points apiece for the Beavers. Senior Jennifer Narlee (Medfield, Mass.) pulled down a team-high 11 boards in addition to recording three steals and blocking three shots in the win.
Junior Samantha Alakai (Lahaina, Hawaii) scored 15 of her 26 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Pioneers. Sophomore Kennedy Guest-Pritchett (Fairburn, Ga.) added 16 points and pulled down a game-high 19 rebounds, including 12 on the offensive end.
Smith opened the game with a 16-1 run and matched its biggest lead of the game at 31-16 on a hoop by senior Mandy Castro (San Diego, Calif.) with 3:05 to go in the second quarter. The Green and White closed within 33-22 at halftime and then ripped off a 17-6 spurt over the first 6:24 of the third quarter to tie the game at 39-39.
Tomassini gave the Beavers their first lead of the game on a three-pointer with 1:47 to go in the third, and the hosts scored the first 10 points of the fourth quarter to extend its advantage to 55-43 with 5:48 to play in regulation after a free throw by Russell. Four straight points from LeGacy gave Babson its biggest lead of the contest at 61-47 with 3:49 remaining, and the margin was 11 with under two minutes to play before the Pioneers mounted a furious rally.
Alakai converted a layup with 1:03 left to cut the deficit to 67-60 and then followed a jumper by junior Meghan Holland (Atherton, Calif.) with three consecutive three-pointers to slice the Beavers' lead to 72-71 with 19 seconds to go. The Green and White, which went 12-of-16 from the charity stripe over the final 1:38, used four free throws from Pickering and Lane over the final 17 seconds to seal the win.
The Beavers shot 44 percent in the second half and 34.7 percent for the game, while outscoring the Pioneers 22-6 at the free throw line.
Smith shot 37 percent on the afternoon and finished with a 50-47 edge on the glass. The Pioneers also outscored the Green and White 40-28 in the paint.
Both teams return to action on Wednesday at 7 p.m. as Babson visits Wellesley, while Smith hosts Springfield.
• The Beavers are now 38-10 all-time against Smith and have won 17 of the last 19 games between the teams.
• Babson is now 15-0 this season when leading after three quarters this season.
• The Beavers have now won 62 consecutive games when scoring 75 or more points going back to 2008.
• With its win on Saturday, the Green and White moved back into sole possession of first place in the league standings and locked up a spot in February's seven-team conference tournament.