Women's Basketball Upended at Babson Despite Strong Games from Gritsko and Biney

Amaia Gritsko

Babson Park, MA --- Sophomore Giovanna Pickering (Hull, MA) scored a game-high 17 points, and classmate Jennifer Narlee (Medfield, MA) pulled down a career-high 14 rebounds as Babson College pulled away from visiting WPI for a 60-51 victory in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's basketball action on Thursday night at Staake Gymnasium. 

With its fourth straight win, Babson is now 10-5 overall and 6-1 in conference play, while WPI drops to 10-5 overall and 3-3 in the NEWMAC. 

Pickering, who went 9-of-12 at the free throw line, also grabbed four rebounds and dished out four assists for the Beavers. Junior Linnett Graber (Roseland, NJ) added 13 points and six boards, while classmate Marissa Cicchetti (Mansfield, MA) finished with nine points and three assists. Fellow junior Kristen Ferola (Amherst, MA) contributed eight points and six rebounds off the bench. 

First-year Ama Biney (Worcester, MA) led the Engineers with 15 points, eight rebounds, three steals and two assists. Junior Lisa Mendez (Yonkers, NY) scored 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting, and senior Dani Davis (East Granby, CT) added eight points and four rebounds.  Amaia Gritsko (Milford, CT) pulled down a team-best 12 rebounds, 11 on the defensive end.

The Green and White scored on four of its first six possessions to open a 10-4 lead just 4:26 into the contest. WPI responded with an 11-5 run though, using back-to-back jumpers by Davis, followed by three-pointers from junior Haili Welton (Southbury, CT) and first-year Stasha Greenalch (Newington, CT) to tie the game at 15-15 with 7:53 left in the stanza. 

The Beavers regained a five-point lead at 20-15 on a three-pointer by senior Lindsey Roche (Arlington, MA), but went scoreless over the final 5:23 of the half. Babson, which shot just 21.4 percent over the opening 20 minutes, missed its final five field goal attempts, and went in to the locker room down 21-20 after Engineers' senior Rachel Pineda (Shrewsbury, MA) hit a jumper from the left baseline at the buzzer. 

After six lead changes to open the second half, Babson shook off its offensive struggles to take control of the game with a 23-4 run. Three-pointers by Graber and Ferola to go along with four points from Pickering gave the Green and White a 38-29 lead with 11:44 to play. Biney stopped the momentum momentarily with a layup, but Beavers' senior Erin Young (Westwood, MA) knocked down a triple from the right wing and Cicchetti scored four straight points to push the lead to 45-31 at the 9:39 mark. 

Mendez answered with a layup for WPI, but Pickering, Cicchetti and Narlee scored on consecutive possessions to give Babson its biggest lead of the game at 51-33 with 7:45 remaining in the contest. The Engineers cut their deficit to single digits on three occasions in the final 57 seconds, but Pickering and Cicchetti combined to sink seven late free throws to close out the win. 

Despite shooting a season-low 31.0 percent, the Green and White went 6-of-12 from beyond the arc, and shot 69.2 percent (18-of-26) at the free throw line. The Beavers also held a 46-42 edge on the glass. 

WPI shot 33.3 percent (21-of-63) from the floor, but finished just 5-of-11 at the charity stripe. The Engineers outscored Babson 24-16 in the paint. 

The Beavers return to action on Wednesday when they close out their three-game homestand against Emerson at 7pm., while WPI hosts Clark on Saturday at 3pm.

Release Courtesy Babson Sports Information