Stefanie Reiff '08
Photo by Charlie Quigg '09
Junior Stefanie Reiff led the Jeffs with 23 points and added nine rebounds

Jeffs Fall to Trinity in Regular Season Finale, 73-71

By Ben Kaplan '09

February 10, 2007

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College women’s basketball team suffered a heartbreaking loss, as junior Stefanie Reiff’s (Hinsdale, IL) 12-foot jumper at the buzzer bounced off the rim, resulting in a 73-71 loss to visiting Trinity College.  The Jeffs end the regular season on a four-game skid and fall to 12-12 (3-6 NESCAC), while Trinity improves to 12-11 (3-6 NESCAC).

The Jeffs’ tough zone defense kept Trinity out of the paint early, causing them to force outside shots late in the shot clock, enabling Amherst to amass a 14-6 lead with first-year Samantha Swensen’s (Rockaway Park, NY) third lay-up of the game.  Back-to-back jumpers by junior Shaina Pollack (Great Neck, NY) and Reiff extended the Jeff lead to 22-13 at the midway point of the first stanza. 

Trinity chipped away at the deficit until a 7-0 run gave the Bantams their first lead, 33-31, with 2:30 left in the half.  Sarah Cox, who totaled 24 points and six rebounds in the contest, had four points and a key steal in the run.  Jenny Muller (Andover, MA), recognized earlier in the afternoon for her illustrious career, scored her first Senior Day points on a driving lay-up that tied the score at 35 before halftime.  Muller finished with seven points and five assists.

Amherst charged out of the gates to open the second half, rolling off a 7-0 run begun by a Swensen bucket and capped by a nifty lay-up by Reiff.  After one of first-year Claire Arnstein’s three three-pointers lifted the Bantams within four, Amherst responded with baskets by Muller and Swensen to build a 48-40 lead with 12:54 remaining.  The lead teetered between five and seven until Reiff followed up a jumper in the lane with two free throws, giving Amherst its biggest lead of the second half, 54-45 with 8:24 to play. 

The next Bantam possession served as a portend for the rest of the game, with first-year guard Tess Donie scoring two of her game-high 26 points, 20 of which came in the last 8:11 of the contest.  Donie’s shot began a 10-0 Trinity run, which ended with Cox’s jumper giving them their first lead of the half with six minutes remaining.  Reiff responded on the next possession, ending the Amherst scoring drought and regaining the lead with an old-fashioned three-point play, 57-55. 

Two tough Donie jumpers, both of which came off the dribble on the right side with a hand in her face, regained the lead for the Bantams, 61-59 with 3:11 left.  On the next possession, Muller displayed the sharp-shooting skills the Jeffs will sorely miss next year, swishing a three from the left corner to give Amherst what would be its final lead of the contest.  After four Bantam free throws, two by Cox and two by Donie, Pollack’s jumper from the left elbow brought the Jeffs within one, 65-64, with just over two minutes remaining. 

Donie and Pollack traded lay-ups, and then Donie finished a three-point play at the 1:13 mark to give Trinity its first two-possession lead, 70-66.  A jumper by sophomore Kerry O’Loughlin with just under a minute on the clock cut the deficit to two, and the Jeffs’ full-court pressure resulted in a Swensen steal and opportunity to tie the game.  Unfortunately, they could not cash in, and Donie, 10-14 from the charity stripe, hit two more clutch free throws with 10 seconds left to bring the lead to 72-68. 

Sophomore Stacy Brossy’s (Honolulu, HI) three from the left corner with 14 seconds left, and a rare Trinity split at the free-throw line (22-28 on the day) opened up an opportunity to send the game to overtime, but Reiff’s attempt fell harmlessly to the court as the buzzer sounded.  

Reiff finished with a team-high 23 points and added nine rebounds.  Swensen added 13 points and eight rebounds, but it was in vain as the Jeffs could not stop the Bantams down the stretch.  Amherst returns to action Saturday, Feb. 17 in the NESCAC quarterfinals.