Shooting Woes Plague Women's Hoops In 65-59 Loss to Rensselaer In League Action

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Michaela Janowski
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POUGHKEEPSIE, NY (February 7, 2012) – Down by 15 points with 7:59 to play, the Vassar College women's basketball team pulled within three points of Rensselaer with 1:23 remaining, but the visiting Engineers made six consecutive free throws in the final 18 seconds to secure a 65-59 victory in Liberty League action on Tuesday night at the Athletics & Fitness Center.

Both teams struggled with their shooting throughout the entire contest. Vassar offensive woes (which saw the Brewers shoot just 29 percent from the field) enabled RPI to overcome its own tough shooting game at 37 percent, to hold off the Brewers for a second time this season.

Both teams shot a combined 0-for-14 to start the game and it wasn't until the 15:52 mark of the first half that the game's first points were scored. After a slow start, RPI took a 12-11 lead at the 5:58 mark of the first half and never trailed again. The key to RPI's victory came during an 11-2 spurt at the 14:35 juncture of the second half that took the Engineers from a 35-31 advantage to a 46-33 lead with 10 minutes remaining.

The loss drops Vassar to 12-8, 6-5 in the Liberty League, while RPI improves to 14-7, 8-4 in league play. Vassar next travels to Clarkson for a Friday night league game at 6:00 p.m. RPI visits Rochester Institute of Technology on Friday at 6:00 p.m.

Despite shooting 21 percent in the first half, Vassar trailed just 22-19, due in large part to holding senior forward Hillary McKinley, the league's leading scorer at 15.6 points per game, to just two points. McKinley would score 11 second half points, but most of RPI's second half offensive production was produced by senior forward Sarah Wetmore, who tallied a game-high 19 points, seven of which came when the Engineers broke the game open with their 11-2 run.

With Vassar's guard tandem of senior Brittany Parks and sophomore Cydni Matsuoka, along with freshman guard Michaela Janowski leading the comeback, Vassar trimmed the RPI lead, once at 55-40 with 7:59 to play, to 59-53 with 2:09 remaining.

Vassar sophomore forward Hannah Senftleber then converted an old-fashioned 3-point play to bring the Brewers within 59-53 with 1:23 to play. Down the stretch, the Brewers missed two jumpers to come within a point or tie the contest, and then were forced to send the Engineers to the line. RPI's freshman forward Jen Rock calmly made four of her teams six free throws in the final 18 seconds to secure the victory. Matsuoka did make the game interesting by draining a 3-pointer with eight seconds left, cutting the margin to 63-59, but RPI got two free throws from Rock to ice the game.

Matsuoka led Vassar with 12 points, with Parks and Senftleber each contributing 10 points each. Senftleber led the Brewers with nine rebounds.

RPI was led by Wetmore's 19 points and a double-double from McKinley with 13 points and a game-high 16 rebounds, seven that came off the offensive glass.