Women's Basketball Rallies to Defeat Wesleyan, 62-59|
January 16, 2001
AMHERST, Mass. - Senior Amherst College Co-captain Charlotte Taylor (Harvard, MA) hit a driving left-handed lay-up with 1:46 remaining to give the host Jeffs the lead for good, as Amherst held on for a hard-fought 62-59 victory over visiting Wesleyan University on Tuesday night. First-year guard Shannon Russell (Shrewsbury, MA) led all scorers with 23 points, as Amherst snapped Wesleyan's school-record nine-game win streak in a game that featured 17 lead changes.
|Sara Bozorg '03 had a|
solid all-around effort in
the Amherst win, posting 16
points, eight assists, seven rebounds
and six steals to pace the hosts
Though the match-up of Amherst, ranked fourth in the latest New England Division III poll, and Wesleyan, ranked sixth, came down to the wire, the game seemed destined for a different outcome early in the first half, as the Jeffs opened the game with a dominating 12-0 run. Russell opened the scoring with a three-pointer, the first of her four treys on the night, while Amherst's defense held the Cardinals off the scoreboard until the 14:58-mark.
Wesleyan responded, however, using solid post play on both ends of the court to get back into the game, going on a 15-2 run after Russell's second three-pointer to take a 20-19 lead with 5:22 remaining in the first half. The Cardinals received their offense from all over the court, led by first-year guard Ashley Elia (Tenafly, NJ), who provided a spark off the bench with nine first-half points. After Russell's third three-pointer of the half put Amherst up 24-20, Wesleyan responded with another run, capped by an Allyson Miller (Shrewsbury, MA) lay-up with 1:17 before halftime. The 13-2 Cardinal surge had the visitors up 33-26, before a buzzer-beating lay-in from Amherst point guard Sara Bozorg (Amherst, MA) closed the Jeffs' deficit to five. Bozorg and Russell combined for all-but two of Amherst's 28 first-half points, as Miller combined with forward Kamica Lewis (Jamaica Hills, NY) to hold Amherst's inside duo of first-year Sarah Bergman (Shaftsbury, VT) and sophomore Sarah Walker (W. Hartford, CT) scoreless in the opening 20 minutes.
The Amherst inside game finally got going in the second half, but so too did Wesleyan's outside game. That combination led to a back-and-forth 20 minutes, with five ties and 11 lead changes after halftime. Wesleyan sophomore Shaleen Bowman (Guilford, CT), the Cardinals' leading scorer entering the game, kept Wesleyan in the game time and again with big shots from outside, scoring 14 of her team-high 18 points in the second period, including a 3-6 performance from downtown.
A three-point play from the sophomore put Wesleyan up 45-44 with 8:11 remaining, before Russell hit her fourth three-pointer of the night, only to have Bowman retaliate with a bomb of her own at the 7:45-mark. Bowman connected for another three-pointer on Wesleyan's ensuing possession, putting the Cardinals up 53-49 with 6:11 to go, before Russell responded, hitting a jumper in transition at the 4:53-mark to close the Jeffs to within two. From there, Wesleyan's foul trouble-which saw Amherst reach the double-bonus with over five minutes remaining-allowed Amherst to tie the game from the foul line, and the two teams traded buckets until a Miller free throw knotted the game at 56 with 2:02 to play.
Taylor's pretty lay-in gave the Jeffs a two-point cushion soon thereafter, and Bozorg stole the ball on the Cardinals' ensuing trip, eventually getting fouled and draining both free throws for a four-point lead. Russell added a pair of free throws with 22 ticks remaining to extend Amherst's lead to six, before a late three-pointer from Bowman accounted for the 62-59 final.
For Amherst, Russell's 23 points was a game-high, as the first-year finished 4-8 from downtown. Bozorg also had a tremendous all-around day, netting 16 points-her second-highest career total-along with eight assists, seven rebounds and six steals. Walker, despite an off-night on the shooting end, finished with 18 rebounds and four blocked shots before fouling out with three points with 2:02 to go, and Taylor was the other Jeff in double figures, finishing with 11 points and six rebounds.
The Cardinals, who lost their 12th-consecutive game to Amherst and saw their school-record nine-game win streak come to an end, were led by Bowman's 18 points, while Elia finished with 12 points, including a 3-4 performance from downtown. Lewis finished with 10 points and nine rebounds, and Miller finished with eight points and 10 boards for the 9-2 Cardinals, who are next in action in Friday night's NESCAC opener against Bowdoin College. The Jeffs improve to 12-2 with the win, extending their current win-streak to a season-long five games. Amherst is also next in action on Friday, when they host arch-rival Williams College in the return-end of a home-and-home series that begun with the Jeffs' 68-63 overtime win in Williamstown on Saturday night. Amherst can guarantee itself at worst a share of the Little III title with a win on Friday, a game that is also their conference opener.
Game Box Score