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Adam Harper '04
Senior guard Adam Harper torched Williams for team-highs of 15 points and seven boards in last year's Lord Jeff win.

Hoop Teams Set for Saturday Twinbill with Visiting Williams

January 7, 2004

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 will tip off at 6 p.m. with the men to follow shortly thereafter. Both games will be Webcast live on the Internet by campus radio station WAMH, and will begin airing shortly before tip-off.

Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for students. Children under 10 and Amherst students and staff with valid ID will be admitted free.

The men's matchup features two of the best teams in the nation. Defending national champion Williams is 10-0, ranked No. 1 in the nation entering Wednesday night’s non-league tilt at Wesleyan University. The Ephs boast the nation’s longest winning streak at 28 games, including a 78-71 victory over three-time defending Patriot League Champion and NCAA Division I Tournament participant Holy Cross earlier this season. Amherst was the last team to beat Williams, pulling off a 67-61 upset over the then third-ranked and undefeated Ephs at LeFrak Gymnasium on January 25, 2003, avenging a 74-65 non-league loss in Williamstown earlier in the season. The Jeffs and Ephs met four times in 2002-03, capped by a 91-75 Williams victory in the NCAA Quarterfinals that ended Amherst’s season at 24-5.

Meanwhile, Amherst, undefeated at 9-0, enters this weekend with a No. 6 national ranking, fresh off Monday’s lopsided 81-40 non-league win at Salve Regina. The Jeffs’ average margin of victory is a whopping 32.0 points. Their most notable win thus far was an 81-66 rout at then 21st-ranked Clark University on Tuesday, December 2.

Six-seven junior forward Andrew Schiel (Wayne, PA) paces the Amherst scoring attack at 15.9 points per game on the strength of 14 three-pointers. He’s followed in the scoring column by senior guards Adam Harper (Washington, DC) and John Donovan (Holmdel, NJ) at 11.3 and 9.1 points per game, respectively. Harper, the 2002-03 NESCAC Defensive player of the Year, is a terror on defense with a conference-best 37 steals. Senior forward Tim Jones (Richmond, VA) leads the Jeffs on the boards, pulling down 5.4 caroms on a nightly basis. He also averages 8.8 points at a robust 69.8% (30-for-43) clip. Junior playmaker Ray Corrigan (Queens, NY) spearheads the offense with a team-high 59 assists to go along with a 7.4-point scoring average. Off the bench, expect big things from 6-6 sophomore swingman John Casnocha (San Francisco, CA) and classmate John Bedford (Ridgewood, NJ). Casnocha is the Jeffs’ fourth leading scorer (9.0 ppg) and third leading rebounder (4.9 rpg), while Bedford averages 8.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in 17.6 minutes per game.

The Jeffs have won nine of their last 10 homes games against the Ephs and nine of the last 13 meetings between the two teams. Williams, which finished the 2002-03 season with a record of 31-1, leads the all-time series 109-74.

On the women's side, Williams extended its current winning streak to four games with Tuesday night’s 68-50 win over visiting Smith College, while Amherst (6-3) had a four-game winning streak snapped with a pair of losses to Muhlenberg College and Widener University at the Land of Magic Classic in Daytona Beach, Florida. Senior guard Shannon Russell (Shrewsbury, MA) is the Jeffs’ all-time leading long-distance threat with a school record 219 three-pointers. She’s also the college’s fourth all-time leading scorer with 1,166 career points and is the lone Amherst player averaging in double figures in scoring this season at 12.1 points per game. Fellow senior Marissa McGuire (Minneapolis, MN) is a consistent triple threat, averaging 8.8 points and 8.3 rebounds to go along with a team-high 19 steals. Six-one sophomore Katie Latham (Wakefield, MA) returned from an early-season injury to average 9.5 points and 8.3 rebounds off the bench. Senior guard LaShauna Barboza (New Bedford, MA), senior center Caitlin Farrell (Lafayette, CA) and sophomore guard Ali Flato (Piedmont, CA) round out the starting five for the Jeffs.

Amherst’s women haven’t beaten Williams since January 13, 2001 - a 68-63 overtime victory in Williamstown when Amherst’s current senior class were just freshmen. Williams has won five straight in the series and eight of the last 10 overall. Amherst last defeated Williams at home, 53-50, on January 15, 2000.