By Matt Noonan
BABSON PARK, MA – For the second year in a row, Babson College defeated Smith College to capture their fourth consecutive NEWMAC crown, as well as an automatic bid for the upcoming NCAA Division III tournament.
“It’s always great to win a championship,” said Babson head coach Judy Blinstrub. “I’m just so proud of these kids. They [gave] all they had all year, and everybody’s doubted us, but we never doubted ourselves.”
Blinstrub’s Beavers earned the lead for good when sophomore Allanah Wynn, (10 points) connected with junior Katerina Mallios, who recorded a jump shot at 17:37, which provided Babson with an 8-6 lead that eventually ballooned to a 74-51 victory.
“Allanah does an awesome job finding the open players. She’s smart, she knows exactly when to pass, so it [worked well on that particular possession],” said Babson junior Sarah Collins, who ended the game with 17 points and 13 rebounds.
Babson ended the first session on a 30-13 run, which was ignited by some impeccable defense that held Smith to 26.7 percent from the field.
“I just think when we key in on defense, we’re really tough to beat,” said Blinstrub. “We’re going to get our transition baskets from our good defense, but everyone of our players can shutdown somebody, and we stepped it up another notch today.”
Babson continued it’s offensive surge in the second half, as Collins recorded a jump shot at 18:27, which sparked the Beavers to go on an 11-2 run that preserved the lead for good.
Smith College freshman Paulina Solis, (14 points, three steals) answered on the ensuing possession when she registered two points on a layup to propel the Pioneers to finish the game with an additional 28 points, which wasn’t enough to catch Babson.
“They’re a really good team,” said Blinstrub. “Smith plays great defense, and we just had to play our game and make sure they didn’t rattle us with their defense. I thought that we played smart. We played smart and took care of the ball.”
“It’s always hard to beat a team three times in a season,” said Collins. “We know them so well at this point, and know how they play.”
Babson has now won 65 consecutive conference matches, and will return to the court later this week to prepare for their upcoming quest toward a national championship.
“I don’t care who we play [because] I’m ready to dominate,” said Collins. “And I know my whole team is right behind me when I say that.”
Wurdeman Notches 2,000th Career Point
Early in the second half, Babson senior Nicki Wurdeman collected a pass from Mallios to record a layup at 16:18 to give the Beaver a 49-21 cushion. However, that particular layup didn’t just extend Babson’s lead, but it also provided the co-captain with her 2,000th career point in a Green and White jersey.
“It was pretty great,” said Wurdeman. “It was awesome to share it with all my friends, who’re also my teammates, so it was a really good experience.”
Wurdeman also shared a special moment a few weeks ago with her friends, and classmates when she netted 24 points against Colby College to become the program’s all-time leading scorer.
“She’s just a pleasure to have [on this roster],” said Blinstrub. “She’s the most unselfish player. She could care less about her award, she cares more about her team, and she’s just a great kid, outstanding player, and we’re fortunate to have her.”
Wurdeman ended Sunday’s contest with 14 points and eight rebounds, and is certainly excited about her team’s chances in this year’s tournament.
“We’re going to win the national championship,” said Wurdeman. “That’s all I’ve got to say.”