Thursday women: Finding hidden gems

More news about: Kean | MIT | Ohio Northern | Rutgers-Newark | Springfield
Springfield celebrates its 48-46 victory on the road at Smith College in Thursday night's NEWMAC semifinal.
Springfield College athletics photo

On a night when most ranked teams won their playoff games by comfortable margins, there were still a few surprises. The lower seeds won in the NEWMAC and NJAC tournaments and Ohio Northern won again in the OAC.

The lower seeds advanced through the NEWMAC semifinals in very different fashions as MIT trounced top-seed Babson and Springfield edged second-seeded Smith. MIT hit 12 three-pointers and converted 27 Babson turnovers into 28 points in a 73-46 route. The Kristen Ngan scored 12 points on four 3-pointers and dished six assists for the Engineers. Springfield's Alex Goslin scored 15 points, including the game-winning free throw with six seconds left in the Pride's 48-46 victory over Smith.

The losses drop Smith and Babson into the pool of teams hoping for at-large bids. While Babson was the top seed in the NEWMAC tournament, Smith is in better position to get an at-large bid according to this week's NCAA Regional Rankings.

After Kean eliminated defending NJAC champion Montclair State on Saturday, the Cougars won on the road again, this time beating Rowan 77-71 in overtime. Kean opened the extra period on a 9-0 run and freshman guard Shannon McCoy rolled up 24 points in 45 minutes. The NJAC title game will have two teams with 14-13 records because Rutgers-Newark ousted top-seed TCNJ 52-45.

Last season Ohio Northern entered the OAC playoffs as the top seed, lost to Marietta in the final and missed the NCAA Tournament. This season the Polar Bears entered the OAC tournament as the seventh seed and now they are one game away from the NCAA Tournament after beating Marietta 59-55 on Thursday night. Emily Brock scored 15 points off the bench for ONU, which will face top-seed John Carroll in the OAC finale.

Northwestern (Minn.) fell just short of ending UW-Superior's dominance in UMAC as the Yellowjackets pulled out a 71-67 victory in overtime. Superior's Katie White hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to send the game to overtime where the Yellowjackets prevailed. Superior will face Bethany Lutheran, which is the only team that has beaten them since they entered the UMAC four seasons ago.

The third time was the charm for Whitman against Puget Sound. After losing both games to UPS in the regular season, the Blues defeated the Loggers 69-61 on the strength of Makana Stone's double-double (22 points, 11 rebounds). Whitman will face No. 11 George Fox in the NWC title game. 

Loras earned another shot at Wartburg in the ARC title game thanks to big games from Marissa Schroeder (28 points, 11 rebounds) and Riley Eckhart (20 points, four rebounds) in an 88-83 win over Simpson. Same goes for No. 24 Augsburg which will have another chance to beat St. Thomas in the MIAC final after Tamira McLemore led the Augies to a 79-70 win over Bethel with 33 points and six rebounds.

The ASC's three-day tournament opened with comfortable wins for No. 9 Mary Hardin-Baylor, No. 18 Texas-Dallas and Hardin-Simmons. No. 16 East Texas Baptist eked out a 45-43 win over Howard Payne and will face the host Crusaders on Friday.