Babson Holds Off Emerson, 76-73

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BABSON PARK, Mass.—First-year Giovanna Pickering (Hull, Mass.) scored 15 of her 17 points in the second half and junior Briana Hunt (Newton, Mass.) added 13 points, four assists and four steals helping Babson College hold off visiting Emerson College, 76-73, in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's basketball action on Thursday night at Staake Gymnasium.

Babson, which has won two straight games, is now 10-10 overall and 10-6 in the NEWMAC, while Emerson drops to 7-13 overall and 3-12 in conference play.

Junior Erin Young (Westwood, Mass.) had 12 points, sophomore Linnett Graber (Roseland, N.J.) added 11 points to go along with a team-high seven rebounds, and classmate Megan Otto(Scituate, Mass.) chipped in with 10 points and six boards for the Beavers.

Sophomore Kelsey Johnson (Syracuse, N.Y.) had 18 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, while junior Kristin Brice (Indiana, Pa.) had 18 points and 10 boards. First-year Emily Cameron (Culver City, Calif.) and sophomore Janissa Delzo (Middlesex, N.J.) contributed 14 and 13 points, respectively.

Both teams started slowly, but back-to-back three-pointers by Young helped spark a 12-3 Babson run, giving the hosts a 19-12 lead midway through the first half. Emerson scored five straight points to get within two, but the Beavers ripped off the next 10 points, including five from Hunt, to build a 29-17 lead with 5:20 left in the period.

First-year Maria Santora (East Hanover, N.J.) buried a three-pointer to bring the Lions back within 33-27 at the two-minute mark, but the Green and White closed the stanza with a 7-2 spurt, keyed by another three-pointer from Young and a steal by Hunt leading to an Otto layup, to make it 40-29 at the break.

Emerson came out of the locker room blazing, making nine of its first 14 field goal attempts and outscoring Babson 23-12 to pull within 54-52 on a Cameron three-pointer at the 10:03 mark. Back-to-back layups by Pickering pushed the Beavers' lead back to six, but Brice scored seven consecutive points and Delzo added a bucket to put the Lions in front 61-58 with 5:50 to go in the game.

Young put the Green and White back in front 64-63 with her fourth three-pointer of the night, and Hunt stretched the lead to 71-66 with a traditional three-point play with 2:02 left. Delzo knocked down a pair of free throws on the ensuing possession and Brice followed with a three-point play of her own to pull even again at 71-71 with 1:17 to go.

Graber and Pickering combined for three free throws, but Johnson got the Lions back within one on a hoop with 26 seconds left. Hunt made 1-of-2 from the line with 21 seconds to go to put Babson up 75-73 and Pickering sealed the victory, stealing a pass with seven seconds remaining and burying a free throw with 1.7 ticks left for the final margin.

The Beavers, which held a 24-8 edge in bench points, shot 41.9 percent (26-for-62) on the night, while Emerson shot 48.2 percent (27-for-56). The Green and White also took scored 21 points off 18 Lions' turnovers.

Both teams return to action on Saturday as Babson travels to Mount Holyoke for a 1 p.m. start, while Emerson hosts Coast Guard at 12 noon.

GAME NOTES: Babson is now 2-0 all-time against Emerson…The Beavers are 6-2 at home this season and have won five straight games at Staake Gymnasium…Babson is 8-3 on the year when leading at halftime and are 6-2 when shooting 40 percent or better from the floor…Babson is now 3-3 this season in games decided by five points or less.