Hoop Teams Ready for Round-Two Against Williams|
Men's Game Broadcast on WWW.ONAIRSPORTS.COM
January 18, 2001
AMHERST, Massachusetts - Thanks to their unprecedented doubleheader sweep of arch-rival Williams College last Saturday in Williamstown, the Amherst College men's and women's basketball teams will have a chance at home on Friday night to accomplish something done only once before in school history-a four-game season sweep of the Ephs. Judging by last Saturday's contests, however, both teams will have their work cut out for them if the Jeffs are to accomplish such a feat for the first time since the 1982-83 season.
Game One - Williams College (7-6) at Women's Basketball (12-2), LeFrak Gymnasium, 5:30 p.m.
In the opener of Friday night's doubleheader, Williams' women's basketball team will be looking for revenge after Amherst's dramatic rally and overtime win last Saturday in Williamstown. Behind sophomore forward Sarah Walker (W. Hartford, CT), who finished the day with a career-high 22 points, the Jeffs rallied from a nine-point second-half deficit, eventually tying the game with 11.1 seconds left on a Walker jumper. Senior Eph Co-captain Liz Tilley (Queens, NY) had a chance to play hero with four-tenths of a second remaining after the Jeffs called a timeout they did not have, resulting in a technical foul, but her free-throw attempt missed off the back rim, sending the game to overtime, where Amherst's defense and foul-shooting took over.
|Sarah Walker '03 |
torched the Ephs for a
career-high 22 points
on Saturday, Jan. 13
In the extra period, Amherst's first since an 81-73 loss on the same floor two years earlier, the Jeffs came through on the foul line, knocking down five of their six free-throw attempts in the final minute, including a pair from senior Co-captain Charlotte Taylor (Harvard, MA) with 31.6 seconds left that put the visitors up 66-61, eventually prevailing by a 68-63 final.
Both teams were again in action on Tuesday, when the Jeffs used a game-high 23 points from first-year guard Shannon Russell (Shrewsbury, MA) and a 16-point, eight-assist, seven-rebound, six-steal night from sophomore point guard Sara Bozorg (Amherst, MA) to rally from another second-half deficit and knock off Wesleyan University, 62-59.
For the season, Russell is the lone Jeff averaging in double-figures, scoring at a 14.2-point-per-game clip, including an average of just under three three-pointers a game. Walker, who had a season-high 18 rebounds and four blocked shots despite being held to three points against Wesleyan, is averaging 8.5 points and a team-best 10.7 rebounds per game, and Bozorg's 9.2 points-per-game is second on the team, along with her league-best 6.3 assists-per-game.
The Jeffs have dominated the interior all season, behind the trio of Walker and first-years Sarah Bergman (Shaftsbury, VT) and Caitlin Farrell (Lafayette, CA). The three forwards are first, second and third in the conference in blocked shots, respectively, and Bergman, who scored the Jeffs' two buckets in overtime at Williams, has averaged nine points and nine rebounds per game.
The Ephs had an easier go of it than the Jeffs on Tuesday, using a 48-16 second-half advantage to crush the Hamilton College Continentals by a 79-40 final in Clinton, New York. Leading the Williams attack was senior Eph Co-captain Robyn Goldman (Tiburon, CA), who had 20 points, while sophomore Abi Jackson (Jamaica Plain, MA) finished with 10 points for the 7-6 Ephs. For the season, Jackson is one of three Williams players averaging in double-figures, posting 11.1 points-per-game, along with a team-best 8.8 rebounds per contest.
Williams' strength, however, is its backcourt, where Tilley and standout sophomore Kate Stumpo (Walpole, MA) have been the anchors of the Eph offense all season. Tilley, who posted team-highs with 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists against the Jeffs, is averaging just under 14 points per contest, along with five assists per outing from the point, while Stumpo's sharp-shooting has led her to a 12.2-points-per-game scoring clip, as the Ephs are averaging over 69 points per game.
The Ephs have struggled on the road, however, dropping their first three contests away from the friendly confines of Chandler Gymnasium before Tuesday's win at Hamilton. By contrast, the Jeffs have been stellar at home, with wins in all five of their home dates, including a 31-point thrashing of Babson College, then the number-one team in New England, last Thursday.
Amherst comes into Friday's showdown, also the NESCAC conference opener for both teams, ranked in both regional polls, including a fourth-place billet in the New England Women's Basketball Association poll, and a fifth-place ranking in the NCAA Division III regional poll. Amherst and Williams split their meetings last year, with the Jeffs taking the game in Amherst by a 53-50 final. Last Saturday's win at Williams was only the Jeffs' second since 1989, and a win on Friday would complete the Jeffs' first season-sweep of Williams since the 1986-87 season, ironically also the last time Amherst had defeated Williams at football prior to this year. With a win on Friday, the Jeffs would also assure themselves of no worse than a share of the 2000-01 Little III title, after winning their first outright trivalry championship in 11 years last season.
Game Two - Williams College (9-3) at Men's Basketball (9-1), LeFrak Gymnasium, 7:30 p.m.
