Amherst Set to Host Four Matches against
Basketball, Swimming & Diving teams prepare for Saturday clashes against Williams
AMHERST, Massachusetts -- Four different
Amherst teams face off against arch-rival Williams College on
Saturday, beginning with the women's swimming and diving team,
which battles its nemesis at 1:00 p.m. in Pratt Pool. The men's
swimming and diving team's meet against the Ephs follows the conclusion
of the women's meet, before the action moves to LeFrak Gymnasium
for the evening basketball doubleheader. The women's basketball
team battles Williams in a 6:00 p.m. tip-off, while the men's
game is tentatively scheduled for 8:00 p.m., depending on the
finish of the women's game.
While admission to the swim meets is free, the following ticket prices will be in effect for the basketball doubleheader:
A limited number of media credentials are
available to the press corps by contacting Sarah Lukaska, Amherst's
Sports Information Director, at (413) 542-2390.
The Amherst Sports Information Hotline, (413) 542-JEFF (5333), will have up-to-the-minute updates throughout the day on Saturday for those unable to attend.
Saturday night, LeFrak Gymnasium plays host to the 45th
of the Amherst and Williams College women's basketball teams in
the opening game of an Amherst/Williams basketball doubleheader.
The Jeffs, who are 19-25 against their arch-rivals all-time, are
out for revenge after the Ephs swept both meetings last year,
including a 55-53 win in Amherst last January 30, and an 81-73
overtime victory in Williamstown on January 16.
The Jeffs, who last defeated their arch-rivals two years ago in Williamstown, come into today's Little III opener with two wins to show for two January games, including an impressive 65-59 win at Babson College on Thursday night, and a 65-62 win over Smith College here on Tuesday night.
Senior Co-captain Naomi Sullivan (Hudson, MA) leads a very young and talented Amherst team into the matchup, averaging 17 points and just under six rebounds per game. Sullivan has scored at least 20 points on four different occasions this season, including a 22-point effort against Smith and a 27-point outburst in 25 minutes at Babson on Thursday, the second-highest mark of her career.
Behind Sullivan, the Jeffs will look to a trio of freshmen, point guard Sara Bozorg (Amherst, MA), shooting guard Sally Hamill (Scitutate, MA) and center Sarah Walker (West Hartford, CT), for much of their offense. Walker is second on the team in scoring, averaging 9.6 points per game, and is pulling down a NESCAC-best 10.8 rebounds per game, including a 20-rebound performance against Keene State College on December 1. Bozorg and Hamill have combined to average 14 points per game, while Bozorg's 3.9 assists per game is a team-high and puts her up among the NESCAC leaders. Junior Charlotte Taylor (Harvard, MA) has also given the Jeffs a boost from the small forward position, including a career-high 10-point game against Smith on Tuesday, and a career-high nine rebounds against Babson on Thursday.
The Ephs, who advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament one season ago, have struggled slightly in their quest to make it back to the NCAAs, with losses in three of their last five games, including a pair to Keene State and Babson, both teams that the Jeffs have defeated.
Leading the way for Williams is the trio of senior Tri-captain Rebecca Brooks (Simsbury, CT), junior guard Liz Tilley (Queens, NY) and first-year guard Kate Stumpo (Walpole, MA), who are all averaging double-figures in points per game. Brooks' 16 points and 9.5 rebounds per game are both team highs, and the senior can become just the sixth women's basketball player in school history to reach the 1,000-point plateau with nine points against Amherst tomorrow.
The duo of Tri-captains Sam Daigenault (Center Harbor, NH) and Katie Ford (Lynnfield, MA) will also see quality minutes for the visitors, along with freshman Abi Jackson (Jamaica Plain, MA) and sophomore Nicole Stevens (Riviera Beach, FL), who are scoring just under 15 points per game between them.
Today's game opens the NESCAC conference schedule for both teams, with the Jeffs heading down to Little III rival Wesleyan University on Tuesday night, while the Ephs host Hamilton College on Tuesday before a pair of games against Wesleyan next weekend.
Williams has won at least a share of the last five Little Three titles, a streak the Jeffs will look to cut into this evening.
In the nightcap of the basketball doubleheader, the team
for revenge is visiting Williams, who suffered an Amherst sweep
for the first time in 10 years last season. The Jeffs cruised
to a 90-67 win at Chandler Gymansium (their first ever in the
building) before finishing the sweep in Amherst courtesy of a
74-71 win on January 30, capturing their first outright Little
III title since 1989.
In tonight's game, the 172nd meeting between the two arch-rivals, the host Jeffs will look for their fourth-straight home win over Williams, and their second Little III win in four days, following Wednesday night's impressive 84-65 win in Middletown, Conn., over Wesleyan University.
Against the Cardinals, junior guard Erik Kelly (Staples, MN) connected for a game-high 18 points on six of 14 shooting, while freshman forward Steve Zieja (Hadley, MA) netted a career-best 14 points, including a 5-6 performance from the field, to help pace the Jeffs. Zieja also recorded a season-high 15 rebounds last Saturday against Vassar College.
For the season, Kelly, averaging 14.7 points per game, leads an Amherst attack that has four different players averaging in double figures. Fellow junior Brain Daoust (Dover, MA) has developed a scoring touch from the point-guard position, averaging just under 13 points per game, while senior Co-captains Hugh Quattlebaum (Andover, MA) and Chris Smith (Swarthmore, PA) have done everything for the Jeffs, combining for over 23 points, 14 rebounds and six assists per game.
Senior forward Jackson Collins (Brooklyn, NY) has only gotten better throughout the season, including a career-high 18-point effort against Vassar College last Saturday, and his first career double-double on Sunday against Washington College (MD). Newcomer Pat Fitzsimons (Durham, NC) has given the Jeffs an added scoring touch inside, including back-to-back double-digit games earlier this season.
Williams also sports four different players averaging in double figures, led by junior forward Joe Weiss (Washington, DC), who is averaging 19.8 points and just over seven rebounds per game. Freshman phenom Tim Folan (Kensington, MD) has been a nice surprise for the Ephs, netting 13.5 points per game, second-best on the team, while junior Manny Benjamin (Harare, Zimbabwe), has been a force on the boards for the visitors.
Senior Tri-captain Jim Sheehy (Syosset, NY) runs the Williams attack, dishing out 5.4 assists per game, while junior guard Andrew Conley (Wakefield, MA) and senior Tri-captain Sean Keenan (Rutland, VT) have also seen quality minutes for the Ephmen.
The Ephs have jumped out to a fast start this season, with an 80-76 loss at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) as the lone blemish on an otherwise perfect record, but six of their first eight games have been in the friendly confines of Chandler Gymnasium, where they are 6-0 this season. MCLA is the only common opponent between the two teams so far, as the Jeffs opened their season on November 30 with a 108-72 blowout of the Mohawks in LeFrak.
Williams leads the all-time series against Amherst, 103-68, but this year's senior class of Collins, Quattlebaum and Smith has never lost to the Ephs at home.
January 15, 2000:
Women's Swimming & Diving vs. Williams College, Pratt Pool, 1:00 p.m.
Men's Swimming & Diving vs. Williams, Pratt Pool, 4:00 p.m.
Women's Basketball vs. Williams, LeFrak Gymnasium, 6:00 p.m.
Men's Basketball vs. Williams, LeFrak Gymnasium, 8:00 p.m.