POUGHKEEPSIE - The Vassar College women’s basketball team needed all of its 50 percent shooting performance to fend off a scrappy Rochester Institute of Technology team, 85-75, on Saturday in Liberty League play at the Athletics & Fitness Center.
The hard-earned victory, Vassar’s 19th on the season, not only kept the Brewers in the hunt for the top seed in the Liberty League playoffs, but also set a new record for victories in a season. With its 11th league victory, the sixth straight, Vassar also set a mark for Liberty League wins.
Now 19-4, 11-3 on the year, the Brewers will play their final two games on the road against Skidmore on Friday and Union on Saturday. RIT, which had won four-straight games, drops to 9-13, 5-8.
RIT was poised to upset the Brewers, jumping out to a 10-2 lead in the first 2:11 of the contest, getting four quick points from junior center Courtney Tennant. While the Brewers were able to tie the contest at 18-18, RIT held firm and forced a tie at 27-27 at the 5:50 mark. That would be the final tie of the game.
The Brewers went on an 8-0 surge powered by the inside-outside combination of sophomore forward Colleen O’Connell and junior guard Cydni Matsuoka, to take a 39-37 lead. Vassar would take a 43-36 lead into the half.
Leading 47-43 with 16:04 to play, Vassar went on a 13-4 run, capped by a nifty inside play from junior forward Hannah Senftleber, to build a 60-47 gap at the midpoint of the second half. The closest RIT would come after that was 79-72 with 2:20 to play.
On Senior Day, with reserves Natalie Allen and Ali Higgins starting, the Vassar bench accounted for 32 of the team’s 85 points. Allen matched her career-high with ten points, while Higgins helped key Vassar’s 13-4 run. Matsuoka led the Brewers with 17 points and six assists. O’Connell had 14 points and nine rebounds.
Tennant was a force for the Tigers, scoring 27 points and grabbing six rebounds.