WELLESLEY, MA - In a heartbreaking departure from tradition, the Williams College women's basketball team (9-11/3-3 NESCAC) was defeated 67-51 by the Babson College Beavers (17-2/10-0 NEWMAC). The traditional Williams-Babson game dates to 1987, but the matchup has not occurred since 2014. This is the Beaver's first win since 2001, and extends their current season's winning streak to 15 games.
"A big issue we had tonight was our rebounding," said head coach Pat Manning. "We gave up too many second chances. It was tentative, and Babson just plays really strong defense."
Two of Babson's players acquired the coveted double-double–when a player gets both double-digit rebounds and double-digit points. Payton Ouimette scored 21 points and 15 rebounds, while Emily Bonifacic obtained 11 of each. William had two players in double digits for scoring: sophomore Maggie Meehan with 14 and senior Lauren Vostal with 13. Vostal was also Williams' top rebounder with nine.
Babson's skillful ball control contributed to the Beaver's 10 rebounds in the first period in the first quarter as the teams battled it out in the paint. Much of the early part of the first period was spent with the ball switching hands without scoring, but Babson took the lead early on to hold the deficit above five points for the rest of the period. The Beavers would go on to slightly out-rebound the Ephs to at one moment hold a seven-point lead, with Ouimette and Bonifacic scoring much of the 17 points that Babson would acquire in comparison to Williams' 10.
A left-handed layup by Vostal put Williams on a better foot in the start of the second period. Back-to-back three-pointers from the Ephs brought the score to the Beavers up 19-18, the closest in the game so far. In response to Williams putting up eight points in 1:39, Babson's head coach Judy Blinstrub called a time-out in order to help Beavers to regroup. In the wake of this, Ouimette, who is Babson's top scorer, put up six points for her team in a row and was the only player to score on either team for almost three and a half minutes. While Williams was able to tie in scoring for the quarter 14-14, they still trailed behind Babson with the score left at 31-24 for the first quarter.
An unfortunate third quarter saw the Ephs outdone by the Beavers in the paint, as Babson's defensive rebounds would be Williams' undoing. A three-pointer by sophomore Mikaela Topper along with contributions by Vostal and Meehan put the Ephs ahead in points for the period in front of Babson, but their successful run was short-lived. The Beavers found their stride, scoring six times in a row in three minutes to find a new game high lead 49-33. Within this run, Tea Spellacy of Babson would score the Beaver's first three pointer of the game. Another three-pointer by Williams' Morgan Dauk signaled the end of the quarter to both teams, as neither would score in the remaining minute. Babson lead going into the fourth period 49-36.
The fourth saw more of the same back-and-forth action in the paint, as Eph players alternated scoring with Beavers. Back-to-back steals by Bianca Tomassini of Babson saw the Beavers increase their lead to 20 points and Williams calling a time-out. Bonifacic would obtain four rebounds and Ouimette six points to pull Babson into the lead for the win 67-51 over Williams.
"We'll collect ourselves and move on Friday and Saturday for our last two home game," stated Manning. "They're a really great team and we just got out-played tonight."
The Ephs will square off next against Colby College on Friday, February 1 at 7:00 PM.