Women's Basketball Rallies to Knock off Williams in Overtime|
January 13, 2001
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. - The Amherst College women's basketball team, despite never leading in the second half, hung on for a dramatic 68-63 overtime victory at arch-rival Williams College on Saturday afternoon, connecting on five of six free-throws in the extra frame after rallying from a nine-point deficit at the end of regulation.
|Sarah Walker '03 scored|
a career-high 22 points,
including four in the final
minute of regulation, to lead
the Jeffs to the OT win
After a back-and-forth opening half, the host Ephs surged ahead after halftime, behind stellar play from the inside duo of first-years Bridget McDonough (Holliston, MA) and Sarah Dickens (Washington, DC). The rookie pair combined for 11 points, and a Dickens jumper just before the midway mark of the second frame put the Ephs up 51-42. After the two teams traded buckets, a free throw from Williams sophomore Kate Stumpo (Walpole, MA) put the Ephs back up nine, 54-45, with 8:08 to go.
From there, the Jeffs rallied, behind the trio of point guard Sara
Bozorg (Amherst, MA), forward Sarah Bergman (Shaftsbury, VT) and sophomore
forward Sarah Walker (W. Hartford, CT). Four
straight free throws from Bozorg cut the Williams lead to five, Bergman's second bucket of the game, a jump-hook at the 3:15-mark, cut the Williams advantage to three, 56-53, and a jumper from senior Amherst Co-captain Charlotte Taylor (Harvard, MA), closed the Jeffs to within one at 56-55.
Williams sophomore Abi Jackson (Jamaica Plain, MA) responded with a
three-point-play at the 1:08-mark to extend the Eph lead back to four, but Bergman
answered with a short jumper, and Williams senior Robyn Goldman (Tiburon, CA) missed
both ends of a two-shot foul with 27.3 seconds left to keep the Jeffs in the game.
From there, Walker would hit a spinning, game-tying layup with 11.1 ticks on
the clock, but then almost added her name to the Chris Webber legacy, calling a
Amherst did not have after a rebound with 0.4 seconds remaining. Again, however, missed free throws kept the Jeffs alive, as Williams senior Co-captain Liz Tilley (Queens, NY), who had put up a fantastic 15-point effort in regulation, missed the technical free throw, sending the game to overtime.
In overtime, the Jeffs, whose last lead was 18-17 at the 8:20-mark of the first half, used stellar defense to take over. After Tilley hit a pair of free throws, Bergman responded with back-to-back buckets, and Williams came up empty on four straight possessions. Bergman's second jumper put the Jeffs ahead for good, 63-61, with 1:19 to go, and from there, the Jeffs won the game on the foul line.
Bozorg, who amassed a career-high 12 rebounds to go along with her 15 points, connected on one of two charity tosses with 31.6 seconds left, Taylor, who entered the game a 3-16 foul-shooter on the year, hit two clutch shots from the line with 28 seconds remaining, and first-year guard Shannon Russell (Shrewsbury, MA), held scoreless in the second half by Stumpo, hit two free throws with 18.8 ticks left to put the Jeffs up 68-61. Williams' only field goal of overtime, a lay-up from Dickens with 8.9 seconds remaining, was too little, too late to help the Ephs, and Amherst killed the clock from there, sealing the dramatic, come-from-behind 68-63 win.
The heroes were too numerous to count for the Jeffs, who won their first game of the season when trailing in the second half, and their first overtime game since an 81-73 loss in the same gym two years earlier. Walker led all scorers with her career-high 22 points, picking up 10 rebounds as well, and Bozorg finished with an all-around superb effort, posting 15 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and three steals in 42 minutes of playing time, a career-high. Bergman and Russell also finished in double-figures for the Jeffs, with Bergman scoring all 10 of her points after halftime, before fouling out with 1:05 left in overtime with 10 rebounds to go along with her five baskets. Russell helped to keep the Jeffs in the game in the first half, scoring nine points, including two late jumpers that kept the Ephs from opening up an insurmountable halftime lead.
For Williams, Tilley, despite the missed technical free throw, again saved one of her better all-around games for Amherst, posting a team-high 17 points, including a pair of three-pointers, adding a Williams-best eight rebounds and five assists. Jackson finished with a solid game underneath, including 13 points and seven rebounds, but shot only 1-6 from the foul line, including a pair of misses with 1:05 left in overtime and Amherst leading by two. Stumpo was the lone other Eph in double figures, adding 13 points to her terrific defensive effort.
With the win, only their second in Chandler Gymnasium since 1989, the Jeffs improve to 11-2, matching the 1987-88 squad for best-ever record through 13 games. The overtime win caps a three-win week for Amherst, including a 77-46 thrashing of Babson College, the top-ranked team in New England, in Amherst on Thursday. The Jeffs are next in action on Tuesday night, when they host Little III foe Wesleyan University at 7:30 p.m., before the Ephs will have a chance for payback, coming to Amherst for a 5:30 p.m. tip on Friday, January 19. The game in Amherst, and not the Amherst win on Saturday, will count towards NESCAC standings.
Williams, which falls to 6-6 with the loss, travels to Hamilton College on Tuesday night before the rematch on Friday.
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