Springfield, Mass. - January 5, 2013 - Despite trailing by two with just under three minutes to play, the Springfield College women's basketball team could not complete its upset bid as it dropped a 57-50 decision at nationally-ranked Babson College in a New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contest at Staake Gymnasium on Saturday.
First-year Kristen Ferola hit her only field goal of the game – a critical three-pointer with 40 seconds left in regulation – to help Beavers secure their 69th consecutive win in conference play and their 43rd straight victory at home. Babson, ranked 22nd in the nation by D3hoops.com and 15th by USA Today, improved to 10-1 overall and 5-0 in the NEWMAC.
Senior captain Sarah Collins led all players with 19 points and 15 rebounds for Babson, while first-year Linnett Graber tacked on 17 points, eight boards, and three assists. No other player would score more than six points for the Beavers, who struggled from the field throughout the contest, hitting just 21-of-61 from the floor (34.4 percent).
Springfield (2-9, 0-5 NEWMAC) was led by the duo of sophomore Jaimie Bickelhaupt, who scored a team-high 13 points, and senior Meghan Biondolillo, who hit a trio of three-pointers en route to a 12-point effort. First-year Heather Lewis chipped in with nine points and junior Tamara Tribble pulled down nine rebounds for the Pride.
Babson threatened to pull away early, scoring the first seven points of the contest and eventually building a 10-2 lead on a free throw by sophomore Nikki Heavern with 15:14 left. However, Springfield responded with a 9-1 run that cut its deficit to just one at 12-11, and the Pride later took what would prove to be their only lead of the game, 17-16, on a Lewis jumper with four minutes remaining in the half.
The Beavers scored seven straight points to move back in front before eventually taking a 23-19 advantage into the break. The hosts then kicked off the second half with an 8-0 burst, including four points from Graber, to push the margin to double-digits at 29-19 with just under 17 minutes to play.
The Pride would battle back numerous times over remainder of the contest, but each time Babson would answer with key buckets to re-extend the lead. Springfield’s final push came in the closing minutes of regulation, as a conventional three-point play by Tribble followed by a Biondolillo trifecta made it a two-point game, 51-49, with 2:41 to go. Graber then hit a clutch jumper with 2:12 remaining, and after a free throw by Biondolillo at the other end, Ferola drained a huge three-pointer from the top of the key to push the Beavers’ lead to 56-50 with 40 ticks left.
A free throw and a steal by Collins in the closing seconds would seal the 57-50 Babson win – the Beavers’ second in a row since suffering their lone defeat at the hands of top-ranked DePauw on December 18.
Springfield will play again on Tuesday when it plays the second game of its three-game road swing at Wheaton. Tip off is slated for 7:00 pm.