Balanced Attack Leads Amherst Women past
Late Cardinal rally not enough to overcome 20-1 first-half run as Jeffs win fourth in a row
MIDDLETOWN, Connecticut - Behind a balanced
scoring attack that saw five different players score nine points
or more, the Amherst women's basketball team cruised to its fourth
straight win on Tuesday night, holding off a late Wesleyan University
rally to defeat the host Cardinals, 69-55, in the NESCAC opener
for both teams.
On the heels of Saturday's dramatic 53-50 win over arch-rival Williams College, the Jeffs came out firing in their fourth game in eight days, knocking down five of their first six three-point attempts. Freshman guard Sally Hamill (Scituate, MA) connected on her first two attempts from behind the arc, and three different Jeffs connected from long range during a 20-1 run that saw the Jeffs take a 34-11 lead at the 3:13 mark of the first half. Junior forward Charlotte Taylor (Harvard, MA), en route to a career-high 12-point performance, connected for seven first-half points, as the Jeffs shot 50 percent from the field (12-24), and outrebounded the Cardinals 21-14 in the first 20 minutes. Freshman Amherst forward Sarah Walker (West Hartford, CT) grabbed 11 of her game-high 13 rebounds in the opening half, including four on the offensive end. A late Cardinal run, fueled by sophomore forward Shay Bernius (Potomac, MD) and freshman guard Shaleen Bowman (Guilford, CT), helped stop the bleeding, and the Jeffs took a 36-20 lead to halftime.
The second half began in the same fashion as the first, as senior Co-captain Naomi Sullivan (Hudson, MA) opened the scoring and Taylor followed with her second three-pointer of the game, and the Jeffs held a 23-point lead, their largest of the evening, after Hamill drained her third three of the night at the 14:31 mark to put the visitors up 47-24.
But the Cardinals refused to go away, slowly chipping away at the Jeffs lead behind the play of Bowman and sophomore forward Whitney Ebbeson (Medford, NJ). A 16-2 Wesleyan run cut the Amherst lead down to 49-40 at the 7:51 mark before the Jeffs responded. Sullivan drained three consecutive free throws, and senior Co-captain Liza Feldman (Sudbury, MA) hit a short jumper off a feed from sophomore Cara Coscarelli (West Hartford, CT) to put Amherst back up by 11. Ebbeson scored on the Cardinals' ensuing possession, but that would be the closest the Cardinals would come as the Jeffs put the game away. A three-pointer from freshman point guard Sara Bozorg (Amherst, MA) and eight points from Feldman--who scored 10 of her 13 in the second half, including eight in a two-minute stretch late in the game--put the Jeffs back up by 15 inside the two-minute mark. A jumper from Walker that just beat the shot clock with 1:43 remaining gave the visitors a 67-50 lead, sealing their fourth consecutive victory, and their fourth in eight days.
For the Jeffs (8-4), Sullivan, who was named NESCAC Player of the Week on Monday, led the way with a game-high 14 points, while Feldman and Taylor also finished in double figures. Despite foul trouble, Walker finished with three blocks to go along with a solid 9-point, 13-rebound performance, and Hamill also finished with nine points, shooting three of seven from behind the arc. For the game, Amherst shot nine for 15 from long range, their best performance of the season.
For the Cardinals, Ebbeson led the way with a team-high 12 points, while sophomore forward Allyson Miller (Shrewsbury, MA) pulled down 11 rebounds to go along with eight points. The Cardinals, who fall to 6-6 with the loss, shot a paltry 13-23 (56.5%) from the foul line for the game, while the Jeffs finished 18-26, just under 70 percent.
The Jeffs are next in action Thursday night at home against Western New England College (8-3), a 7:00 p.m. start in LeFrak Gymnasium, while the Cardinals battle Smith College on Thursday before back-to-back matches against Williams. Though the Wesleyan game was the Jeffs' second against a NESCAC foe, it was their first that counts towards conference standings, with only one game against both Wesleyan and Williams counting for the league.
Amherst (69) Sullivan 4-14 6-8 14, Feldman 4-4 3-5 13, Taylor 4-5 2-4 12, Walker 3-7 3-4 9, Hamill 3-8 0-0 9, Bozorg 2-2 1-1 6, Putnam 1-3 3-4 6, Diamond 0-0 0-0 0, Coscarelli 0-2 0-0 0, Sacher 0-0 0-0 0, TOTALS 21-45 18-26 69
Wesleyan (55) Ebbeson 5-10 2-4 12, Bernius 2-7 6-10 10, Bowman 3-8 1-3 10, St. Martin 4-7 0-0 9, Miller 4-11 0-0 8, Prosper 0-2 2-2 2, Smith 1-1 0-0 2, Lewis 0-2 1-2 1, Bennett 0-4 1-2 1, TOTALS 19-52 13-23 55
3-point goals - Amherst 9-15 (Hamill 3-7, Taylor 2-2, Feldman 2-2, Bozorg 1-1, Putnam 1-3), Wesleyan 4-7 (Bowman 3-4, St. Martin 1-2, Prosper 0-1). Fouled out - None. Rebounds - Amherst 35 (Walker 13), Wesleyan 31 (Miller 11). Assists - Amherst 12 (Bozorg 4), Wesleyan 8 (St. Martin 3). Total fouls - Amherst 20, Wesleyan 19. Technicals - None. Attendance - 150.