Farewell to a Dynamite Duo
Kathleen King ’12
Photo: Mickey Goldin
From the start of their Babson basketball careers, Nicki Wurdeman ’12 and Kathleen King ’12 seemed special. Their playing styles and abilities complemented each other, as did their personalities. Wurdeman’s quiet confidence and selfless nature combined with King’s fearlessness and competitive drive to create a perfect storm of basketball excellence.
Through the years, the records, awards, and championships piled up as the pair carried Babson women’s basketball to the forefront of the national scene. In their first season, they led the team to a 20-9 record, the NEWMAC Championship, and an NCAA Tournament berth. The next season, the Beavers finished 28-4, swept the conference to win its second straight league title, and then advanced to the NCAA Tournament’s Elite 8 for the first time in program history. That set the stage for the duo’s epic junior year, as the Beavers rattled off 30 straight victories and again landed in the Elite 8 before finally losing their only game of the season.
Wurdeman and King’s career culminated this past winter with yet another brilliant season, as well as a heartbreaking ending. After going 25-2 and winning its fourth consecutive NEWMAC Championship this past winter, Babson returned to the NCAAs. In the tournament’s opening round, Wurdeman’s 27 points and 11 rebounds propelled the Beavers to a 68-59 victory over Bridgewater State (the game also marked a career milestone for head coach Judy Blinstrub, who became the 17th coach in the history of Division III women’s basketball to reach 500 career wins).
Nicki Wurdeman ’12
Photo: Mickey Goldin
Nemesis Amherst waited in the next round. In the three previous seasons, the Lord Jeffs had knocked the Beavers out of the tourney. Could Babson finally avenge those defeats? Wurdeman and King were outstanding in the game, combining for 32 points and 23 rebounds, and Babson’s defense, one of the nation’s best, frustrated the country’s top-ranked team for much of the contest. Only a lapse in the final three minutes enabled Amherst to pull away, closing out the Beavers’ season.
With the 61-48 loss, one of the greatest eras in Babson Athletics ended. This season, Wurdeman became the first Babson player to surpass 2,000 career points, and she and King each pulled down their 1,000th career rebound. Most impressive, Wurdeman, King, and fellow captain Kelly McKenna ’12 finished their College careers with an overall record of 104-17—the most wins in the history of Babson women’s basketball. —Chris Buck, Sports Information Director