Coach McBride
Photo by Charlie Quigg '09
Amherst is riding a five-game winning streak heading into its December break

Amherst Increases Winning Streak to Five Games with Win Over Smith

December 11, 2006

NORTHAMPTON, MA – The Amherst College women’s basketball team traveled to nearby Smith College this evening to face the Pioneers in a non-conference match-up before breaking for its holiday vacation. Riding the momentum of a four-game winning streak, the Lord Jeffs looked to continue their winning ways.

In the first ten minutes of play Amherst and the Pioneers traded scores, with Smith holding a 14-12 advantage at the 11:20 mark. First-year Samantha Swenson (Rockaway Park, NY) dropped in a few nice buckets inside to keep Amherst on pace early.

Billy McBride and Lynn Hersey, Amherst’s co-head coaches, went to their bench early in the first half, bringing senior tri-captain Jenny Muller (Andover, MA), and sophomores Amanda Otieno (Gloucester, MA) and Yasmine Harik (New York, NY) into the game for an added spark. The substitutes brought fresh legs and a defensive presence onto the floor, causing several first half Pioneer turnovers.

Reigning NESCAC Player of the Week and tri-captain Stefanie Reiff (Hinsdale, IL) had four first half points to go along with her five rebounds and three assists, while Muller led all Amherst scorers with seven first half points.

The two teams were locked 23-23 with one minute remaining in the half, when Amherst stole the ball in the Smith backcourt and laid the ball in for a two point lead. Amherst held the Pioneers scoreless on the defensive end, but was unable to expand their 25-23 lead as the first half horn blew.

Amherst shot out of the locker room and aggressively pushed the ball up after some Smith misses early in the second half, and quickly built up a six point lead, 33-27, after just three minutes of play.

The Lord Jeffs increased their pressure with a full court press, forcing Smith to call a timeout when they could not inbound the ball after Harik knocked down a free throw. Once again in the second half, the Amherst bench created large problems for the Pioneer offense, and the Lord Jeffs stretched their lead to 11 points, 44-33, at the 10:15 mark.

Fine backcourt play from the duo of Muller and junior tri-captain Shaina Pollack (Great Neck, NY) spurred the Amherst onslaught of scoring, with a Muller foul shot pushing the lead to 14.

With five minutes left, it was clear that a close first half had given way to an Amherst rout, giving McBride and Hersey the opportunity to give quality minutes to sophomores Susannah Ludwig (Charlottesville, VA), Stacy Brossy (Honolulu, HI) and Sarah Johnston (Pelham Manor, NY). In the final minutes, the three combined for a few nice plays, as both Brossy and Ludwig dropped home transition baskets.

Smith never gave up on the game, and squeezed the Amherst lead back to 11 as time ran out on the evening, with Amherst winning 58-47. Reiff led all scorers with 16 points, adding nine rebounds, while Swenson finished her night with 15 points and eight boards.

The Lord Jeffs improve to 6-3 on the season, taking a five-game winning streak into their vacation. Amherst returns to the court in South Padre Island, TX December 28, 2006, when they face Denison College at 7:00 p.m.