Women's Basketball

2017 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 | 10 NCAA Tournaments | 10 Conference Titles

NEWMAC Tournament Semifinal Preview: Women's Basketball vs. WPI

NEWMAC Tournament Semifinal Preview: Women's Basketball vs. WPI

NEWMAC Tournament Semifinal
No. 3 Women's Basketball vs. No. 2 WPI
Saturday, February 24—3:30 p.m.
Ainsworth Gymnasium—Northampton, Mass.

Babson and WPI will meet for the second time in 18 days and 59th time overall in a series that dates back to 1976-77. The Beavers are 34-24 all-time against the Engineers and have split their last four matchups over the last two seasons.

Babson and WPI will meet for the fourth consecutive season and 11th time overall in the conference playoffs. The Beavers and Engineers, who split a pair of NEWMAC championship game tilts over the last two years, both have five wins in their 10 previous matchups.

Senior Ama Biney led three players in double figures with 13 points and WPI closed the game with a 25-6 run to defeat the Beavers, 52-43, on February 7 in Babson Park. Classmate Madison Beck and sophomore Alana Keating each added 10 points for the Engineers, who rallied from a 10-point third-quarter deficit. Junior Payton Ouimette led Babson with 15 points and 15 rebounds.

Giovanna Pickering '17 scored a game-high 24 points and Taylor Russell '17 added 16 as top-seeded Babson defeated third-seeded WPI, 65-46, in the NEWMAC Tournament championship game at Staake Gymnasium on February 26, 2017. Junior Katherine Tamulionis added 12 points and Jennifer Narlee '17 led all players with 11 rebounds for the Beavers. Biney scored 11 points and Beck contributed 10 points and five rebounds for the Engineers.

Second-seeded WPI (21-5) has won seven straight games and is making its third consecutive league semifinal appearance after blowing out seventh-seeded Coast Guard, 72-42, on Wednesday night. First-year Meg Donovan led three players in double figures with 14 points for the Engineers, who shot 49.1 percent and scored 44 points off of turnovers. Biney (13.0 pts, 7.1 reb, 2.8 ast, 2.5 stl) is tied for fourth in scoring and leads the league in steals, Beck (11.9 pts, 4.4 reb) is shooting 51.2 percent from the floor, and senior Stasha Greenalch (7.3 pts, 4.5 ast) ranks second in the NEWMAC in assists. WPI is fourth in Division III in scoring defense (46.5 points) while holding foes to just 33.9 percent shooting.

Third-seeded Babson (18-8) advanced to the conference semifinals for the 10th year in a row with an 85-57 victory over sixth-seeded Emerson on Wednesday night. Tamulionis scored 17 of her career-high 19 points in the first half and senior Brenna LeGacy added 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting for the Beavers, who turned 27 Lions' turnovers into 38 points. Ouimette (13.4 points, 11.7 reb) is tied for 13th nationally with 17 double-doubles, junior Tea Spellacy (9.0 pts, 3.0 ast) ranks eighth in the league in assists, and Tamulionis (8.5 pts, 2.4 ast) is shooting 48.1 percent against league foes. The Green and White, which ranks 17th nationally in rebounding margin (+11.3), is seeking its ninth NEWMAC championship game appearance in 10 years.

Although they have captured five of their last seven conference tournament championships at home, the Beavers went on the road to earn an NCAA berth by virtue of the NEWMAC's automatic bid in both 2009 and 2015. Babson is 5-1 since 2009 in road and neutral-court playoff games, and has gone 23-2 away from home against conference foes dating back February 14, 2015.

With six boards last night, Ouimette now ranks sixth in single-season program history with 304 rebounds this winter. Her 119 offensive caroms are the fourth most by a Babson player going back to 1994, and she is currently one of just three players along with Sarah Collins '13 (2012, 2013) and Jennifer Narlee '17 (2017) to average better than 11.5 boards in a season since 1978.

During its current three-game winning streak, the Green and White is holding its opponents to just 0.75 points per possession and 34.8 percent shooting. Babson has also forced a turnover on 32.9 percent of its possessions.

Since 2010, the Beavers are 11-1 against WPI when reaching 60 points.