By Amie Canfield
TROY – A double-figure performance from five different players helped propel the Vassar women’s basketball team past Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Liberty League action on Saturday afternoon in the ECAV Arena. The victory moves the Brewers to 15-6 overall and 11-3 in league action. RPI moves to 12-8 on the season with an 8-5 Liberty League record.
Senior center Sophie Nick paced the effort for the Brewers, pouring in 20 points, eight rebounds, two assists and four steals in 28 minutes. Classmate and guard Jackie Cenan added 16 points and a game-high six steals, while junior guard Ryan DeOrio and sophomore guard Dani Douglas each added 12 points. Rounding out the efforts was sophomore guard Sarah Gillooly as she added 10 points.
For the Engineers, senior guard Sam Krumbhaar drained a game-best 25 points to go along with three boards, four assists and a steal. Classmate and forward Celia Tomlinson just missed the double-double with 17 points and nine boards – also adding two blocks, while junior guard Courtney Lewis had 10 points, seven caroms and two steals.
Vassar opened the game on a strong scoring drive, putting up a 21-13 edge following the first quarter of play. Leading the way in the frame was a four-point drive Nick posted a pair of jumpers, sandwiched around back-to-back three’s from Cenan.
The visitors advantage grew in the second quarter as Douglas came out to nail down two straight three’s for a 27-15 edge at 9:18. The Engineers responded as Tomlinson poured in consecutive buckets of her own to cut the edge to 11 (30-19) less than a minute later. Late in the frame, RPI once again counted on Tomlinson as she knocked down five straight points to make it a 34-24 edge for Vassar at 3:09.
Despite the momentum, the Brewers were able to maintain their edge, adding buckets by Nick and Gillooly to head into halftime with the 45-27 advantage.
Third quarter action saw RPI open on a 5-0 run, including a trey from Lewis, but Vassar continued to answer as Nick posted back-to-back jumpers to extend the lead to 17 (49-32) at 7:54. A five-point stretch from Cenan opened the lead to 20 (54-34) with 4:38 to play and the Brewers once again used solid defense down the stretch for the 59-40 lead heading into the final quarter of play.
Fourth quarter action was an RPI affair as the Engineers outscored the Brewers, 30-22, in a bid to reclaim the advantage. A 7-0 run, anchored by a Lewis’ trey, helped cut the lead to 59-47 at the eight minute mark. A three-pointer from Tomlinson, coupled with buckets from senior guard Ines Ortea and back-to-back jumpers from Krumbhaar saw the lead slide down to six points (64-58) with 5:04 to play.
Vassar’s Peczuh sparked a 4-0 drive to push the lead back to 10 (68-58) as she nailed a pair of free throws, but the Engineers continued to keep the margin in single digits as freshman forward Heather Converse poured in a bucket for the 68-60 score.
Down the stretch, RPI continued to pull the game close, but Vassar countered as it dropped in seven of nine shots from the free throw line to once again open the 77-67 edge with 1:03 on the clock. Ortea laid down another three in the final 27 seconds, but a pair of makes at the line by DeOrio sealed the win for the Brewers.
Vassar returns to action this Friday when it hosts Union College at the AFC Gym at 5:30pm. RPI returns to the court tomorrow when it hosts league-leading Ithaca College at 12pm at ECAV Arena.