This release is courtesy of Babson Sports Information.
BABSON PARK, Mass.--Senior Giovanna Pickering (Hull, Mass.) scored a career-high 35 points as top-seeded Babson College defeated fifth-seeded Smith College, 83-59, in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament semifinal on Saturdayafternoon at Staake Gymnasium.
With the victory, Babson (21-5) advances to the conference title game for the eighth time in nine years, while Smith falls to 18-9 on the year.
Pickering was 14-of-24 from the floor and knocked down a career-best four three-pointers to go along with eight rebounds and three assists for the Beavers. Senior Taylor Russell (Braintree, Mass.) added 13 points and four steals, while classmate Jennifer Narlee (Medfield, Mass.) led all players with 16 rebounds.
Junior Paige Marquez (San Francisco, Calif.) came off the bench to score 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting for the Pioneers. Sophomore Erin Hanley (San Francisco, Calif.) added 10 points and five rebounds, while classmate Lauren Bondi (Burnaby, British Columbia) tied for game-high honors with four assists.
The Green and White connected on six of its first nine shots to build a 13-6 lead on a three-pointer by sophomore Elizabeth Lane(Skaneateles, N.Y.) four minutes into the first quarter. Classmate Katherine Tamulionis (Foxboro, Mass.) scored in transition to make it 18-6 two minutes later and then buried a triple to extend the margin to 27-13 with 7:10 left in the second quarter. Six consecutive points by Pickering, who scored 12 in the stanza, made it 39-17 at the 3:06 mark before Smith closed its deficit to 41-24 at the break with a late 7-2 burst.
The Pioneers scored the first eight points of the second half, including four by Hanley, to get as close as 41-32 before Babson responded with 17-2 run. Pickering contributed nine points and Russell had eight during the spurt, which gave the Green and White a 58-34 edge with 2:20 to go in the third.
Smith pulled within 16 on a three-pointer by Bondi with 8:10 to go in the fourth quarter, but Pickering keyed another 13-2 run that pushed the Babson lead to 77-50 with under five minutes remaining.
The Beavers shot 46.5 percent for the game and finished with a 51-36 advantage on the glass.
Smith shot 34.3 percent overall, but were just 6-of-27 (22.2 percent) from distance.
Babson will host either third-seeded WPI or seventh-seeded Clark in the NEWMAC Tournament championship game on Sunday at 12 p.m.
- The Beavers, who swept Smith in the regular season, have now won 18 of their last 20 games against the Pioneers going back to 2010.
- Babson is 18-2 in NEWMAC Tournament play since 2009 and has won 15 of its last 16 home playoff games.
- The Beavers have won 15 consecutive Saturday games going back to November of 2015.
- Babson has won 65 consecutive games when scoring 75 points or more going back to 2008.