The winner of Smith-Wellesley will advance to Saturday’s semi-finals against No. 1 Babson College. Springfield College and Wheaton College will also face-off in the second round, too. Also, Babson, Springfield and Wheaton each earned first round byes due to their records.
Last season, Babson defeated Springfield in the title match, 19-7, and earned their fifth consecutive tournament championship crown.
BABSON PARK, MA — The Babson Beavers are headed for their fourth straight NEWMAC championship game after a 64-40 win over the 4th seeded Wellesley College Blue on Saturday afternoon at Staake Gymnasium. Junior Sarah Collins led the charge with 20 points, 14 rebounds four assists and six blocks in 32 minutes.
The Beavers opened an early double digit lead with the help of a 12-0 run to make it 23-10 late in the first half, but poor ball protection allowed the Blue to hang around. 10 first half turnovers by Babson helped Wellesley close the gap to a 28-20 score at the half despite shooting 6-for-27.
Wellesley continued their cold shooting in the second half, but the Beavers struggled to take advantage until freshman Erin Young hit a pair of threes within 30 seconds to make it 41-25 with 14 minutes to go. Wellesley then struggled to net a few points following Young’s basket, but managed to tally 15 more before the buzzer sounded.
Babson senior Nicki Wurdeman finished the game 14 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and three blocks. Her 14 points brings her to within 12 points of becoming the first 2,000 point scorer in Babson history, too.
The Beavers will return to the hardwood on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 for the NEWMAC Championship game, and face either Smith College or WPI.
The Division III college basketball season in Massachusetts is slowly dwindling down, and on Saturday, a few conferences will crown some champions, while others will attempt to punch their ticket to the title match on Sunday.
So, without further ado, here are my predictions for Saturday’s various affairs.
NEWMAC Men’s Semi-Finals:
MIT vs. Babson College – If the Beavers want to keep their postseason hopes alive, they’ll have to play flawless basketball against a team that very rarely makes a mistake. However, the Beavers defense has struggled this season against an Engineers offensive unit that can score in and outside the paint. PREDICTION – MIT 72, Babson 63
WPI vs. Springfield College – Both teams have beaten each other once this year, but now, one win will decide who goes on and who goes home. WPI’s senior Matt Carr will be a challenge for Charlie Brock’s team, who’ll need his squad to limit the his offensive production in the paint. PREDICTION – WPI 59, Springfield College 56
NEWMAC Women’s Semi-Finals:
Babson College vs. Wellesley College – The Beavers should have no problem getting past the Blue, who earned an impressive victory on Wednesday against Springfield College. Yet, against seniors Kathleen King and Nicki Wurdeman, as well as junior Sarah Collins, Wellesley will most likely struggle on both offense and defense. PREDICTION – Babson 79, Wellesley 48
Smith College vs. WPI – It’s hard to believe that WPI has made it this far, especially since they’ve endured some tough stretches this year. However, against a well-coached Pioneers team, I’m expecting the Engineers to keep things rather close. PREDICTION – Smith 58, WPI 51
NESCAC Men’s Semi-Finals:
Bates College at Amherst College – The top-ranked Lord Jeffs will face a Bobcats team that they’ve already beaten once this season. Senior David Waller paced Amherst with 19 points in that particular win, and could certainly duplicate his performance on Saturday afternoon. PREDICTION – Amherst 60, Bates 47
Wesleyan University vs. Trinity College – This will certainly be a game that you’ll want to track because either squad is capable of winning this particular match. The Cardinals have contended quite well this year against Trinity, Amherst and Williams, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they maneuver a win past the second best team in the conference. PREDICTION – Wesleyan 62, Trinity 61
NESCAC Women’s Semi-Finals:
Colby College vs. Amherst College – Earlier this season, Amherst struggled from the charity stripe when they faced Colby, but still managed to find a way to beat them in Maine. Although, this particular matchup will be held in Amherst, and you can bet the Lord Jeff supporters will be the “sixth man” for the women sporting the purple, black and white. PREDICTION – Amherst 65, Colby 50
Bowdoin College vs. Tufts University – Prior to their last meeting, the Jumbos were on an 11-game winning streak, which the Polar Bears snapped when they invaded Medford. The Jumbos can avenge their heartbreaking defeat by playing solid defense, and limiting the Polar Bears second and third scoring chances. PREDICTION – Tufts 58, Bowdoin 56
MASCAC Men’s Conference Championship:
