In the women’s basketball team’s attempt to secure its position in the Liberty League playoffs, RPI’s first obstacle was Skidmore College. With both teams fighting for a spot in the postseason festivities, the game was always going to be a challenge for the Engineers.
Unfortunately, the game did not start well for the Engineers as their shooting touch was off and Skidmore jumped out with the first nine points of the game. RPI’s deficit would reach 13 points before it started to bring the game closer as two free throws by senior Nicole Monroe made the game 25-23 in favor of Skidmore. After trading baskets, Skidmore closed out the half with six-straight points to go into the break with the 33-25 advantage.
The second half did not start any better as more missed shots and opportunities by the Engineers allowed Skidmore to extended its lead to 15 points in just over five minutes. However, RPI began to turn things around as it once again mounted a comeback. After RPI got within one point, Skidmore answered with four straight points. Straight away a layup by freshman Jen Rock and a three-pointer by senior Sarah Wetmore tied the game with two minutes to play.
Skidmore then finished the game just as it started with a 9-0 run to close out the match with the Thoroughbreds ahead 59-50. The loss meant RPI was in a three-way tie for second place and needed a win against Clarkson University on Senior Day to confirm its position in the playoffs.
RPI got off the blocks well against Clarkson as it scored the first five points and went on to have an eight-point lead after nine minutes. The Engineers continued to press and extend their lead as they hit 15 points with just under four minutes to play. Clarkson responded and was able to cut that lead in half by halftime as the score was 29-21 heading into the break.
After the intermission, points by freshman Bailei Tetrault, and seniors Lauren Hayes and Hillary McKinley gave RPI a 13-point lead in just over three minutes of play. A pair of free throws from sophomore Kyleigh Oliveira soon gave the Engineers a 19-point lead with the score at 44-25. The lead would never shrink below 15 points and would hit as many as 24 during the rest of the contest. McKinley finished with 12 points to lead the team as Hayes and Rock added another 10 points each in the 66-45 victory.
The win confirmed RPI’s place in the Liberty League Tournament in which it will be the second seed. The Engineers will host Vassar College, the number three seed, today at 7 pm at the East Campus Arena. Should RPI win, the Engineers will play in the tournament finale on Saturday.