Big Week for Basketball: Men's and Women's Teams Win Titles, Host Tournaments; Cain a Finalist for Jostens Trophy

Jostens Trophy Honors the Top Division III Basketball Player of the Year; Cain is WPI's All-Time Leading Scorer
February 21, 2007

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WORCESTER, Mass. -- The Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) men's and women's basketball teams clinched regular season NEWMAC championships with victories last week. Both teams are hosting their respective NEWMAC tournaments this weekend.

The men's team, which recorded its fourth straight regular season title on Saturday, Feb. 17, with a 67-57 victory over Coast Guard Academy, earned a bye in the NEWMAC tournament's opening round and will play MIT in second-round action at noon on Saturday, Feb. 24, in WPI's Harrington Auditorium. A win would propel the tem to the championship game at noon on Sunday, February 25. The team is currently ranked 13th nationally.

The regular season championship was the first for the women’s basketball team, which earned the honor with a 59-42 win over Wellesley College. The team defeated Smith College 54-28 in the opening round of the NEWMAC tournament Wednesday evening and will play Wheaton College in Round 2 at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday in Harrington. The women’s championship Game is set for 2:30 p.m. on Saturday

See the brackets for the men's tournament and the women's tournament (PDFs). Audio of the games will be Webcast.

If the two championships were not reason enough to celebrate, the two teams chalked up a host of other milestones over the past week. Senior Ryan Cain become WPI's all-time leading scorer, with 1,757 points (edging out Orville Bailey ’85). Later, Cain, a pre-season first-team All-American who averages 20.3 points per game, learned that is one of 10 finalists for the prestigious Jostens Trophy, a national award created by the Rotary Club of Salem, Va. (the site of the Final Four) to honor the most outstanding NCAA Division III player of the year. Recipients are honored for their basketball ability, academic prowess, and community service.

Listen to the Coast Guard broadcast of Ryan Cain's record-setting basket.

During the same game that saw Cain's 1,757th point, head coach Chris Bartley record his 100th career game. Earlier in the week, during a 44-31 defeat of Babson College, senior Meghan Pajonas became the 14th player in WPI women’s basketball history to reach the 1,000-point milestone.

Other Sports News From the Past Week

Freshman Morgan Guardino became the first WPI women’s swimming and diving athlete to qualify for an NCAA championship when she tallied 411 points in the one-meter diving event during the first day of the NEWMAC championships, Friday, Feb. 16. Pending a review of her performance by NCAA judges, she should be heading to the Division III finals in Houston, March 8-10.

Senior Maceo Braxton scored a second-place finish in the 55-meter dash at the New England Division III men's indoor track and field championships at Bates College last week. His time of 6.46 was good enough to qualify provisionally for the NCAA championships in Terre Haute, Ind., March 5.

Braxton and five other men's and women's track and field athletes (Megan Murphy, who set a school record in the 800, Jeremy Shaw, Amanda Gurnon, and the women’s 4x400 relay team of Meghan Woods, Samantha Cote, Danielle Volpe and Megan Murphy) have earned All-New England honors.

In wrestling, Larry Loomis earned All-New England status after winning four of his six bouts at the New England Championships last weekend at Roger Williams. Loomis placed 5th in the rugged 174 pound class.

Read more WPI athletics news.