After topping the Liberty League preseason polls, the women’s basketball team will have to redeem itself after falling in its opening two contests of the year. In two matches last week, the Engineers fell 68-55 against the Northwood University Seahawks in the Salem State Tip-Off on November 20. The following evening, Rensselaer fell to the host Salem State College Vikings in the consolation match by a margin of 69-66. The two losses place RPI 0-2 on the year, while the Vikings are split at 1-1, and the Seahawks, who finished in second place in the tournament, are also 1-1 on the year.
Friday’s game against Northwood saw the Engineers rebound from deficits several times throughout the first half, before earning its first lead of the game at 10:51. The Seahawks came back to reclaim the lead, however, with a 6-0 scoring run. That lead would stand until 5:06 as back-to-back jump shot from sophomore Hillary McKinley pulled the Engineers ahead 26-24. McKinley added a layup, good for another two points, as RPI entered the half up 30-26.
Both teams exchanged the lead throughout the remainder of the game, but the Seahawks came out on top despite a 12 point effort in the second half alone by graduate student Whitney Coleman. The closest RPI got was within nine points in the final two minutes of play, but Northwood capitalized on several Engineer errors to finish the game up 68-55.
In addition to her 26 point night, Coleman also registered eight rebounds, while McKinley collected a total of seven points and a team-best 10 rebounds. Also of note, sophomore Nicole Monroe netted 10 points, and senior Amanda Brophy added seven.
Determined to not come away as the last-place team, the Engineers entered the consolation match with a strong drive, taking a 6-0 lead in opening minutes of play. After the Vikings took the lead at the 13:59 mark, however, both teams battled back-and-forth for the rest of the half, as neither Salem State nor the Engineers took more than a two-point lead. With just over four minutes remaining in the first half, the Vikings went on an impressive 13 point run to gain a 12 point advantage. Although Rensselaer graduate student Ellen High helped to cut that deficit down to seven with 2:08 left on the clock, RPI still found itself down 39-32 heading to the break.
Salem State continued to put the pressure on throughout the second half, going up by 11 points at 18:31, and creating a lead that Rensselaer would be unable to catch through the remainder of the game. Layups from Coleman pulled the Engineers within two with 16:33 left in the game, and a follow-up basket from Monroe tied the game at 43, but RPI would not come away with a lead. The closest the Engineers would come to tying the game after that was a three-pointer from junior Allison Connor to bring RPI within one, but senior Viking Danielle Jenkins added 10 more points to seal the win.
For the Engineers, Brophy netted a team-high 14 points and eight rebounds, while McKinley had a total of 12 points and a game-best 17 rebounds. Coleman also registered 13 points and eight rebounds on the night.
Rensselaer returns to the courts this weekend for the Amherst College Classic, held in Amherst, Mass. Friday the Engineers face host Amherst College at 6 pm, followed by a matchup with Trinity College at 4 pm on Saturday. In addition, RPI opens its home schedule on Tuesday with a game against Williams College, to be held at the East Campus Athletic Village.
Women’s Cross Country
Rensselaer women’s cross country finished its season November 21 at the NCAA Championships, the first time the team has competed in the national tournament. Freshman Marie Ferro finished 80 out of a field of 280 runners, helping the Engineers finish 28th overall in a pool of 32 teams from across the US.
Ferro’s time of 23:26.1 was the best of all RPI runners. The championship featured a unique scoring system which awarded runners a team score, and a placement. Ferro’s time placed her 53rd in team scoring for the contest.
Also competing were freshman Grace Tilton, who finished 155th overall with a time of 24:05.9 and a team score rank of 109th; junior Christine Koch, who did not finish too far behind, claiming the 165th spot with a time of 24:11.0; junior Danielle Cohen who finished 208th overall; senior Ariel Hubert; and sophomore Ariel Mingrone. Making her second straight NCAA appearance was Erin Kyle, who finished 187th overall with a time of 24:33.3.
This year’s individual winner was St. Lawrence University junior Wendy Pavlus who posted a time of 21:28.0. The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire took home top-team honors, narrowly beating out St. Lawrence by nine points.