BU
Wurdeman

AMHERST, Mass. -- Nicki Wurdeman poured in a game-high 27 points on 10-for-14 shooting to lead Babson to a 68-59 victory against Bridgewater State in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.

Babson head coach Judy Blinstrub notched her 500th career victory with the win, as the Beavers advanced to Saturday's second round, where they await the winner of Amherst and St. Joseph’s (N.Y.). After successfully defending its MASCAC Championship en route to a seventh NCAA tournament appearance, Bridgewater closes out its season with a 19-8 overall record.

Hoping to get Babson off to a fast start, Wurdeman opened the scoring with a putback following an Allanah Wynn steal. Wynn then knocked down a jumper from the elbow before a Sarah Collins layup staked the Beavers to a 6-0 lead, prompting a Bridgewater State timeout.

After Jenna Williamson put the Bears on the board at the 16:48 mark, Wurdeman converted a three-point play to extend the Babson lead to seven. Bridgewater answered with five consecutive points, narrowing the deficit to two on a Shelly DePina turnaround jumper and a Williamson triple.

Looking to help the Beavers regain the momentum, Wurdeman rattled off six consecutive points before a Collins run out coupled with another Wurdeman basket suddenly stretched the lead to 12.

Bridgewater senior Monica-Sabina Bharoocha ended the string of 10 consecutive Babson points with a layup at 9:45, but Kathleen King responded with a baseline jumper on the other end to push the lead back up to 21-9.

Still down 12 with just over seven to go in first, Williamson buried a long jumper from the left wing before a Ciara Shaughnessy spot up 3-pointer off of a Michaela Cosby steal cut the Beaver lead to six.

Wanting to close the half out strong, Babson answered by outscoring Bridgewater 9-5 over the final 6:24 of the frame to take a 35-24 edge into the intermission.

With the Bears pulling within nine on a DePina layup early in the second, the Beavers reeled off seven of the game’s next eight points to go up 15 on a Wurdeman layup at 15:24. Back-to-back DePina and Cosby layups brought the Bears back within 11, but a Wurdeman basket just under the 13-minute mark kick-started an 8-3 run over the next 3:52 that gave Babson a 52-36 cushion.

After sophomore Liz Trainor buried a three with 7:52 to go in regulation to push the Beaver lead to 19, Bridgewater rattled off an 11-2 run to cut it to 59-49 with just over five minutes on the clock.

Trading baskets over the next several minutes of action, the Bears pulled within seven on a DePina trey with 24.9 seconds left, but Babson knocked down a pair from the charity stripe down the stretch to seal the victory.

Wurdeman pulled down 11 boards to go with her game-high 27 points, while Collins added 15 points and 14 rebounds. King rounded out the list of Beavers in double figures with 10 points, six rebounds and five assists.

DePina paced Bridgewater with 19 points moving into fourth place on the program’s all-time scoring list (1,162), passing former Bear Cathy Baker (1,152). Williamson added 14 points, four rebounds and four steals, while Cosby and Megan Boutilette had eight points apiece.