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Amherst College > Athletics > Women's Basketball > Jeffs Nearly Knock Off Bowdoin
Julie Smith '06
Junior forward Julie Smith tallied seven boards and four blocks off the bench.

Jeffs Nearly Knock Off Top-Ranked Bowdoin

January 28, 2005

AMHERST, MA - The Amherst College women’s basketball team pushed the No. 1 team in the nation, visiting NESCAC foe Bowdoin College, to the brink of what would have been a spectacular upset on Friday night, only to watch a potential game-tying three-pointer by rookie point guard Shaina Pollack (Great Neck, NY) rim out at the final buzzer, giving the Polar Bears a hard-fought 65-62 victory.

Sophomore forward Eileen Flaherty (Fairfield, CT) paced Bowdoin (15-1/4-0 NESCAC) with 19 points and eight rebounds, while junior guard Krissy Morin (Litchfield, NH) and first-year forward Matia Kostakis (Andover, MA) led Amherst (11-6/2-2 NESCAC) with 14 points apiece. Kostakis also pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds and blocked a trio of shots.

The first half featured seven lead changes, and Bowdoin managed to build a 30-23 advantage with a 7-0 flurry, capped by an Erika Nickerson (Benton, ME) jumper and a Justine Pouravelis (Old Orchard Beach, ME) free throw with 2:46 remaining. Amherst scored the next six points to cut the deficit to 30-29 at the break, highlighted by a Jenny Muller (Andover, MA) three-pointer on the Jeffs’ final possession.

Bowdoin came out smoking in the second half, and Flaherty pushed the lead back to seven, 38-31, with a layup off a slick feed from senior guard Alison Smith (Stockton Springs, ME). Amherst battled back immediately with a 7-0 run, knotting the score once again on a layup by junior forward Katie Latham (Wakefield, MA) and then securing a 40-39 lead on a chip-shot by Morin after a Bowdoin free throw.

Not to be outdone, the Polar Bears answered with a Smith layup and would never trail again, although the pesky Jeffs would hang around for the duration despite trailing by as many as eight points in the final 6:30.

Amherst would make one final push over the last two minutes. A Muller trifecta would bring the Jeffs within four, a three-point play by Smith would cut the lead to two, and a pair of free throws and a pull-up jumper by Morin would keep the Jeffs within three points, 63-60, with 15 seconds on the clock. After Pollack stole the ball and missed a potential game-tying three with nine seconds remaining, Kostakis grabbed the offensive board and converted to bring the Jeffs within one point with two seconds left. Amherst then sent Bowdoin to the foul line, and Flaherty responded with a pair of clutch free throws to seemingly pound the final nails in Amherst’s coffin. But the Jeffs had one last gasp, and with 0.7 seconds to work with, Pollack took the ensuing inbound pass and heaved a desperation three-pointer from half court that hit the back of the rim and nearly sent the game into overtime. Only a first-year, Pollack is no stranger to buzzer-beaters, having derailed NESCAC foe Trinity with a game-wining coast-to-coast layup in the waning seconds earlier this season.

Smith and Pouravelis joined Flaherty in double figures with 14 and 10 points, respectively.

Muller bolstered the offense for Amherst with 12 points and a game-high five assists.

Amherst returns to action tomorrow (Saturday) at 3 p.m. against visiting NESCAC foe Colby College.