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NCAA Tournament First Round: Smith Advances Past Merchant Marine; MIT Falls to St. Joseph's

NCAA Tournament First Round: Smith Advances Past Merchant Marine; MIT Falls to St. Joseph's

This release is courtesy of Smith College and MIT Sports Information. 

BRUNSWICK, Maine - The Smith College basketball team cruised to a 74-51 win over the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Championship Friday night on the campus of Bowdoin College.

The victory boosts Smith's record to 22-6, marking just the third time in the history of the program that the Pioneers hit the 22-win plateau. The win on the national stage marked Smith's first win in the NCAA Tournament since 2013. The Mariners season comes to a close with a record of 22-4.

SMITH HIGHLIGHTS

  • Senior Katy McClellan (Palmyra, Pa./Palmyra Area) led the way with 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting to go along with four rebounds, three assists, and three steals.
  • Senior forward Kennedy Guest-Pritchett (Fairburn, Ga./The Lawrenceville School) recorded her 14th double-double of the year, finishing with 12 points and 14 boards.
  • Sophomore Elle Jo Whalen (Woodinville, Wash./Woodinville High School) posted a career-high 15 points and seven rebounds.
  • Senior Lauren Bondi (Burnaby, BC, Can./Notre Dame Secondary) chipped in with 12 points and a career-high nine assists.


USMMA HIGHLIGHTS

  • Kaleigh D'Arcy finished with 23 points as the junior guard netted her 1,000th career point in the setback.
  • Junior Taylor Hightower totaled 13 points and six boards.


GAME NOTES

  • The Pioneers improve to 2-0 all-time in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and 2-1 overall.
  • Smith won the battle of the boards, 43-28.
  • The Pioneers shot 50% (32-of-64) from the field but just 31.3% (5-of-16) from three-point range.
  • The Mariners were 32.1% (17-of-53) from the floor and shot 22.2% (2-of-9) from long distance.


HOW IT HAPPENED

A lay-up from Whalen 2:42 into the first quarter gave the Pioneers a 7-2 lead. Two free throws from Julia Dahlke brought the Mariners within one, 9-8, before Smith closed out the quarter on a 10-2 run over the final 4:42. McClellan finished the opening stanza with seven points as the Pioneers led 19-10 after one.

With a 23-13 lead at the 8:45 mark, Bondi buried a three-pointer which ignited an 8-0 run, giving Smith a 31-13 lead midway through the second period. Guest-Pritchett's lay-up with 1:51 remaining allowed the Pioneers to enjoy their largest lead of the half, 40-19, but four points from D'Arcy to end the quarter made it 49-23 game at halftime.

A trey from D'Arcy 1:26 into the third quarter cut the lead to 13 (45-32) before an 8-0 run from the Pioneers gave them a comfortable cushion at 53-32. Two free throws by D'Arcy with 11 seconds left in the quarter sent the game to the fourth with Smith ahead 59-43.

The Pioneers outscored USMMA 15-8 in the fourth en route to the 74-51 final.

UP NEXT
The Pioneers will face the winner of Hunter vs. Bowdoin on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. in the second round of the NCAA Division III Championships.

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THE BASICS:

- Score: No. 12 (WBCA)/No. 14 (D3hoops.com) Saint Joseph's College of Maine 68, MIT 61

- Records: MIT (21-8); Saint Joseph's (28-1)

- Location: Ithaca, N.Y. (Ben Light Gymnasium)

- The Lead: Nationally-ranked No. 12/14 Saint Joseph's College of Maine drained all six of its free throws during the final 42 seconds to hold off MIT's comeback attempt and record a 68-61 victory in the first round of the NCAA Division Women's Basketball Tournament at Ithaca College on Friday night. Senior Dolly Yuan(San Jose, Calif.) tallied 12 points, five rebounds, three assists, and two steals for the Engineers.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

- The Monks scored the first five points of the game, but MIT rattled off eight straight points, taking the lead at the 5:38 mark. A three-pointer by Yuan was followed by a trey from senior Kristen Ngan (Sudbury, Mass.) and then Yuan tacked on two free throws. Saint Joseph's responded with a 15-2 run to close the quarter, creating a 20-10 advantage.

- The Engineers chipped away at the deficit, going in front 25-24 courtesy of a layup by Ngan with 3:20 on the clock in the second stanza. An exchange of baskets followed until a three-pointer by the Monks gave them a 31-27 edge with 1:51 to go. A layup by sophomore Kylie Gallagher (Upton, Mass.) brought MIT within one but Saint Joseph's knocked down a three-pointer with three ticks left, entering halftime with a 34-29 lead.

- The Monks opened the third quarter with a 12-5 run, however, the Engineers scored six of the next seven points, using Ngan's floating jumper in the lane to trim the deficit to 47-40 midway through the quarter. Saint Joseph's drained a layup on its next possession, sparking an 8-3 run to close the quarter.  

- MIT kicked off the final frame with a layup by Ngan followed by three-pointers from senior Kara Holinski (Livonia, Mich.) as well as first-years Annika Sougstad (Mahtomedi, Minn.) and Christina Antonakakis (Holmdel, N.J.) to come within one (55-54) at the 8:11 mark. A three-pointer gave the Monks some breathing room but sophomore Jocelyn Luizzi's (Colchester, Conn.)put-back led to both teams trading baskets, capped by Holinski's steal and fast-break layup that made the score 62-60 with 2:51 on the clock. MIT attempted several shots from behind the arc down the stretch, however, Saint Joseph's went 6-of-6 at the charity stripe during the final 42 seconds to secure the victory.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- Ngan finished with a team-high 14 points while Luizzi totaled 12 points and eight rebounds. Senior Taylor V'Dovec (Blaine, Wash.) registered seven points and seven boards as Gallagher notched six rebounds and two blocks.

- The Engineers had the advantage in bench scoring (19-5) and second-chance points (8-4).

- The Monks led the way in field-goal percentage (44.6 – 34.9), rebounds (40-35), points off turnovers (20-16), and points in the paint (30-26).