WORCESTER – Sophomore Jalani Jackson (Brockton, MA) netted 17 points, including four in the final 1:08, as UMass Boston secured a 46-43 triumph over the host Engineers in the opening round of the WPI Holiday Tournament Sunday in Harrington Auditorium. Junior Spencer Vinson (Los Angeles, CA) had a career day with career-highs of 20 points and 14 rebounds in her first career start for the Boynton Hillers (5-4).
With the win, the Beacons improve to 9-1 on the season and will face the winner of the nightcap between Roger Williams and No. 6 Scranton at 3pm Monday. The consolation game is set for 1pm.
Sophomore Caitlin Boermeester (Billerica, MA) contributed eight points and tied her career-best of four rebounds. Junior Alexa Itsines (Nazareth, PA) set a new career standard with five rebounds while freshman McKenna Finken (Simsbury, CT) tied her career rebound best with five.
Sophomore Joie Grassi (Plymouth, MA) totaled 10 boards and eight points as classmate Tahjai Mazyck (Hamden, CT) also netted eight for the Beacons. Sophomore Geanna Williams (Cromwell, CT) chipped in with six rebounds.
UMass Boston claimed a 6-2 advantage following a 3-pointer by sophomore Alecia Quinones (Stoughton, MA) just over four minutes into the contest. WPI then used an 8-0 run to pivot the scoreboard in its favor as freshman Bailey Savage (Charlton, MA) and sophomore Sara Lyons (Pittsford, NY) bookended a pair of buckets by Finken. A late layup by freshman Yodelis Paulino (Lowell, MA) made it a two-point game heading into the second quarter.
After the fourth tie of the stanza, Boermeester netted a layup and Finken later hit the back end of a pair of free throws with 0.1 on the clock for the 24-21 advantage at the half. In all, WPI owned an 18-8 margin in the paint, a 12-6 difference off turnovers, and scored all nine second chance points in the first 20 minutes.
The third quarter was close with neither team gaining more than a three-point advantage. Williams put UMass Boston ahead early in the fourth. Following the ninth and final tie of the game, Vinson connected on the back end of a pair of freebies, but Grassi countered with a layup. Moments later, freshman Victoria Mirecki (Rock Tavern, NY) hit a layup only to have Grassi once again put the Beacons in front with another. Jackson then took over at the charity stripe between a number of decent chances by the Engineers.
Both teams scored 13 off turnovers and 11 from the bench. WPI had a 16-9 margin in second chance points and a slim 28-24 difference in the paint.