Men's Basketball Team Heads to NCAAs; Women's Team Plays in ECACs; Ryan Cain is a Finalist for the Jostens Trophy

WPI's Ryan Cain, NEWMAC Player of the Year, is a Finalist for Division III Basketball Player of the Year Trophy
February 27, 2007

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WORCESTER, Mass. -- After clinching their regular-season titles in the New England Men's and Women's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) and hosting their respective NEWMAC tournaments last week, the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) men's and women's basketball teams have qualified for further post-season play.

The men's team will play in the NCAA Division III championship in Ramapo, N.J. this weekend. WPI will face off against Stevens Institute of Technology in the opening round on Friday, March 2, stating at 6 p.m. View the complete brackets.

The women’s team is the No. 2 seed in the ECAC (Eastern College Athletic Conference) tournament. The team won its first-round game, defeating No. 7 seed Nichols College, 61-53, on Wednesday, Feb. 28, in Harrington Auditorium. On Friday, March 2, at 7 p.m., also in Harrington, WPI will host third-seed Endicott College, which defeated Castleton State, 58-42, in first-round action.

Find out how to get tickets to the men's tournament.

In other basketball news, WPI's Ryan Cain, a pre-season first-team All-American who averages 20.3 points per game, has been named NEWMC Player of the Year. He is also 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.

To reach the NCAAs, the men's team first recorded its fourth straight regular season NEWMAC title on Saturday, Feb. 17, with a 67-57 victory over Coast Guard Academy. The win earned the team a bye in the NEWMAC tournament's opening round. WPI defeated MIT, 66-49, in the semifinal on Saturday, Feb. 24, and fell to Coast Guard, 71-66 in an exciting championship game on Sunday, February 25.

The women won their first regular season NEWMAC title 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, beat Wheaton College, 52-44, in Round 2 on Saturday, and lost to Mount Holyoke in a 51-46 thriller on Sunday.

If the two championships were not reason enough to celebrate, the two teams chalked up a host of other milestones in the week leading up to the NEWMAC championships. Senior Ryan Cain became WPI's all-time leading scorer, with 1,757 points (edging out Orville Bailey ’85). Men's head coach Chris Bartley record his 100th career game and senior Meghan Pajonas became the 14th player in WPI women’s basketball history to reach the 1,000-point milestone.

Read more about the success of the basketball teams and WPI's other varsity teams (including the men’s swimming and diving team, which recently finished fourth at the NEWMAC championships.