Babson Park, MA --- Tournament Most Outstanding Player senior Giovanna Pickering (Hull, MA) scored 16 of her 24 points in the first half, including 14 just in the first quarter, to propel Babson to a 65-46 victory over WPI in the 2017 NEWMAC Women's Basketball Championship final Sunday in Staake Gymnasium.
With the win, Babson (22-5) earns the conference's automatic bid to the 2017 NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship tournament. The Engineers (23-5) entered the weekend ninth in the NCAA Regional Rankings have a slim chance of an at-large bid. The field will be revealed during Monday's 2:30 pm selection show on NCAA.com.
While WPI outscored Pickering 15-14 points first quarter, the Beavers claimed a 21-15 advantage as a team. The Engineers found the six points and held Pickering to one basket in the second; however, Babson put up 14 more for the 35-21 margin at the break. Junior Ama Biney (Worcester, MA) was held to just two rebounds and a steal in 19-plus minutes.
The third was scoreless until rookie Jacqueline Jozefick (Milford, CT) hit a three at 6:49. The teams then traded baskets 33 seconds later, including a triple by junior Madison Beck (Syracuse, NY). Later in the frame, Biney hit a layup at 3:36 and went on a personal 4-1 run to cut the Engineers deficit to 15. Babson closed out the session with a 5-0 run.
The Crimson and Gray won the final frame 16-13 behind seven by Biney and seven from the reserves.
Pickering added five rebounds while Russell scored 16 and sophomore Katherine Tamulionis (Foxboro, MA) added 12 of the 16 bench points. Ten of senior Jennifer Narlee's (Medfield, MA) 11 rebounds were off the defensive glass.
Biney finished with 11 points as she and Nogueira logged six boards apiece. Beck totaled 10 points and five rebounds.
The game potentially marked the end of the road for the Class of 2017. The trio of Nogueira, Sarah Rogers (Colchester, CT) and Priscilla Dunphy (Barrington, RI) helped the Engineers claim last year's title and make back-to-back finals appearances.