Bowdoin Captures NESCAC W-Hoops Championship With 54-41 Win over Jeffs|
February 24, 2001
AMHERST, Mass. - First-year Bowdoin College guard Lora Trenkle (Surry, ME) scored 10 of her game-high 15 points after halftime, including two clutch free throws with 1:18 left, as the third-seeded Polar Bears knocked off top-seeded Amherst in the championship game of the 2001 NESCAC Women's Basketball Tournament in Amherst on Saturday night. Bowdoin, which also received a 13-point effort from sophomore forward Krisi Royer (Lewiston, ME), locks up its second-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament with the win, avenging a 50-44 Amherst win on the same LeFrak Gymnasium floor eight days earlier
|Co-captains Charlotte Taylor and|
Hallison Putnam accept the
second-place trophy from NESCAC
Director Andrea Savage
From the opening tip of Saturday's NESCAC title game, the Jeffs struggled from the field, with Bowdoin scoring the game's first nine points to open up a 9-0 advantage at the 13:34-mark. The Jeffs, who surrendered 16 straight points to open the game from Bates College in Friday night first semifinal, stopped the bleeding on a jumper from junior co-captain Hallison Putnam (Lexington, KY) 32 seconds later.
Putnam's jumper, however, would be Amherst's only field goal of the first 14 minutes, as Bowdoin opened up a 13-3 lead behind the trio of Royer, Trenkle and junior guard Jessie Mayol (Westbrook, ME). A three-pointer from sophomore Amherst point guard Sara Bozorg (Amherst, MA) and a put-back from classmate Sarah Walker (W. Hartford, CT) closed Amherst to within five, but Trenkle's three-pointer from the wing with 2:03 before halftime extended the Polar Bear lead to 16-8. With Amherst shooting a season-low 3-26 (11.5 percent) from the field in the first 20 minutes, Bowdoin would hold the 16-8 edge into the intermission, Amherst's second-lowest single-half total in school history.
The ice-cold shooting by both teams in the first half quickly gave way to a back-and-forth second period, with Amherst scoring the first five points of the half to close to within three at the 17:38-mark. Another Trenkle three-pointer was answered with a Putnam trey, before a Walker free throw cut the Bowdoin advantage to 19-17 at the 15:24-mark.
After a personal 5-0 run by Trenkle put the Bears up 28-21 at the 12:14-mark, the Amherst defense began to pick up, and a Bozorg three-pointer off a kick-out from Walker had the Jeffs down only four, 35-31, with 7:40 to play.
The Bowdoin edge was eight, 40-32, when a Putnam lay-in closed the Jeffs back to within six just over the five-minute mark, but down the stretch, the Polar Bears seemed to hit a big shot on every possession. Senior Lauren Myers (S. Boston, MA) drained a baseline jumper as the shot clock expired on Bowdoin's ensuing possession to extend the lead back to eight, and first-year Kristina Fugate (Glenview, IL) drained a huge three-pointer with the 30-second clock winding down to put the Bears ahead nine, 45-36, with 2:57 to play.
The Jeffs, who had mounted dramatic late rallies four different times during the 2000-01 season, could never get the shots they wanted down the stretch, as the Polar Bears shut down the shooting tandem of first-year Shannon Russell (Shrewsbury, MA) and senior co-captain Charlotte Taylor (Harvard, MA). Amherst would close to within six, 45-39, on a Walker lay-up with 1:46 remaining, but Trenkle's two free throws with 1:18 extended the lead back to eight, before Myers sealed the win with a put-back with 56.1 seconds left to give the Bears a 49-39 advantage.
Mayol added four free throws down the stretch, part of a nine-for-nine performance from the line for the junior, as Bowdoin shot a collective 19-22 (86.4 percent) from the charity stripe on the night, claiming the 54-41 victory over the Jeffs.
With the win, Bowdoin (19-7) advances to its second-ever NCAA Division III Tournament, where they will face a team to be determined on Sunday. The Jeffs, who see their 10-game winning streak snapped, fall to 22-4, and are sitting right on the bubble for an at-large bid to the 50-team field, with a trip to the ECAC Tournament all-but guaranteed if they miss out on the national championship. Amherst was paced by Bozorg, who finished with 15 points, and Putnam, who added 10, but could not overcome a 14-51 (27.5 percent) day from the field in the loss.
Full game box score and play-by-play