Beavers Earn Seventh NCAA Tournament Berth Since 2009 With Convincing Win
BABSON PARK, Mass.—Senior Giovanna Pickering (Hull, Mass.) scored a game-high 24 points and classmate Taylor Russell (Braintree, Mass.) added 16 as top-seeded Babson College defeated third-seeded WPI, 65-46, in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament championship game on Sunday afternoon at Staake Gymnasium.
Babson (22-5) captured its seventh conference title in the last nine years and earned the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. WPI (23-5), which is ninth in the most recent NCAA regional rankings, will hope to hear their name called as one of 22 at-large selections when the Division III bracket is released tomorrow.
Pickering, who earned NEWMAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors, went 10-of-18 from the floor to go along with five boards and four steals. Sophomore Katherine Tamulionis (Foxboro, Mass.) scored a career-high 12 points and senior Jennifer Narlee (Medfield, Mass.) led all players with 11 rebounds for the Beavers.
Junior Ama Biney (Worcester, Mass.) scored 11 points and classmate Madison Beck (Syracuse, N.Y.) contributed 10 points and five rebounds for the Engineers.
Pickering scored 14 first-quarter points and the Green and White made 9-of-13 shots to build a 21-15 lead. WPI cut its deficit to three on a triple by senior Priscilla Dunphy (Barrington, R.I.) on the first possession of the second quarter, but the Beavers got eight points from Tamulionis and held the Engineers to just 2-of-14 shooting in the stanza to take a 35-21 advantage into the locker room.
First-year Jacqueline Jozefick (Milford, Conn.) buried a three-pointer just over three minutes into the third quarter to extend the Babson lead to 17, and the hosts closed the frame with a 7-0 run to make it 52-30 going to the fourth after a layup by Pickering. Narlee converted a layup with 7:28 left and Russell knocked down a triple on the following possession to give the Green and White its biggest advantage of the game at 59-35 with 6:56 remaining.
The Beavers shot 50 percent for the game and outscored WPI 28-18 in the paint.
The Engineers, who finished with a 34-32 edge on the glass, shot just 31.6 percent.
Babson will find out who it will face in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Monday at 2:30 p.m.
• The Beavers are now 34-23 all-time against WPI and have split 10 postseason contests with the Engineers.
• The Green and White is 14-0 this season when holding its foes below 40 percent shooting and has won its last 12 games when shooting 50 percent or better.
• Babson is 19-2 since 2009 in the conference playoffs.
• The Beavers have now won 16 of their last 17 NEWMAC Tournament games at Staake Gymnasium.