Bridgewater State vs. Salem State – This is certainly an enticing matchup, especially since both squads split the season series by winning on their home courts. However, Salem State will be the host in this particular clash, which might provide the extra advantage for the Vikings. PREDICTION – Salem State 88, Bridgewater State 79
MASCAC Women’s Conference Championship:
Bridgewater State vs. MCLA – The Trailblazers ended their season with an excruciating loss to the Bears in Bridgewater. MCLA has outscored their conference opponents this past week, 178-155, and will attempt to limit Bridgewater’s second and third opportunities on the glass, which won’t be easy. PREDICTION – Bridgewater State 76, MCLA 65
GNAC Women’s Conference Championship:
Emmanuel College vs. St. Joe’s (Maine) – The Saints earned their 12th conference championship berth on Thursday when they defeated the Rams of Suffolk University, 87-58. Emmanuel College has won the title match 13 of 16 times, while St. Joe’s last earned the crown in 1998. PREDICTION – Emmanuel College 80, St. Joe’s 65
NECC Men’s Conference Championship:
Becker College vs. Elms College – The Hawks earned an impressive win against Newbury College on Friday, which not only launched them into the conference championship, but also provided head coach Brian Gorman his 100th win. Becker College finished their conference slate 16-0, and should have no problem getting by a physical Elms College team. PREDICTION – Becker College 70, Elms College 60
NECC Women’s Conference Championship:
Daniel Webster vs. Elms College – The Eagles earned some serious momentum on Friday evening when they knocked-off top seeded Regis College, 66-63 in Weston. Now, they’ll try to keep their March Madness hopes alive against Elms College, who defeated Daniel Webster twice this season. PREDICTION – Daniel Webster 65, Elms College 63 oHoweve
Here are some scores and highlights from various Massachusetts D3Hoops games on Saturday, Feb 4.
MIT 69, Springfield College 67 – The Engineers picked up an important NEWMAC conference win on Saturday afternoon in Springfield, as MIT handed the Pride their seventh overall loss. MIT tallied 39 first half points, but yielded 38 to the Pride, which wasn’t enough for the home team to earn a victory. Will Tashman led all scorers with 17 points, while Noel Hollingsworth added 16 for the Engineers.
WPI 82, Coast Guard 76 – The Bears tallied 43 second half points, which wasn’t enough to overcome the visiting Engineers, who earned their 16th victory of the season, as well as six conference win. Matt Carr finished the afternoon with 25 points for the Engineers, while Kevin Sowers and Trip Fernandes scored 14 points each for the Bears.
Amherst College 74, Tufts University 65 – David Hixon‘s crew picked up their final road victory of the season, as well as clinched a home quarterfinal NESCAC game too. Aaron Toomey led all scorers with 18 points.
Bowdoin College 89, Williams College 84 (OT) – The Polar Bears held the Ephs to just five points in the extra frame, which helped the home team pick up their fourth conference win of the season. Nate Robertson helped Williams force overtime when he sank two free throws and recorded a layup with with 24 seconds left in the second half.
Bridgewater State 68, Westfield State 59 – The Bears earned an important conference victory on Saturday, as they defeated the Owls in Westfield by nine points. Bridgewater State has now won three of their last four games, and currently resides in first place in the MASCAC.
Babson College 79, Wheaton College 54 – The Beavers earned their 10th consecutive victory, and preserved their undefeated record in the NEWMAC on Saturday afternoon in Norton. Sarah Collins led the Green and White with 21 points and 14 rebounds, while Nicole Cullinane paced the Lyons with 14 points.
Smith College 73, Coast Guard 51 – The Pioneers earned their sixth consecutive victory by defeating the Bears in Northampton. Smith College has now won 11 conference games, and will hit the road for a two-game swing, which starts in Worcester on Wednesday evening against the Clark University Cougars.
Wellesley College 58, Clark University 53 – The Blue entered halftime with a five-point lead, which proved to be the difference against the Cougars, who tallied 31 points in the second half. Wellesley remains one game back of Clark, who currently resides in third place in the NEWMAC.
Amherst College 48, Tufts University 31 – Lem Atanga McCormick led the Lord Jeffs with 13 points, as Amherst defeated Tufts in Medford and earned the top spot in the upcoming NESCAC tournament.
Williams College 67, Bowdoin College 55 – The Ephs snapped their one-game losing streak with a commanding conference victory in Maine. Williams is now 5-3 in the NESCAC, and 18-4 overall.
Fitchburg State 71, Framingham State 69 – The Falcons snapped a four-game losing streak with a two-point victory at home on Saturday against the Rams. Amy Fahey led all scorers with 34 points in Fitchburg State’s 15th victory of the season.
Regis College 74, Wheelock College 29 – Head Coach Julie Plant picked up her 100th career victory with the Pride, who routed the Wildcats for their fifth consecutive victory.