MIT stops women's basketball in Salem State tournament opener

SALEM, Mass. -- Balanced and sharp-shooting MIT downed the Bates women's basketball team 82-52 Thursday in the opening game of the Salem State Holiday Classic.

Seven players scored between nine and 12 points for the Engineers (8-2), led by Liana Ilutzki and Kara Holinski with 12 apiece. Ilutzki added five assists and six rebounds. Maude Gull scored 11 points off the bench, shooting 3-for-3 from three-point territory.

Senior Allie Coppola (Tarrytown, N.Y.) led the Bobcats (2-7) with a season-high 19 points and eight rebounds, including 12 points and five boards in the second quarter. Coppola made 8-of-11 shots from the field.

First-year Carly Christofi (Fairlawn, N.J.) and junior Nina Davenport (Freeport, Maine) added eight points apiece for Bates. Christofi made 2-of-4 three-point attemptes and led the Bobcats in assists (2) and steals (2).

The Engineers outshot Bates .493 to .321 from the field and made 13-of-21 three-point attempts (.619), more than offsetting a sizable difference between the teams in points from the free-throw line. Bates made 13-of-24 from the line (.542) while MIT was 3-for-3 (1.000).

Davenport fed Coppola underneath for a layup with 3:20 left in the first quarter, tying the game for the final time at 9-9. MIT then reeled off eight unanswered points with hoops by four different players, taking a 17-9 lead on Ilutzi's layup before a pair of free throws by junior Lexie Nason (Boxford, Mass.) closed the gap to 17-11 at the end of the quarter.

But MIT extended its run to 14-2, opening the second quarter with threes by Gull and Holinski for a 23-11 lead. Gull and Taylor V'Dovec sandwiched a pair of free throws by Coppola to extend the lead to 33-19. Coppola personally outscored the Engineers 6-2 in the final minutes of the half, tallying all but two of Bates' points in the second quarter, to close the gap to 35-25 at the break.

MIT kept its foot on the gas in the second half, however, outscoring Bates 19-11 in the third quarter and 28-16 in the final period, opening a lead of as many as 37 points.

The sharp-shooting Engineers opened the fourth quarter with seven consecutive made 3-pointers in seven straight possessions. Dolly Yuan made three straight threes during that stretch. As a team, MIT shot 9-15 from deep in the second half.

MIT will play the winner between D'Youville and Salem State on Friday at 3pm in the tournament championship game; Bates will face the loser in the consolation game at 1pm.