Babson Park, MA --- Second-seeded Smith reached the 20-win mark for the first time in program history as the Pioneers defeated sixth-seeded WPI, 70-51, in the semifinal round of the 2012 NEWMAC Women's Basketball Tournament at Babson on Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Pioneers (20-5) advance to the championship round for the second straight season, where they will meet top-seeded Babson in a rematch of last year's title game on Sunday at 1 p.m.
With just the second loss in their last nine games, the Engineers see their season come to a close with a record of 11-16.
Smith was led by junior Rosa Drummond (Rye, NH), who posted a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds while also blocking four shots. First-year Paulina Solis (Santa Ana, CA) added 13 points and eight rebounds for the Pioneers, while first-year Maddie Paige (Arvada, CO) chipped in with 10 points, five rebounds, and three assists. Senior Ellie Giles (Charlottesville, VA) also came up big for Smith, contributing six points, six caroms, and three blocks, as the Pioneers' defense held WPI to just 33.3 percent (18-54) shooting in the contest.
The Engineers received 10 points and seven rebounds from junior Theresa Logan (Southboro, MA), as well as nine points, eight rebounds, three blocks, and three steals from first-year Dani Davis (East Granby, CT). Junior Cindy Chelius (Northfield, NJ) also scored nine points, sophomore Kelly Morgan (Brookline, NH) added eight, and sophomore Siena Mamayek (Melrose, MA) chipped in with seven points and six rebounds. Playing in their final collegiate game, senior Baillie McNally (Mapleville, RI) recorded a game-high four steals to go with three assists and classmate Lauren Hannmann (East Greenbush, NY) added four points and three rebounds.
WPI maintained the lead for the majority of the first 13 minutes of play, including an eight-point cushion after a three-pointer by McNally made it 17-9 with 12:39 left in the first half. Smith gradually chipped away at the deficit before moving in front, 21-20, on a Page lay-up at the seven-minute mark, and the Pioneers later closed the half with a 7-1 run to take a 34-27 lead into the break.
Drummond had seven points and five rebounds in the opening period for Smith, while Davis had six points and seven boards for the Engineers.
The Pioneers never relinquished the lead in the second half, although WPI did cut it to four after consecutive lay-ins by Logan and Hannmann made it 37-33 with 16:17 left in the game. From there, Smith scored six straight points as part of a 10-2 run that extended its advantage to double-digits, 47-35, with 11:26 remaining. Five different players scored during the burst, highlighted by four points from sophomore Sydney Parkmond (Waterbury, CT).
Sunday's championship game will feature a rematch of the 2011 final between Babson and Smith. The Beavers defeated the Pioneers by a score of 74-49 last winter.
Release courtesy Babson Sports Information