Worcester, MA --- Dani Davis (East Granby, CT) drained a free throw with 0.2 seconds left to lift WPI past visiting Babson, 63-62, on Saturday afternoon in a NEWMAC women's basketball matchup on Saturday afternoon at Harrington Auditorium.
The Engineers (6-1, 2-0 NEWMAC), who won their fourth consecutive game, pick up their first win over the Beavers (5-1, 1-1 NEWMAC) since a 60-56 win on February 18, 2009 in Worcester that clinched the NEWMAC regular season title for the Crimson and Gray.
It is also the first time WPI has opened NEWMAC play 2-0 since 2010-11. Babson had won the last 12 games in the series, which was played for the 50th time on Saturday afternoon.
The game featured four ties and two lead changes in the final 7:06. Babson originally were the ones with a chance to win as they took possession following with 20 seconds to go and the game knotted at 62, but WPI's Jessica Larsen (Poway, CA) drew an offensive foul with 5.7 seconds left. Following a timeout, WPI inbounded the ball to Davis, who drove the length of the floor and was fouled attempting a layup from the left block. The senior iced the first free throw and missed the second to give the Engineers the victory.
WPI led 36-23 at the break. Babson opened the second half with a 13-4 run that saw Giovanna Pickering (Hull, MA) drain a jumper and a layup to bring the Beavers within four with 16:23 to play. After WPI pushed the advantage back out to eight following a Tess Nogueira (Merrimac, MA) jumper, the guests chipped away and eventually tied it on a Pickering triple with 7:06 remaining.
The Engineers and Beavers traded early buckets early on as Larsen hit a layup only to be answered by a 3-pointer by Linnett Graber (Roseland, NJ) for the guests first lead of the afternoon. A pair of free throws by Davis sparked a 12-2 outburst as the Engineers built a nine-point cushion.
Babson whittled its deficit to three following a Graber freebie at 11:56. Davis scored the next five points in the game to key a 10-point outburst to push the Engineer advantage to 13 with 5:24 showing on the scoreboard. Ama Biney (Worcester, MA), Nogueira and Davis each pushed the lead to 14 following free throws in the final 3:16 of the half. Babson pulled within 10 courtesy of a pair of free throws by Megan Otto (Scituate, MA) and Marissa Cicchetti (Mansfield, MA). Haili Welton (Southbury, CT) punctuated the frame with a last second triple to send the Engineers to the locker room with the 13-point lead.
Davis led the WPI offense with 14 points while Amaia Gritsko (Milford, CT) added 11 points and seven boards. Nogureira chipped in with nine points as Welton, Gritsko, and Lisa Mendez (Yonkers, NY) each handed out a pair of assists.
Pickering finished with a game-best 23 points. Graber narrowly missed a double-double with nine points and nine boards while Kristen Ferola (Amherst, MA) and Cicchetti (eight rebounds) also scored nine for the Beavers.
WPI held advantages in the paint (22-18), off turnovers (15-9) and bench points (19-6). Babson had a 12-11 edge in second chance points while both teams tallied four fast break points.
Both teams step out of conference for home contests early next week. WPI hosts Fitchburg State on Tuesday at 7pm while the Beavers entertain Brandeis a day earlier at 7pm.
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