Russell Named NESCAC Player,
NEWBA Rookie of the Week|
February 20, 2001
AMHERST, Mass. - After being named the NESCAC Player of the Week on Monday, first-year Amherst
College guard Shannon Russell (Shrewsbury, MA) was named the New England Women's Basketball
Association Rookie of the Week on Tuesday, the second time this season she picked up the
regional honor. Russell, who also received NEWBA Rookie of the Week honors on January 9,
helped the Jeffs lock up the top seed in this week's NESCAC tournament with back-to-back
performances in victories over Bowdoin and Colby Colleges last weekend.
|First-year guard Shannon Russell|
scored a career-high
28 points in the Jeffs'
Saturday win over Colby
In Friday night's first-place battle against Bowdoin, Russell came out of the gates on fire, connecting on five of her seven first-half field-goal attempts, including three-of-four from downtown, en route to 13 first-period points. The Jeffs built a 31-23 halftime lead over the Polar Bears, before Bowdoin closed to within two, 45-43, inside the final minute. After pulling down a rebound of a Bowdoin miss, Russell, an 88 percent free-throw shooter for the season, calmly sank both ends of a two-shot foul for her only second-half points to extend the Jeff lead to four and help seal the win.
Saturday, the first-year continued her stellar shooting against Colby, scoring the first 10 points of the game and 15 points as part of the Jeffs' game-opening 26-4 run. A pair of late Russell free throws gave Amherst a 35-19 lead at halftime, with the rookie hitting on five of six first-half shots, including another three-for-four performance from downtown. In the second half, Russell again came through in the clutch, hitting big baskets time and again and picking up four of her game-high five steals to keep Colby from cutting too far into the Amherst lead.
After a White Mule run closed the gap to six points, 57-51, with just over four minutes remaining, Russell drained her sixth three-pointer of the game with the shot clock winding down on Amherst's next possession to extend the lead back to nine. Colby would get no closer than eight from that point out, as the Jeffs clinched the top seed-and the first-round bye that accompanies it-in this week's first-ever NESCAC women's basketball tournament.
Russell, who has been the Jeffs' top offensive weapon throughout the season, is
averaging a team-best 13.8 points per game, shooting a league-best 38.1 percent (64-168) from
downtown. On Monday, the guard became the second Amherst player this season-and the second in
three weeks-to earn all-league honors, joining classmate Sarah Bergman (Shaftsbury, VT), who
was named the league's Player of the Week for games through February 4 after a pair of stellar
performances in the Jeffs' wins over New England College and Trinity College.
Amherst, which set a new school-record for wins in one season (21) with the win over Colby, has won nine games in a row, 14 of its last 15, and hosts this weekend's NESCAC semifinals and finals, including their game against an opponent to be determined Friday night at 6:00 p.m.