Despite Niles’s Second Consecutive Double-Double, Women’s Basketball is Eliminated in the NEWMAC Quarterfinals

Played Wednesday evening inside Rockwell Cage, the NEWMAC Women’s Basketball Tournament quarterfinal matchup between third-seeded Engineers and sixth-seeded WPI ended in a 65-52 victory for Kamsi Nwogu (Algonquin, IL) and three other MIT players with 14 points apiece.

With their improved record of 19-7 overall, MIT—which is currently ranked fifth in the NCAA Division III Region II rankings—moves on to the semifinals this Friday, where they will play second-seeded Smith at 7pm. WPI finishes the season with a 13–13 record.

The first five points of the game were scored by the hosts, and then WPI responded with an 8-0 run of their own. It was a run-driven first quarter. After 10 minutes, the home team Engineers led 14-10 after Angie Choi (Cypress, CA) scored seven points in a row to help them counter. The Engineers scored nine of the final 11 points of the frame.

The visitors were up 19–18 at the half thanks to a 3-pointer made by Adrianna Niles of Tewksbury, Massachusetts, with 2:34 remaining before the break. However, MIT scored the last six points of the half, led by a putback layup by Kamsi Nwogu of Algonquin, Illinois, with 22 seconds remaining. This put an end to a possession in which the hosts grabbed three offensive rebounds, giving the Cardinal and Gray a 25–18 lead at the half.

In the third quarter, MIT looked to Elise Harvey (Wayland, MA), Nwogu, and the two scored 17 of the hosts’ 21 points in the quarter, with three 3-pointers from Harvey. They outscored WPI 21-20 in the quarter to take a 46-38 lead into the final quarter.

Less than two minutes into the fourth quarter, the home-standing Engineers took a 50-40 lead after two consecutive baskets gave them their biggest lead of the contest, 10 points. Twice during the last stanza, WPI was able to cut the lead to four points, but MIT was able to respond with buckets on the ensuing possessions to keep the visitors at bay. MIT scored eleven of the last thirteen points of the game after WPI had cut it to 54-50. MIT All-America Nine of the 14 points Christina Antonakakis (Holmdel, NJ) scored came in the last ten minutes of play.

A rebound away from a double-double, Nwogu finished the game 5-for-8 from the field. Choi had three steals, Antonakakis dished out three assists, and Harvey finished with 14 points apiece.

Niles recorded her second consecutive double-double, matching her career high of 21 points and creating a new benchmark with 15 boards, 13 of which came off the defensive glass. The junior had his fourth double-double of the year.

For the visiting Engineers, Alice Kelly (Wethersfield, CT) also had a great performance, scoring 12 points, pulling down seven rebounds, and dishing out the most assists of any player with four. Classmate Ally McMorrow (Quincy, MA) scored three points, including one of the baskets to tie WPI with four in the fourth quarter, while fellow senior Shannon Reno (Millbury, MA) was credited with four points and three assists. Emmy Allyn, a rookie from Rutland, Massachusetts, added eight points.

Strangely enough, both sides forced 14 turnovers while shooting the same 22 for 57 (38.6%) from the field. MIT outrebounded WPI 43-32, including 13-7 on the offensive glass, giving them the advantage in rebounding; however, they were only able to score two additional (9-7) second chance points in the game.