The William Smith College basketball team picked up a key Liberty League win on Senior Day, putting four players in double figures and outlasting Rensselaer 60-58 today. Senior Kristen Kush’s double-double led the Herons.
In her final regular season appearance in Bristol Gym, Kush recorded 11 points and 10 rebounds for her ninth career double-double. Jaimie Rubin and Liz Douglass also scored 11 points for the Herons. Sasha Borenstein netted a team-high 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc. She moved into second place on William Smith’s single season list for 3-point field goals made with 69, 10 behind Jill Brower’s school standard.
For RPI, Sarah Wetmore netted a game-high 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while Hillary McKinley added 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
The Herons led by as many as 12 in the first half, taking a 32-20 lead on Erin O’Brien’s layup with 4:02 left in the opening period. An 8-1 run to close out the half by Rensselaer closed the gap to 33-28 at the intermission.
Despite picking up three first half fouls, Wetmore led all scorers at the half with eight points.
The Engineers continued to build on their first half momentum as the second half got under way, starting the final 20 minutes on a 15-4 run. Wetmore netted seven more points during the surge.
William Smith fought back to reclaim the lead, but the contest remained tight down the stretch. Wetmore converted a traditional 3-point play with 54 seconds to go to tie the game at 58-all. With 29 ticks remaining, Rubin put the Herons in front with a pair of free throws.
Wetmore got the call for the final shot, but her baseline jumper from eight feet came up short and Kush secured the rebound and the victory.
The Herons were on the wrong side of the rebounding margin (-7) and turnover margin (-5), but made more free throws (17) than RPI attempted (15) and held the Engineers to just 29.7 percent shooting from the field.
William Smith improved to 12-11 overall, 8-6 in the Liberty League. Rensselaer falls to 15-8, 9-5. The Engineers are in second place in the conference entering the final week of the regular season with the Herons one game back in third place. Skidmore and Vassar are tied for fourth place, a half game behind William Smith. The top four teams make the Liberty League Tournament.
The Herons will return to action on Friday, Feb. 17 when they visit Bard (1-21, 0-13). RPI will travel to Skidmore (14-8, 7-6) also on Feb. 17.