Jenny Muller '07
Photo by Charlie Quigg '09
Senior Jenny Muller put in a solid second half in the Jeffs' 61-55 loss to Williams

Amherst Comes up Short in Barn-Burner with Williams

By Justin Long

January 20, 2007

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College women’s basketball team nearly pulled off an amazing second-half comeback against visiting archrival Williams College, but the Lord Jeffs fell just short, snapping their three-game winning streak with a 61-55 conference loss to the Ephs. Amherst falls to 10-8 (2-2 NESCAC), while Williams improves to 15-3 (3-1 NESCAC).

First-year Samantha Swensen (Rockaway Park, NY) gave Amherst a 5-3 lead one minute and 30 seconds into the game, but after a pair of Kaylan Tildsley free throws and a three-pointer by senior Meghan Stetson, the Ephs took a lead that they would not surrender for the remainder of the half. Williams jumped out to an 18-7 lead after a 15-2 run, but the Jeffs stopped the bleeding and pulled within five points after a pair of free throws from sophomore Amanda Otieno (Gloucester, MA) with just under eight minutes remaining in the half.

Williams’ lead hovered between five and nine points until there were just two minutes remaining in the first half, when a Jenny Muller (Andover, MA) lay-up cut the Jeffs’ deficit to four points. The Ephs regained composure and controlled the final two minutes, closing out the half on a 7-0 run that included a Stetson three-pointer with only 10 seconds on the game clock, as Williams headed into the locker room leading 35-24.

Amherst opened the second half with three different players scoring as part of a 6-0 run to pull within five points of Williams, but the Ephs once again responded with a run of their own, scoring the next nine points of the game to pull ahead 44-30 with 15 minutes remaining in regulation.

Not to be outdone, the Jeffs gathered themselves and outscored Williams 11-1 during the next three minutes of play, knocking down five of their eight field goal attempts in that span to trail 45-41 with 11:46 remaining in the half. The run was highlighted by some tough defense and great transition play by Muller and junior Shaina Pollack (Great Neck, NY), who each turned steals into lay-ups on the other end, with Pollack’s becoming a three-point play after she drew the foul and knocked down her free throw attempt.

Sophomore Mika Peterman buried a three-pointer to end the Williams drought and put the Ephs back ahead by seven points, but Amherst got right back to work, as Swensen scored the next three points of the game and Muller followed with a jumper to cut her team’s deficit to just two points. Williams picked up some key offensive rebounds on its next possession, finally scoring on a lay-up, but Muller responded by nailing a three-pointer from the wing to pull within one point of the Ephs with 5:06 on the clock.

Both teams failed to score for the next minute-and-a-half, but Muller once again came up big and ended the drought by knocking down a jumper to give Amherst its first lead since early in the opening half. Williams quickly regained the lead, however, knocking down a jumper to take a 52-51 advantage with 3:27 remaining in the game.

The Jeffs’ deficit was still only one point one minute later, but Maggie Miller scored the next four points for Williams to bring the lead to five points with 42 seconds on the clock. Pollack hurried down the court to hit a jumper and bring Amherst to within three points, but Williams came through in the clutch and knocked down enough free throws to put the game out of reach, as the Ephs finished with a 61-55 victory.

Swensen finished with a team-high 14 points and added five rebounds, while Muller finished with 13 points, five rebounds and a pair of assists. Pollack and junior Anne-Claire Roesch (Westport, CT) added nine points apiece, with Pollack chipping in a game-high seven assists.

Miller shot 9-for-16 from the floor to lead all scorers with 23 points, while adding six blocks, seven rebounds and a pair of steals. Peterman added 13 points for the Ephs, while Stetson chipped in with nine points.

The Lord Jeffs return to action Tuesday for a non-conference match-up with Westfield State College. Game time is set for 7 p.m. in Westfield, Mass.