NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—Senior Stasha Greenalch (Newington, Conn.) score the go-ahead hoop with 46 seconds left in overtime as second-seeded WPI defeated third-seeded Babson, 64-56, in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament semifinal on Saturday afternoon at Ainsworth Gym.
Babson, which suffered just its second semifinal loss since 2007, closes the season at 18-9 overall, while WPI (22-5) returns to the NEWMAC Tournament final for the third consecutive year. Saturday's matchup marked the fourth straight year that the teams had met in the conference playoffs.
Junior Payton Oumiette (Medfield, Mass.) finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds before fouling out late in regulation, while sophomore Jacqueline Jozefick (Milford, Conn.) came off the bench to score 11 points and pull down eight boards for the Beavers. Junior Elizabeth Lane (Skaneateles, N.Y.) added 10 points in the loss.
Senior Ama Biney (Worcester, Mass.) had 14 points, 10 rebounds and three steals to lead the Engineers. Classmate Maura Buckley (Melrose, Mass.) scored 13 points, Greenalch added 12 and three assists, and fellow senior Madison Beck (Syracuse, N.Y.) chipped in with 10 points and six boards.
Babson missed eight of its first 11 shots and trailed 24-12 with 7:27 to go in the second quarter before closing out the half with a 17-0 run. Junior Bianca Tomassini (North Branford, Conn.) got things started with a three-pointer, Lane scored five straight points and Jozefick buried another triple to give the Beavers a 25-24 lead with 2:11 to go in the stanza. Spellacy connected on a pair of free throws and Lane hit a pull-up jumper to send the Green and White into the locker room leading 29-24.
Senior Brenna LeGacy (Attleboro, Mass.) scored six points early in the third quarter as the Engineers cut the Beavers' lead to one on three occasions, the last coming at 42-41 on a three-point play by Beck with 21 seconds to go in the frame. Jozefick hit a triple from the top of the key and sophomore Emily Bonifacic (Allendale, N.J.) converted a put-back to keep the Green and White in front 51-48 with 3:30 to go in the fourth.
Greenalch cut the WPI deficit to one with a short jumper and Buckley buried a three-pointer to give the Engineers a 53-51 lead with 1:24 to play. Beck made 1-of-2 free throws with 36 seconds remaining for a three-point advantage, but Jozefick was fouled on a three-point attempt from the left corner and calmly hit all three free throws with 13 ticks to go, sending the game to overtime.
Junior Katherine Tamulionis (Foxboro, mass.) hit a driving layup with 1:11 to go in the extra session to pull Babson even at 56-56, but Greenalch put WPI back in front on the ensuing possession and then hit two free throws with 21 seconds left to make it 60-56. The Beavers were unable to get a layup to go down following an out-of-bounds play and the Engineers iced the game with four late free throws.
• Babson is 34-25 all-time against WPI but dropped both meetings this season with the Engineers.
• Saturday's loss marked just the second time in 13 games this season that the Beavers lost when shooting better than 40 percent from the floor.
• Ouimette, who recorded her 18th double-double of the season on Saturday, finishes the year in sixth place on the program's single-season list with 318 rebounds.
• Saturday's loss was the first overtime game for the Beavers in NEWMAC Tournament play since suffering a 73-71 double OT setback to Mount Holyoke back in 2007.