WORCESTER -- Madison Beck (Syracuse, NY) and Ama Biney (Worcester, MA) combined for 35 of WPI's 67 points as Women's Basketball closed out a 67-60 win over NEWMAC foe Wellesley in the annual Play for Kay game in Harrington Auditorium this Valentine's Day.
WPI, who checks in at No. 10 in the NCAA Regional Rankings and has a chance to secure a share of the regular season title Saturday with a win over Emerson, now improves to 19-5 overall and 12-3 in NEWMAC play while Wellesley dip to 8-14 on the season and falls to 5-10 against NEWMAC opponents.
The Engineers won by what at first glance seems like a comfortable seven point margin, but it was anything but comfortable for the hosts in the final quarter of play. Starting off the fourth with a three point jumper by Kayla Jang (South Pasadena, CA), the Blue looked to cut into Engineers lead quickly and came within a duce after Jang hit another trifecta with 5:28 left to play. But the fourth quarter became the Ama Biney show as she tallied 11 of her 17 points in the final ten minutes of play. With time dwindling away, the Crimson and Gray were near perfect from the charity stripe, scoring six of seven from the line as the Blue tried to stay in the contest by fouling.
The Engineers jumped out to an early 21-13 point lead after the first quarter of play. The foes traded blows in an early game kerfuffle with WPI scoring first on a layup by Madison Beck (Syracuse, NY) followed by Wellesley's Emily Kopp (King Ferry, NY) on a similar play. The Crimson and Gray were able to push an advantage with some exceptional accuracy from the field, scoring on nine of their 11 attempts in the first quarter, including a perfect three for three from beyond the arc.
The first intermission failed to provide much relief for the visiting Blue as they fell behind by as many as 11 points with Brianna Dozier (Dedham, MA) coming in off the bench to lay in a basket. Battling back, Wellesley reaped the benefits of a poor period of shooting for the home crew, besting the Engineers off the glass with 14 total rebounds for the half and scoring 10 points down low in the first quarter. Alyssa Cho (Hillsborough, CA) notched six points in a Blue run that helped bring the game to within five going into the second half of play.
It was a tightly contested third period of play where the Engineers held their lead off a series of shots from Maddie Blake (Bedford, NH) that found twine. Not to be outdone, Caitlin Aguirre (El Paso, TX) matched Blake with seven points in the quarter herself. The Crimson and Gray nearly doubled their rebound total in the quarter, grabbing 10 carroms to help control the pace of play.
Beck batted the cycle on the score sheet for the Engineers, tallying 18 points, four rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block. Biney had a dominant fourth quarter, totaling 17 points, six rebounds, a trio of dishes to her team and one steal on the night. Blake also reached double digits in scoring as she canned five of her seven shots from the field, notching 11 points while standing tall, blocking two shots and grabbing five defensive rebounds. Stasha Greenalch (Newington, CT) played a team game, finding her fellow Boynton Hillers for six assists and discombobulated the Blue, stealing the ball five times.
Aguirre led all scorers with 21 points and gobbled up a team high six rebounds while also being credited with a trio of steals and assists. Jang was clutch from long range, reaching double figures with 11 points and a pair of assists and steals while Kopp also canned 10 points, grabbed four off the backboard and took two steals from WPI scorers. Cho finished the night with eight points, two offensive rebounds and two blocks and Kendall You Mak (San Francisco, CA) chipped in with six points while totaling five rebounds.
Next up, both teams will host their Senior Day games this Saturday at 2pm as WPI has a meeting with Emerson and Wellesley will face Mount Holyoke.
Story written by WPI student assistant Ranier Gran '18