Worcester, Mass. – Visiting Babson College, ranked 18th in the most recent D3hoops.com national poll, ran its winning streak to eight straight with a convincing 71-46 win over Clark University in New England Women's And Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's basketball action on Wednesday evening.
The Beavers have now won 82 consecutive games against league opponents, improving to an impressive 22-2 overall and 17-0 in conference action. The Cougars, meanwhile, have lost four of their last five games to slip to 12-12.
Babson built its lead on the strength of some excellent defense as they held Clark without a basket for a pair of nearly ten minute stretches in each half. The Beaver advantage reached double figures for the first time after Linnett Graber (Roseland, N.J.) hauled in a rebound and drove coast-to-coast for an 18-7 Babson edge with 6:19 left in the first half.
Liz Brooks (Charlton, Mass.) finally broke the Cougar scoring drought with a swooping inside score, but the Beavers ended the half on a 13-5 run highlighted by a Sarah Collins (Weymouth, Mass.) conventional three-point play to take a 31-14 halftime edge.
The Babson lead ballooned to 20 at 40-20 less than five minutes into the second half but Clark answered with their biggest run of the evening cutting their deficit down to nine following a 15-4 burst that saw both Megan Grondin (Cumberland, Maine) and Emily Reilly (Marlboro, Mass.) drop in three-pointers.
Any thoughts of a Cougar comeback were quickly squashed moments later as the Beavers countered with a 13-2 spurt capped by a Collins steal and breakaway finish that made the score 63-43 with 6:42 left to play.
As they did in the first half, Clark went nearly ten minutes without a basket. Brooke Brennan (Weston, Mass.) connected on a three-pointer with 9:28 left to play that made the score 50-41, but the Cougars never made another basket, scoring their final five points from the free throw line.
Babson controlled the paint, outscoring Clark 34-16 and had 25 points off of 25 Cougar miscues.
Collins recorded the 20th double-double of the season, finishing with a sparking line of 30 points (10-for-16 field goals), 12 rebounds and five blocks. Graber meanwhile added six points, six rebounds, eight assists and no turnovers in 19 minutes of action.
Clark was paced by Reilly, who finished with a team-best 19 points and four rebounds and Ashleigh Condon (Hull, Mass.) added nine points before fouling out.
The Cougars now face a win-and-get-in postseason scenario on Saturday. Clark hosts MIT at 1:00 p.m. and with both teams sporting matching 7-10 records in league play the winner of the season finale will lock up the sixth-seed in the upcoming league tournament and travel to Wellesley next Wednesday.
Babson, on the other hand, will look to complete its fourth consecutive undefeated regular season league slate when they visit Springfield on Saturday.