Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams started their respective seasons strong, with the women posting a 2-2 record, while the men’s team is 1-3 overall.
The women’s basketball team started its season at Keene State College with an overtime loss, despite strong performances from several players—including a double-double from senior Hillary McKinley.
The opening half was close as both teams came out and started well with a score of 29-24 at halftime. Both teams shot 36 percent from the floor, with RPI losing an early lead that it could not get back for the rest of the half.
After the intermission, the Engineers went on an 8-2 run which gave them the lead, and then they extended it to a score of 47-38. The Owls tied the game up at 49 points apiece with five minutes remaining, but RPI responded by taking a three-point lead with only a minute left to play.
After a jumper brought Keene State within one point with only 27 seconds remaining, chaos ensued. A turnover lead to an Owl fast break which resulted in a pair of free throws following a shooting foul on RPI. Keene State senior Sara Laundano tied the game with the first attempt but missed the second, sending the game into overtime.
Keene State dominated the beginning of the overtime with junior Siobhan Carnell getting the first nine points of the period. The Engineers could not overcome the deficit, and the final score gave the Owls the 71-65 victory.
The Engineers’ next game was their opening clash of the Bowdoin Tip-Off Tournament against Eastern Nazarene College. Once again, RPI played a tight and even game until halftime where the score was 32-30, Rensselaer.
Right after the break, the Engineers went on a 18-1 run that was capped by freshman Jen Rock’s two free throws that made it 50-31. By shooting 48 percent from the floor in the second half while limiting Nazarene to 12 percent shooting and forcing them into 38 turnovers, RPI was easily able to win 66-46. Freshman Bailei Tetrault scored 11 points, senior Sarah Wetmore added 10, and Rock scored eight along with seven rebounds as all three lead RPI’s offense to victory.
However, the next game for the Engineers, the final against Bowdoin College, would not go as smoothly. Once again they suffered defeat in overtime with a final score of 65-61 in favor of the 11th-ranked Polar Bears.
RPI held the lead at the break 33-29, and the game remained close throughout. RPI’s largest lead came with seven minutes remaining when a try by senior Lauren Hayes gave the Engineers a 53-48 lead. The Polar Bears came right back with a 6-0 run that resulted in an exciting finish.
After several lead changes and the Engineers down by two points with just 20 seconds remaining, Wetmore hit a jumper to send the game into overtime with the game tied at 59.
RPI was held to just one basket in the overtime frame, but played good defense. However Bowdoin was still able to score four points for the victory. Rock played well, again leading RPI with 14 points. Wetmore earned a spot on the All-Tournament team with a 12-point, 13 rebound performance.
RPI’s fourth game of the season was their home opener as they hosted The Sage Colleges. The Engineers would end up with the victory, topping the Gators 86-46.
It was clear from the beginning that RPI was the dominant force, and many players got playing time as well as points. However, the usual suspects lead the way as McKinley led all scorers with 19 points, as well as grabbing 19 boards, Wetmore scored 14, and Rock scored 10 points along with seven assists.
Rensselaer opened its season on a positive note with a victory in its home opener against Cooper Union College. The Engineers led for a majority of the game and came away with their first victory.
RPI started well with junior Cedric White and freshman Nate Fiala hitting early threes, opening a 10-6 lead over the Hawks. However, the Hawks overcame the deficit to level the score at 19 apiece midway through the first half.
The Engineers restored their lead by halftime as senior captain Matthew Pooley and Fiala each hit a three. At the intermission, the Engineers led 44-32.
Five minutes into the second half, RPI extended its lead to 54-39 as Pooley, White and junior Redon Qello all made baskets. The Engineers would keep the lead at 15 with RPI and Cooper Union trading threes halfway through the period with junior Engineer Brendan Farley making the three-pointer for RPI.
Despite a run from Cooper Union, the Hawks could not close the lead completely as RPI took the win behind Pooley’s 17 points.
RPI then headed to Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a clash of the Engineers. MIT is ranked 10th in Division-III and Rensselaer knew this would be a difficult game.
Pooley continued his excellent form from the previous game and put RPI up 6-2 early in the game. However, despite constant pressure and substitutions, RPI could not hold onto the lead.
Pooley helped keep the game close, and halfway through the half, his three gave RPI a 23-22 lead. MIT reacted and took the lead after a put back. This gave the MIT Engineers the lead for good with nine minutes left in the half.
After a 46-37 advantage at halftime, MIT came out looking to extend the lead. It managed to achieve a 14-point lead, but RPI reacted with a marvelous 13-3 run that closed the deficit to 57-53. Junior Jamie Zajac hit two three pointers, and Farley hit two free throws to key the run.
However, with 15 minutes left, MIT went on its own 11-0 run that gave it a 16-point advantage. Despite 19 points from Pooley, 18 points from Zajac and 21 forced turnovers, RPI could not get the win. The final 104-75 scoreline could most likely be explained by RPI being out-rebounded 47-25 and shooting only 37.7 percent.
RPI’s third game of the season was against The Sage Colleges. The Engineers became the victim as Sage recorded a victory in its own home opener.
Rensselaer struggled to find its shooting touch in the first half, going only 14 for 39 from the floor while the Gators shot 21-36. This gave the Gators a 57-40 lead at halftime, and they would hold on for the victory with the game finishing 101-88—a new Sage record for points.
Farley scored 18 points to lead the Engineers, while Pooley continued his excellent start to the season with another 16 points.
RPI is now 1-2 and plays Williams College on November 29, then the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts on December 2 in the Tri-State Tournament.