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Amherst College > Athletics > Men's Basketball > Hoop Teams Set for Williams
   

Men's & Women's Hoops Teams Set to Host Archrival Williams

January 11, 2002

Ryan Faulkner '03
Junior playmaker Ryan Faulkner leads the NESCAC at 6.0 assists per game
AMHERST, MA - The Amherst College men's and women's basketball teams will host NESCAC and Little Three rival Williams College in a non-league doubleheader Saturday evening at LeFrak Gymnasium. The women's game will tip off at 6 p.m. with the men to follow shortly thereafter. Ticket prices are $1.00 for students and children and $3.00 for adults. Admission is free with an Amherst ID.

The men's matchup features two of the best teams in the nation. Undefeated Williams (11-0) comes into the game ranked 10th in the nation according to the latest Basketball America Division III Poll, fresh off Wednesday night's 65-57 win over Wesleyan University. The Ephs also downed Clark University, 80-78, in overtime earlier this season - a notable win because Clark has defeated Amherst three straight times, including an 87-77 win on December 4, and an 89-76 win in the second round of last year's NCAA Tournament. Junior co-captain Drew DeMuth (Carlisle, PA) poured in a team-high 21 points against Wesleyan and leads Williams in scoring and rebounding at 17.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.

Amherst (8-2), meanwhile, dropped 11 slots to No. 21 in this week's Basketball America Poll, due in large part to a hard-fought 93-86 loss at NAIA power Embry-Riddle University on New Year's Day. The Jeffs are coming off an impressive 66-62 win over a tough Colby-Sawyer squad, which entered the game with an 8-2 record and a perfect 5-0 mark against NESCAC opponents. Sophomore guard Adam Harper (Washington, DC), playing just his third game since returning from a stress fracture in his left foot, posted game-highs of six steals and 18 points to energize Amherst, snapping Colby-Sawyer's four game winning streak.

Harper's return has provided a nice shot in the arm, but juniors Steve Zieja (Hadley, MA), Pat Fitzsimons (Durham, NC) and Ryan Faulkner (Lebanon, NH) remain the backbones of the ballclub. Zieja, a Second-Team All-NESCAC selection last season, leads the Jeffs and ranks among the conference leaders in scoring (16.0 ppg) and rebounding (8.7 rpg), with Fitzsimons right behind him, averaging 12.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Faulkner, who led the NESCAC with 5.9 assists per game last season, is right back on track in 2001-02, dishing out a conference-best 6.0 helpers on a nightly basis. His penetrating skills continually set the table for sophomore sharpshooters John Donovan (Holmdel, NJ) and John Kloepfer (Buffalo, NY), who rank first and third in the NESCAC in three-point accuracy at 50.0 (17-for-34) and 47.1 (16-for-34) percent, respectively.

Sarah Bergman '04
Sophomore forward Sarah Bergman averages a double-double, pouring in 12.6 points and grabbing 10.7 rebounds on a nightly basis
Amherst also gets a nice boost from first-year phenoms Andrew Schiel (Abbington, PA) and Ray Corrigan (Queens, NY). Schiel, a 6'7" swingman, is a legitimate inside-outside scoring threat, averaging 8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in just 15.0 minutes off the bench. Corrigan started eight games in Harper's absence, emerging as the NESCAC's sixth-leading assist-man at 4.0 per game.

Amherst's men downed Williams three times last season, including an 85-67 drubbing in the semifinals of the inaugural NESCAC Postseason Championship Tournament. The Jeffs have won six straight home games against the Ephs and six of the last seven meetings overall. Williams, who finished the 2000-01 season with a record of 18-7, still leads the all-time series 105-71.

On the women's side, Williams (7-4) enters Saturday's matchup with a three-game winning streak, while Amherst (8-3) has won four in a row. The Ephs started the 2001-02 season at 4-4, but rebounded by winning their Winter Invitational Tournament and, most recently, downing Springfield College, 64-47, on Wednesday night. Williams seeks its second consecutive win over Amherst after Kate Stumpo (Walpole, MA) hit a driving one-handed lay-in with 1.9 seconds remaining to lift the visiting Ephs to a stunning 81-79 victory last year in Amherst, avenging the Jeffs' 68-63 overtime win in Williamstown earlier in the season. Stumpo leads the Ephs in scoring at 12.8 points per game, while junior forward Abi Jackson (Jamaica Plain, MA) is their top rebounder at 8.0 caroms per game.

Amherst has been similarly impressive of late. After consecutive mid-December losses at Clark and Coast Guard, the Jeffs downed Colby-Sawyer twice in the Bahamas, outlasted Smith College 57-47 on Tuesday, and edged Babson College 64-59 on Thursday night. Like the men, Amherst's women have received a welcome boost from a returning player - junior forward Sarah Walker (West Hartford, CT) - who missed the team's first seven games while studying abroad. Just getting back in the swing of things, Walker posted consecutive double-doubles in her last two outings and drilled four free throws in the final 13.1 seconds to seal the win over Babson.

Sophomores Shannon Russell (Shrewsbury, MA) and Sarah Bergman (Shaftsbury, VT) all but carried the Jeffs in Walker's absence. Russell is Amherst's top scorer and chief perimeter threat, averaging an even 14.0 points per game on the strength of 32 three-pointers, after a 27-point outburst on Thursday night. Bergman averages a double-double, pouring in 12.6 points and grabbing 10.7 rebounds on a nightly basis, while sophomore playmaker LaShauna Barboza (New Bedford, MA) has filled in amicably for incumbent junior point guard Sara Bozorg (Amherst, MA), who will miss the entire 2001-02 season while studying abroad. Senior guard Hallison Putnam (Lexington, KY), sophomore center Caitlin Farrell (Lafayette, CA) and junior forward Brooke Diamond (Longmeadow, MA) have also been solid off the bench and as starters.