Women's Basketball Grinds Out 59-50 Win Over WPI

An action photo of Paula Pieper, facing forward, dribbling the ball with her right hand
Photo by Robert Krawitz

THE BASICS:

- Score: MIT 59, WPI 50

- Records: MIT (9-10, 3-2 NEWMAC); WPI (12-8, 2-3 NEWMAC)

- Location: Worcester, Mass. (Harrington Auditorium)

- The Lead: A 14-0 run in the first quarter gave MIT a lead it would not relinquish and then it drained all four of its free throws during the final 22 seconds of the game to capture a 59-50 win over WPI in a NEWMAC women's basketball game on Wednesday night. Sophomore Christina Antonakakis (Holmdel, N.J.) paced the Engineers with a game-high 23 points and six assists.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

- WPI jumped out to a 10-2 advantage after 3:26 elapsed. Sparked by junior Jocelyn Luizzi's (Colchester, Conn.), put-back on MIT's next possession, the Engineers rattled off 14 straight points to close out the quarter with a 16-10 lead.

- Sophomore Annika Sougstad (Mahtomedi, Minn.) opened the second stanza with a three-pointer and then WPI ended its scoring drought with a jumper at the 7:26 mark. MIT's lead gradually grew to double digits as a trey from Antonakakis moved the score to 26-15 with 4:43 on the clock. A defensive battle ensued until WPI converted a free throw and then a layup with just under three minutes remaining. The Engineers countered with another Sougstad three-pointer but WPI quickly replied with a layup, making the score 29-20 at halftime.

- A jumper by Luizzi reestablished MIT's double-digit margin, however, WPI mounted a 7-1 run that brought it within five (32-27) at the 6:43 mark of the third quarter. A jumper by Antonakakis created some breathing room but the hosts replied with one of its own with 4:30 on the clock. After over a minute of scoreless play, sophomore Paula Pieper (Greenville, S.C.) buried a three-pointer. However, WPI drained a layup, narrowing the gap to 37-31 at the end of the frame.

- Antonakakis knocked down a jumper 13 seconds into the fourth quarter, kicking off a 9-2 run which spanned 3:35. WPI replied with seven unanswered points which fueled a 10-2 run that closed the gap to 48-43 following a three-point play with 3:34 remaining. An exchange of baskets followed as WPI came within five points on three more occasions, the last at 55-50 with 24 seconds to go. The Engineers secured the victory when Pieper and Antonakakis drained both of their free throws down the stretch.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- Pieper finished with a career-high 16 points while grabbing five rebounds and dishing out three assists. Sougstad collected a game-high 11 rebounds and scored 10 points for her fourth double-double of the season. Senior Alexis Groark (Elwood, N.Y.) hauled in six rebounds as junior Kylie Gallagher (Upton, Mass.) bolstered MIT's defense with two blocks.

- The Engineers registered a 40-36 advantage in rebounds but WPI had the upper hand in points off turnovers (17-2), bench scoring (9-2), second-chance points (10-8), and points in the paint (16-14).

- MIT shot 42.3 percent (22-of-52) from the floor, 42.1 percent (8-of-19) from three-point range, and 87.5 percent (7-of-8) at the free-throw line.

- WPI shot 30.8 percent (20-of-65) from the floor, 25 percent (4-of-16) from behind the arc, and 66.7 percent (6-of-9) at the charity stripe.

UP NEXT:

- MIT continues its NEWMAC road trip on Saturday, Feb. 8 when it travels to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy for a 1:00 p.m. tip off.

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