Continuing a tradition of excellence, women’s basketball won 24 games this season and made the program’s fifth NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearance, its first trip back since 2011. The team won two NCAA Tournament road contests, beating nationally ranked Messiah College and Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham before bowing out to eventual national champion and top-ranked Amherst College.
“This was a special group,” says veteran head coach Judy Blinstrub, who in early February became the seventh active Division III coach to win 600 games. “We had strong leadership from our senior class and received contributions from several players. We were playing our best basketball at the end of the season.”
In February, the team’s six victories over conference opponents came by an average of 23 points. The Beavers capped the month with 83-59 and 65-46 triumphs over Smith College and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, respectively, to secure their seventh NEWMAC Tournament title in the last nine seasons.
Giovanna Pickering ’17 led the way for the team, becoming just the fourth All-American in program history after earning the New England Women’s Basketball Association and NEWMAC player of the year honors. “We’re really proud of this team,” says Pickering. “We had a lot of seniors who graduated last year, and we had a new group that needed to gel quickly. We were kind of counted out—picked to finish second in the NEWMAC—but we won the championship and made the Sweet 16.”
Throughout their basketball careers, Pickering and classmates Jennifer Narlee ’17, Taylor Russell ’17, and Ashley Snyder ’17 led the Beavers to three 20-win seasons, two NCAA Tournament appearances, and a pair of league tournament crowns.
Babson also finished this season ranked 24th in the country. “We had so many new bodies,” says Russell. “For everyone to step up and give contributions off the bench in every single game was big for us. We are really proud.”—Scott Dietz, associate director of athletics
Ski Teams Finish Big
For the first time in program history, both the men’s and women’s alpine ski teams placed among the top six programs at the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association National Championships. The women tied for fifth in the country, while the men placed sixth nationally.
Headlining the 2017 men’s national championships at Mount Bachelor in Bend, Oregon, were Douglas DeLuca ’20 and MacIntyre Henderson ’20, who together garnered four All-America accolades. Henderson, who finished fifth overall, became just the third skier in program history to earn All-America honors in the slalom, giant slalom, and combined standings in the same season. The men also captured their third USCSA regional title since 2013.
On the women’s side at the national championships, Tatum Alkier ’18 became just the second five-time All-American in program history. She finished 12th in the slalom before taking 15th in the giant slalom and placing 10th in the combined standings. Elizabeth Baer ’20 was right behind Alkier in the giant slalom and picked up her first All-America award by placing 12th in the combined standings.—SD