No. 5 Babson Frustrates Brandeis, 64-35

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BABSON PARK, Mass. – Senior captains Kathleen King (Framingham, Mass.) and Nicki Wurdeman (Rowley, Mass.) each recorded double-doubles to lead the nationally-ranked Babson College women's basketball team to a 64-35 victory over visiting Brandeis University in a non-conference contest at Staake Gymnasium on Thursday night. With the win, the Beavers, ranked fifth in the country by, improve to 2-0 on the season, while the Judges see their record drop to 1-1.

King led all players with 21 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists while shooting 7-for-13 from the field and 7-for-8 from the free throw line. Wurdeman also added a double-double, putting up 19 points and 11 boards, and junior Sarah Collins (Weymouth, Mass.) flirted with a triple-double before finishing with 10 points, nine rebounds, seven blocked shots, and six steals. First-year Nikki Heavern (Hull, Mass.) chipped in with six points off the bench for Babson, while sophomore Liz Trainor (Beverly, Mass.) added five points. The Beavers shot just 38.2 percent from the field in the contest, but their defense held the visitors to a 27.3 percent clip while forcing 22 turnovers.

Brandeis was paced by sophomore Nicolina Vitale (Clinton Township, Mich.), who shot 4-of-7 from the floor for nine points to go with four boards. Graduate student Diana Cincotta (West Boylston, Mass.) chipped in with six points, and senior Kelly Ethier (Springfield, Mass.) and junior Erika Higginbottom (Millbury, Mass.) each collected six rebounds.

Babson's defense dominated early on, holding Brandeis without a point for the first 8:34 of the game and without a field goal for the first 9:58. Meanwhile, the Beavers' offense fought through its own struggles to build an 18-1 advantage with 10:15 to go in the first half, with King (6), Collins (5), and Wurdeman (4) accounting for all but three of their team's points during the run. Brandeis then closed the gap with a 16-6 burst over the next eight and a half minutes, with Cincotta netting six points to help the Judges get back to within seven at 24-17. Babson would extend the advantage back to nine on two late free throws by King at the end of the period as the hosts took a 26-17 edge into the locker room.

Brandeis would cut the deficit to seven again after a lay-up by first-year Hannah Cain (Gloucester, Mass.) made it 26-19 just under two minutes into the second half, but that would prove to be as close as the Judges would get the rest of the way. Babson used a 19-3 run over the next eight minutes to put the game away, fueled by 11 points from Wurdeman – including nine straight to cap the run. That gave the hosts a 45-22 advantage with 10:48 remaining, and from there, the lead would never dip below 20 as the Beavers coasted to the 64-35 win.