Freshman forward Shaina Iton scored on a put-back layup to put the Engineers up 30-29 with 13:59 remaining in the second half. This started a 14-3 run for Rensselaer that allowed the home team to distance themselves from the visiting Vassar Brewers. Down the stretch, Vassar never came any closer than four points, and RPI won by a final score of 58-48.
The first half of the basketball game was characterized by tight defense and poor shooting. Vassar shot just 25 percent on field goals, making only eight of its 32 attempts. They outshot RPI, as the Engineers converted on just six of their 30 attempts. Rensselaer did, however, make two of its seven shots from 3-point range. At the half, the score was 18 apiece.
RPI junior guard Ashley Clough started the scoring in the second half by making a layup assisted by senior guard Amanda Lynch to put the Engineers up 20-18. In the following five minutes, the two teams traded baskets. Then, Lynch took over, scoring eight straight points to lift Rensselaer to a seven point lead with 10 minutes left.
Later, after a defensive rebound by sophomore forward Jackie Sortor, the Engineers worked the ball around the Vassar perimeter and scored on a jump shot by junior guard Lauren Young to go up by eight. Then, another basket by Lynch put RPI up 10. With 3:30 remaining, Clough put back a rebound to give RPI a 48-36 lead.
Vassar then went on a 12-4 run to cut the Rensselaer lead to four with 32 seconds left. Lynch and Clough combined for six free throws in the final seconds, though, to seal the win for the Engineers, 58-48.
The key to Rensselaer’s success was better shooting in the second half. After making just six baskets in the first half, RPI made 13 of their 28 attempts in the second half. Leading the way for RPI was Lynch, who scored 21 points (18 of which came in the game’s final 20 minutes) and snagged seven rebounds. Clough added 15 points, while Iton scored 11 points and grabbed 16 rebounds for her second double-double this season. Young scored nine points, pulled down six boards, and blocked five Vassar shots.
For Vassar, guard Caitlin Drakeley scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Guard Ariella Rosenthal added 10 points and eight rebounds.
With the win, the Engineers improve to a record of 11-8, while the Brewers fall to 8-11 with the loss. This victory brings the RPI to tied for third in the Liberty League standings with Clarkson University. Next up for RPI is a pair of road games at Rochester Institute of Technology and William Smith College this weekend.