For the first time in Amherst history, the nightcap of Friday's basketball doubleheader will be broadcast live over the internet, courtesy of d3hoops.com, as part of their "Game of the Week" package. Ray Martel will handle the play-by-play for the broadcast, which begins at 7:20 p.m. and is available through http://www.onairsports.com.
|Sophomore Steve Zieja|
averages 17.2 points and 9.7
rebounds for the Jeffs
The editors of d3hoops.com picked what should be another classic in one of Division III basketball's greatest-and oldest-rivalries, with Friday's game coming as the 176th meeting between the two schools. The 175th meeting, Amherst's 73-64 win in Williamstown last Saturday, was a thriller from the opening tip, as the Jeffs used stellar defense and clutch foul-shooting to beat the Ephs for the fourth time in five meetings on the strength of a game-high 27 points from senior Amherst Co-captain Brian Daoust (Dover, MA).
Daoust scored 16 of his 27 points in the first half, as the Jeffs opened up a 35-31 halftime advantage after trailing by as much as eight early in the first half. Amherst never trailed in the second half, withstanding a Williams run by knocking down 11 of their last 14 free throws, including seven of eight in the final minute, to hold on for a 73-64 victory. Along with Daoust's 27 points, the Jeffs also received a solid 18-point, nine-rebound night from sophomore Steve Zieja (Hadley, MA), as well as an eight-point, 10-rebound night from classmate Pat Fitzsimons (Durham, NC).
The Ephs, ranked 22nd in the nation at the time, placed only two players in double figures, with sophomore forward Drew DeMuth (Carlisle, PA) netting a team-high 12 points and junior guard Andrew Conley (Wakefield, MA) adding 11 points and five assists. For the season, Conley's 15.8 points-per-game leads the Williams offense, which has put up just under 72 points per game. DeMuth has put up 13.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per outing, and senior Manny Benjamin (Harare, Zimbabwe), in only three games since returning from a knee injury, has contributed 12 points and just over five boards per contest to the Eph offense.
For the Jeffs, Daoust and Zieja have been the primary weapons on offense all season. Daoust, who has connected on 34 of 76 attempts from downtown (44.7 percent), is averaging a team-high 18.7 points-per-game, adding a 33-40 (82.5 percent) clip from the foul line atop the Jeff offense, while Zieja is averaging 17.2 points and 9.7 rebounds per game to lead Amherst's inside game. The Jeffs have also received stellar contributions from Fitzsimons and sophomore point guard Ryan Faulkner (Lebanon, NH), whose 6.4 assists-per-game is second in the NESCAC, as they have rolled off eight straight wins after a 118-111 triple-overtime loss to Clark University in their second game of the season. The Jeffs cracked the regional rankings this week as the number-three team in the NCAA regional poll, and backed up their position with an impressive 93-77 win at Little III foe Wesleyan University on Tuesday night.
At Wesleyan, Daoust was again the high man, posting a game-best 23 points, including four three-pointers and a 7-7 effort from the charity stripe. The Jeffs, who outscored Wesleyan 49-35 in the second half, also received a terrific effort from unheralded rookie John Donovan (Colt's Neck, NJ), who finished with a career-day, connecting on five of eight shots from the field, four of six from downtown, and four of four from the foul line en route to an 18-point night. Faulkner was the other Jeff to finish in double figures, finishing with 10 points on 4-4 shooting, including a 2-2 performance from downtown, as the Jeffs canned 13 three-pointers on the night. The Ephs were also victorious on Tuesday night, though in significantly more-dramatic fashion than the Jeffs.
Benjamin canned a turn-around jumper with 3.8 seconds remaining to cap a rally from a 12-point deficit as the Ephs knocked off visiting Hamilton College in a 65-64 final. DeMuth led the Ephs with team-highs in points (18) and rebounds (nine), while Benjamin finished with 12 points, including six in the final three minutes. Senior Tri-captain Joe Weiss (Washington, DC), the Ephs' leading rebounder, finished with 10 points and six boards as Williams improved to 9-3.
The Jeffs, who, like the women, also split last year's pair with the Ephs, taking the game in Amherst by a 72-54 final. Amherst has won four of its last five meetings with Williams, despite trailing the all-time series, 105-70. This year's senior class of Daoust and fellow Co-captains Erik Kelly (Staples, MN) and Abe Sexson (Athens, Greece) have never lost to Williams at home.
The Jeffs last swept Williams in 1998-99, their first such season sweep since 1989, and a repeat performance, along with one by the Amherst women, would be only the second time in school history that both Amherst basketball teams swept their arch-rivals, the only other time coming during the 1982-83 season.
Ticket Prices / Update Information
Tickets will be sold for both games of the doubleheader, with a sell-out crowd anticipated. Tickets prices will be as follows, with purchase available only at the door:
|Live updates from Friday's|
doubleheader will be available on the
web and the Amherst Athletics
FREE - Members of the Amherst College community (with a current Amherst ID).
$1.00 - Members of the Williams College community (with a current Williams ID), and children under 12.
$3.00 - General Admission
Limited media credentials are available by contacting Kevin Graber, Amherst's Sports Information Director, at 413/542-2390. Updates will be available on the internet (through Amherst's Athletics Website, http://www.amherst.edu/~sports) and through the Amherst College Sports Information Hotline, 413/542-JEFF (5333), at halftime of both games and in between the two contests.