Worcester, Mass. - February 28, 2009 - Despite 16 points from Corey Finch, the Springfield College women's basketball fell to Babson in the NEWMAC Tournament’s second semifinal on Saturday afternoon at WPI’s Harrington Auditorium. Babson (19-8) moves on to face fourth-seed Wheaton in the NEWMAC Tournament Championship on Sunday at noon.
Springfield sees its season come to an end with the loss, finishing up its campaign at 16-11.
"It was a great year after all was said and done, especially when you consider the difficulties we went through towards the end of the year," said head coach Naomi Graves. "We had a lot of younger players play a lot of minutes, hopefully we can make a transition next year with those same younger players."
Becky Bowman led five Babson players in double figures with a game-high 16 points, leading the second-seeded Beavers past the third-seeded Pride.
With Babson leading by a slim 46-45 margin with 12:37 to play, the Beavers went on a 12-2 run over the next four minutes to take a 58-47 lead and control of the action in the second half. Springfield would repeatedly cut the lead to nine points but could climb no closer, as Babson denied the Pride in its bid to reach its second straight NEWMAC Championship game. Springfield was seeking a rematch with Wheaton, who defeated the Pride 74-69 in the 2008 tournament championship game, but could not overcome the Babson attack.
Springfield led for a majority of the first half, taking a lead on a three-pointer by Rachelle Walker at 15:36 that they would hold for over 14 minutes. The Pride would lead by as much as seven in the opening frame, until a layup by Babson’s Nicole Wurdeman with 48 seconds to go in the half gave Babson the lead at 31-30, its first since an 8-7 edge in the early going.
Babson was able to keep the game close in the first half by shooting the ball well, as the Beavers drained 53.8% of their attempts from the floor in the half (14-for-26). A jumper by Amanda Grammell as time ran out in the half allowed Babson to go into the locker room with the momentum and the game tied at 33 apiece.
Kristy Benoit drained 13 points for the victors in addition to five steals. Kathleen King and Michelle Kenel each contributed 12 points, while Wurdeman posted the game’s only double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Renay Hamilton paced the Beavers with six assists.
Finch led the Pride with 16 points in her final collegiate game. Lauren O’Connor and Abby Connors were also in double figures, each posting 11 points. O’Connor led Springfield with eight rebounds. Meaghan Cavanaugh chipped in with seven for Springfield, while Kelly Murphy dished out a team-high six assists to go along with five steals.
Babson will be shooting for their fourth NEWMAC tournament crown when they face defending champion Wheaton (17-10) in the NEWMAC Championship Game on Sunday. Wheaton will be looking to take home a conference-best sixth NEWMAC Championship trophy. Tipoff will be at 12pm at WPI’s Harrington Auditorium, with the NEWMAC Men’s Basketball Championship game to follow at 2:30pm.