McBride Wins 100th as Amherst Crushes Babson, 77-46|
January 11, 2001
AMHERST, Mass. - The Amherst College women's basketball team gift-wrapped Head Coach Billy McBride's 100th career win on Thursday night, blowing out the Beavers of Babson College - who entered the game as the top-ranked team in New England - in a 77-46 final at Amherst's LeFrak Gymnasium. Amherst first-year Shannon Russell (Shrewsbury, MA) led all scorers with 17, as the Jeffs improved to 10-2 for only the second time in school history.
|Head Coach Billy McBride|
notched his 100th career win
The Amherst defense, which held Smith College to only 24 points in the Jeffs' 26-point win on Tuesday night, continued to dominate in the opening stages of the first half, as the Beavers managed only one field goal during the first 10:43. The Jeffs opened up a 10-1 lead behind seven early points from Russell, the New England Division III Rookie of the Week, but Babson used a 9-3 run of their own, cutting the Amherst lead to 14-10 at the eight-minute mark. From there, the two teams traded baskets until just before halftime, when a three-pointer from Amherst sophomore Sara Bozorg (Amherst, MA) sent the Jeffs to the locker room with a 26-19 advantage.
With starting forwards Sarah Bergman (Shaftsbury, VT) and Sarah Walker (W. Hartford, CT) saddled with three and two first-half fouls, respectively, the Jeffs' seven-point halftime lead seemed tenuous at best. Babson, which shot a paltry five for 16 from the charity stripe in the opening period, seemed poised for a second-half run.
Instead, what they got was Amherst's best single-half performance of the season, as the Jeffs exploded for 51 points, opening with an 11-2 run that extended their lead to 38-23 at the 13:57-mark. Bergman, who played only three minutes in the first half without scoring, exploded for six points in quick succession, helping to lead Amherst's inside game, which repeatedly gave the Jeffs two and three chances on each offensive possession.
After Babson forward Ingrid Miller (East Lyme, CT) stopped the bleeding on the early Amherst run, the Jeffs responded with another run, breaking the game open with a 20-7 spurt, capped by back-to-back three-pointers from Bozorg and senior Co-captain Charlotte Taylor (Harvard, MA). A pair of free throws from Babson sophomore Ashley Andre (Shrewsbury, MA), a high-school teammate of Russell's, ended that Amherst run, before another 15-3 run, capped by a layup from sophomore Brooke Diamond (Longmeadow, MA), gave the Jeffs their largest lead of the evening, a 72-40 advantage at the 2:46-mark.
The teams traded baskets from that point on, before a short jumper from first-year Amherst guard Ana Yarawamai (Waimea, HI) capped the scoring at 77-46, the Jeffs' second highest point total of the season, and their biggest margin of victory, matching a 68-37 win over Western New England College on December 5.
Russell led all scorers with 17 points for Amherst, including three three-pointers, while Walker, Bozorg and Taylor also finished in double-figures. Walker posted her fourth double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds, six of which were offensive, while Bozorg continued her stellar play at point guard, dishing out six assists to go along with her 12 points. For the season, the sophomore is third in the nation in assists per game, handing out 6.1 helpers per outing. Taylor, who had a career-high 14 points against Smith, scored all 10 of her points in the second half. The Jeffs also received a strong performance from Diamond, who finished with a career-best nine points in just 11 minutes of play.
But the story of the game was Amherst's swarming defense, which held Babson to its worst offensive performance - by far - of the season. The Beavers, who rolled off nine straight wins to open the season before a 67-59 loss at Williams College on Sunday, came into Thursday's game averaging just under 70 points per game for the season, with the 59 points against the Ephs their lowest output in their first 10 games. On Thursday, the Jeffs held Babson to a 13-53 (24.5 percent) performance from the field, including a stifling 7-29 effort in the first half. The lone Beaver in double figures was junior forward Meredith Eddy (North Andover, MA), who finished with 10 points on 3-9 shooting.
With the win, the 100th career victory for McBride (who now stands at 100-76 for his career in his eighth season with the Jeffs), Amherst improves to 10-2, matching the 1987-88 Jeffs for the best-ever 12-game start, with their first Little III game of the season - Saturday's 6:00 p.m. tip-off at arch-rival Williams College - next on the schedule. Babson, which falls to 9-2 for the season, also returns to action on Saturday, when they host the Bobcats of Bates College in a 2:00 p.m. start in Wellesley.
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