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Amherst College > Athletics > Women's Basketball > Jeffs Down Middlebury in OT
Another Day, Another Late Rally as W-Hoops Knocks Off Middlebury 55-49 in OT
January 20, 2001

Sarah Bergman '04
First-year forward Sarah Bergman
posted team-highs of 17 points
and 13 rebounds to lead the
Jeffs to the OT victory
MIDDLEBURY, Vermont - The afternoon after an emotionally-charged, last-second loss to Williams College, it stood to reason that, playing 150 miles away at NESCAC-rival Middlebury College, the Amherst women's basketball team would run out of steam sometime around the midway point of the second half. Instead, it took that long for the Jeffs to wake up, but wake up they did, rallying in the final minutes for the fourth time in as many games, eventually knocking off the Panthers, 55-49, in their second overtime game of the last week.

After Amherst and Williams both scored 46 points in the second half of Friday night's showdown in Amherst, it took the Jeffs and Panthers all of regulation just to fight to a 45-45 tie, as poor shooting dominated most of the Saturday afternoon affair. The Panthers, paced by sophomore Kristin Hanley (Seattle, WA), opened up a 20-11 lead just inside the eight-minute mark of the first half, as Amherst connected on only five of its first 22 field-goal attempts. The Jeffs ran off nine straight points from there, including three-pointers from senior Co-captain Charlotte Taylor (Harvard, MA) and first-year guard Shannon Russell (Shrewsbury, MA), and the two teams traded baskets until halftime, with the Panthers taking a 28-25 advantage to the locker rooms.

The cold first-half shooting met better defense in the second half, as the two teams clamped down in the interior. The Jeffs managed only nine points in the first 10 minutes of the second period, and the Panthers could do no better, leaving the Middlebury edge at 37-34 after a Hanley three-pointer with 11:26 to go. From there, the Jeffs turned to first-year forward Sarah Bergman (Shaftsbury, VT), who had struggled for most of the game from the field. Bergman scored all of Amherst's next nine points, including back-to-back buckets that put the Jeffs up, 38-37, with 8:15 remaining. The Panthers, however, rolled off seven straight points of their own, capped by a lay-up from senior point guard Riann Siciak (Bernardston, MA) with 2:51 that put the hosts up by six, 44-38.

Bergman, however, responded again. The first-year connected on a jump-hook with 2:31 left to close the Jeffs to within four, and the Amherst defense held Middlebury without a field goal down the stretch, allowing Bergman to further cut into the Panther lead with a short jumper with 1:53 left. The rookie forward added a free throw with 1:03 left to bring the Jeffs to within one, and Middlebury came up empty on its next trip. On Amherst's ensuing possession, sophomore Jeff forward Sarah Walker (W. Hartford, CT) was fouled on a short jumper, and calmly sank both ends of a two-shot foul to give the Jeffs a 45-44 lead with just 26 seconds remaining.

One night after the Jeffs tied the game with 5.6 seconds left, only to fall victim to a late bucket from Williams, history seemed destined to repeat itself when junior Panther Co-captain Megan McCosker (Lafayette, CA) was fouled in the act of shooting with one second left. McCosker missed the first charity toss, but sank the second to force overtime, Amherst's second overtime game in seven days.

In overtime, the Amherst offense, anemic in regulation, came to life with a vengeance. On the Jeffs' second possession, Russell, who was held scoreless in the second half, drained a three-pointer from the top of the key to put Amherst ahead, and sophomore point guard Sara Bozorg (Amherst, MA) banked home a foul-line jumper on Amherst's next trip to give the Jeffs a five-point cushion. The Panthers cut it to three with 2:24 left in the extra period, but Bergman responded again with back-to-back buckets, giving the Jeffs a seven-point edge, 54-47, with 42 seconds left. Siciak added a late jumper to close the Panthers to within five, but a Bozorg free throw with six seconds left sealed the dramatic six-point win for the Jeffs, who connected on all four of their field-goal attempts in overtime.

Bergman, who missed 10 of her first 12 attempts from the field before catching fire down the stretch, finished with a game-high 17 points, adding 13 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season. Walker, coming off a pair of 18-rebound games, had another stellar game on the glass, grabbing 12 boards to go along with her seven points, her seventh-consecutive game with 10 or more rebounds, and her 12th of the season. Russell was the lone other Jeff in double-figures, finishing with 10 points.

The Panthers, who were held to only an eight-for-40 performance from the field (20.0 percent) after halftime by the Jeffs, were paced by a 15-point, 11-rebound effort from Hanley, but Amherst's defense also pressured the sophomore into 10 turnovers. Middlebury sophomore Wesley Hyatt (Amesbury, MA) had a yeoman-like afternoon on the boards, finishing with eight points to go along with her game-high 15 rebounds, as the Panthers became only the third team all season to out-rebound the Jeffs, holding a 52-49 edge on the boards.

With the win, the Jeffs improve to 13-3, 1-1 in NESCAC play, with six days off until their showdown at home next Friday against Bates College. Middlebury falls to 11-3, 1-1 in league play, and is also off until Friday, when they travel to Maine to face Bowdoin College.
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