Worcester, MA --- Juniors Dani Davis (East Granby, CT) and Amaia Gritsko (Milford, CT) both delivered on Saturday afternoon against MIT as the WPI women's basketball team took a 51-49 victory over their NEWMAC rivals at Harrington Auditorium.
Both teams are now 6-9 on the season with WPI improving to 4-6 in conference play while the visiting Engineers slip to 3-7 in NEWMAC action.
Davis scored 15 points and hit all four free throws to lead the hosts while Gritsko tallied her first career-double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds, doing most of her damage in the second half with eight points and seven rebounds after the break.
The Crimson and Gray led all the way, holding a double-digit edge for over seven minutes in the second half before MIT resuscitated its chances with a closing run.
MIT's sophomore guard Sabrina Drammis (Hilton Head Island, SC) was the game's top scorer and rebounder with 19 points and 13 boards. Drammis and Maya Ramachandran (Freemont, CA) each pulled in five offensive rebounds.
WPI had upped its lead to 49-34 on free throws by sophomore Haili Welton (Southbury, CT), but the Cambridge Engineers scored the next 13 points, including seven from Drammis as her 3 cut it to 49-47 with 23 seconds left.
Davis drained both free throws after MIT fouled on the ensuing inbound. A lay-up by Durva Bhandare (North Brunswick, NJ) with 3.6 seconds left brought the lead back to two but Worcester's Engineers were able to inbound and run out the clock to secure the win.
WPI held the visitors scoreless over the first 7:36 of the contest, as the hosts' defense forced MIT into 0 for 8 shooting and seven turnovers over the opening stretch as two jumpers from Davis boosted the home side to an early 6-0 lead.
Gritsko got to the rim to make it 14-4 in favor of WPI with 7:39 left in the first half.
MIT stormed right back, though, staging a 9-2 run starting with five minutes left before the intermission and lasting for a stretch of 2:44. The rally included three foul shots by freshman guard Liana Ilutzi (East Hanover, NJ) and was capped when Michelle Battipaglia (Katonah, NY) drew it back to 16-13 late in the half.
A Davis 3-pointer and a layup by point guard Rachel Pineda (Shrewsbury, MA) in the final minute gave WPI a more comfortable 21-13 lead at the intermission.
The hosts scored 10 straight points during the opening five minutes of the second half, getting baskets from Davis, Gritsko, Pineda and Jessica Larsen (San Diego, CA), and two free throws by Davis to increase the lead to 31-17.
Both teams are back in action tomorrow afternoon, again playing in 2pm matinees. MIT will host Emerson, while the Worcester-based Engineers will play at Mt. Holyoke. WPI also has a big mid-week game 7pm Wednesday at Clark.
Release by Carl Setterlund - WPI Athletics Intern - Emerson '14
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