By Rory Duyon
BABSON PARK, MA – The Babson College women’s basketball earned its 61st consecutive NEWMAC conference win on Saturday afternoon, as the Beavers defeated Smith College, 73-65.
The Beavers win, (20-2, 16-2) marks their third regular season conference crown, as well as the top seed in the upcoming NEWMAC tournament. Also, the victory marked the third time in 36 conference matches that the Beavers have defeated an opponent in the standings by less than 20 points.
“I think Smith played a wonderful game. They kept coming at us and coming at us. They kept a lot of rebounds alive and seemed to beat us to all the loose balls, but I’m glad we grinded it out,” said Babson head coach Judy Blinstrub.
After a back and fourth 20 minutes, the Beavers began the second session with the momentum, as well as an 11-point lead at 15:01.
Yet, Smith fought back valiantly when freshman Maddie Page, (nine points, three assists) sank a trifecta and a pair of free throws, which brought the Pioneers within four points with six minutes remaining.
However, the Pioneers, (17-5, 12-4) comeback hopes were dashed 12 seconds later when junior Sarah Collins, (20 points, 17 rebounds) recorded a layup that sparked an 7-0 run that was capped off by junior Allanah Wynn’s three-pointer.
Smith’s offense managed to pull within four-points at 1:08, but once again, the Beavers responded with four free throws during the final seconds of regulation by freshman Mary O’Connor, which secured the win for the Green and White.
“We came in with a different plan and tried to utilize our strengths rather than just respond to what they do all the time,” said Smith head coach Lynn Hersey. “If a few of those balls went in that rimmed out, it would have been nice, but we learned a lot today”
Babson has now defeated Smith College in their last five meetings, which includes the NEWMAC championship clash from last season.
The Beavers will return to the court on Tuesday when they host Colby College, while the Pioneers will head home to host WPI on Wednesday.
Game Note – Babson senior forward Nicki Wurdeman, (11 rebounds) finished the game with 13 points, and is now 11 points shy of tying the school’s all-time scoring record of 1,927, which was set by Michelle Merten in 1995. The former Beaver is expected to attend Tuesday’s clash between Babson and Colby.