Fourth Quarter Rally Falls Short For Blue Basketball at Babson

Senior Kayla Jang scored a game-high 15 points in Wellesley's 43-37 setback at Babson (Julia Monaco).
Senior Kayla Jang scored a game-high 15 points in Wellesley's 43-37 setback at Babson (Julia Monaco).

WELLESLEY, Mass. – Senior Kayla Jang (South Pasadena, Calif.) scored a game-high 15 points for the Blue, but a fourth quarter rally fell just short for Wellesley College basketball in a 43-37 setback to Babson College in New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action on Thursday at Staake Gymnasium.

Babson improves to 10-5 overall and 6-1 in conference play, bouncing back from a Tuesday evening setback to Smith to sweep the season series with the Blue. The Beavers also took a 67-55 victory over Wellesley on December 6. Wellesley is now 3-9 overall (1-5 NEWMAC).

Babson junior forward Payton Ouimette (Medfield, Mass.) paced the Beavers with her tenth double-double of the season, scoring 14 points and grabbing 16 rebounds. Ouimette was the only Babson player in double figures, as junior Elizabeth Lane (Skaneateles, N.Y.) added nine points on 3-of-7 shooting and first year Nicole Hiller (Rocky Hill, Conn.) added eight points off the Babson bench. Lane also pulled down five rebounds, while sophomore Emily Bonifacic (Allendale, N.J.) and first year Shaye Galletta (Riverside, Conn.) matched for game-honors with three assists. 

All 15 of Jang's points came from beyond the arc, as the senior guard shot 5-for-7 from distance while adding three boards and two assists. Sophomore Caitlin Aguirre (El Paso, Texas) chipped in with 10 points, her third straight double-digit output and her seventh in 12 games this season. First year Lane Arkangel (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and sophomore Kendall You Mak (San Francisco, Calif.) each tallied five rebounds, with Arkangel also scoring five points.

For the fourth straight game, Wellesley fell behind early, this time allowing the Beavers to build a 13-6 lead when Galleta closed out the opening quarter with a pair of free throws. The Blue cut into the deficit in the second, moving to within eight when Jang knocked down a triple at 6:42 to make the score 17-9. Another three from Jang made the score 19-12 Babson at 2:59, but Wellesley would head into the half down nine when Aguirre made the score 23-14 with a jumper in the dying seconds.

The Blue matched the Beavers bucket-for-bucket in the third quarter but saw their deficit increase to ten in the final seconds of the stanza with Hiller connected from behind the arc to put Babson up 32-22. Babson opened the fourth with four straight points, stretching their lead to 36-22 when Lane knocked down two free throws at 9:03. However, Wellesley went on to outscore the hosts 15-7 over the final nine minutes of play. The Blue cut the lead down to five points in the final minute when Aguirre hit a three to make the score 42-37. Wellesley forced a turnover on the next Babson possession but came up empty on the offensive end as the rally fell short in a 43-37 setback.

Babson finished the game at 37% (17-of-46) from the floor, with Wellesley countering at 27.5% (14-of-51). The Blue connected on 9-of-22 attempts from three-point range (27.5%) while limiting Babson to just 2-of-16 (12.5%) shooting from beyond the arc. Babson had a 35-25 edge in the rebounding column.

Both teams will continue NEWMAC play on Saturday afternoon, January 13, at 1:00 PM. Wellesley will play at Coast Guard, while Babson will host Clark.