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Amherst College > Athletics > Women's Basketball > Jeffs Net Top-Seed in ECAC Tournament
Jeffs Net Top-Seed in ECAC Tournament, Face Framingham State on Wednesday
February 26, 2001

Sara Bozorg '03
Sophomore point guard Sara
Bozorg dishes out a team-high
6.3 assists per game
AMHERST, Mass. - After narrowly missing out on their first-ever bid to the NCAA Tournament, the Amherst College women's basketball team received the number-one seed in the 2000-01 New England Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Tournament, and will host eighth-seeded Framingham State College in one of four quarterfinals on Wednesday night.

The Jeffs, who have already set a school-record for wins with 22, picked up their eighth of the season in an 80-63 win at Framingham on January 6, three days after a 53-50 loss at Springfield College in the championship game of the Naismith Classic. This time around, the Jeffs are also coming off a defeat in a tournament championship game, after a tough 54-41 loss to Bowdoin College in Saturday's NESCAC title game. Framingham, who enters with a record of 18-8, also fell in their conference title game, dropping a 71-61 decision to Salem State College in Saturday's Massachusetts College Athletic Conference (MASCAC) championship.

The Jeffs will look to rebound behind one of the most balanced offenses in New England, with six players, including all five starters, averaging over seven points per game. Sharp-shooting first-year Shannon Russell (Shrewsbury, MA) is the only Amherst player averaging in double-figures, scoring at a 13.4-points-per-game pace, while classmate Sarah Bergman (Shaftsbury, VT) is second on the squad, averaging just over nine points per contest. Sophomore forward Sarah Walker (W. Hartford, CT) has been a dominating presence inside, pulling down 11.9 rebounds per game and blocking 2.5 shots per contest, while fellow second-year Sara Bozorg (Amherst, MA) has handed out 6.3 assists per game, adding just under four steals per contest.

In the 80-63 win at Framingham, Bergman and Russell scored 21 points each to lead four Amherst players in double figures. The duo also led four Jeffs with 10 or more rebounds, with Bergman pulling down a game-high 12 rebounds and Russell netting her only double-digit rebound game of the season with 10 caroms. Walker added 11 rebounds, and senior co-captain Charlotte Taylor (Harvard, MA) recorded her first double-double with 10 points and 10 boards.

The Jeffs, who posted their highest offensive output of the season against the Rams, led 36-29 at the half of their January 6 meeting, before an 11-2 run midway through the second half opened up a 17-point lead with 13 minutes remaining. Framingham, led by the inside duo of Kristine O'Coin (Spencer, MA) and Janice Coppolino (Andover, MA), chipped away at the Amherst edge, closing to within nine on a pair of O'Coin free throws with just over two minutes remaining. The Jeffs sealed the win from the foul line, however, hitting on 10 of their 12 attempts from the charity stripe in the final two minutes to seal the 80-63 victory.

O'Coin, who finished with 20 points before fouling out late in the second half, led the Rams to wins in 13 of their next 16 games after the loss to Amherst, including a pair of impressive wins in the MASCAC quarterfinals and semifinals. In the quarters, the Rams knocked off the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, 79-47, before a 92-53 win over Westfield State College in the conference semifinals.

The win over Framingham started a stretch of 15 wins in 16 games for the Jeffs, who captured the top-seed in the inaugural NESCAC women's basketball tournament with an 8-1 league record. In the NESCAC semifinals, the squad rallied from a 17-point first-half deficit to defeat fourth-seeded Bates College, 57-53,before falling to Bowdoin in Saturday's championship.

The eight-team ECAC Tournament field is full of familiar faces for the Jeffs, beginning with second-seeded Wellesley College, who fell to Springfield College, 52-51, in Saturday's New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) title game. The Blue (20-4), who handed the Jeffs their first loss of the season at Wellesley on December 7, host the seventh-seeded Engineers of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (18-7) in another Wednesday quarterfinal. The winner of the Wellesley/MIT game will face the winner of Wednesday's third quarterfinal, in which sixth-seeded Colby-Sawyer College (20-6) travels to third-seeded Plymouth State College (19-7). Wednesday's fourth quarterfinal features a pair of NESCAC teams, with fifth-seeded Colby College (19-7) traveling to fourth-seeded Bates College (18-8). The winner of that game will face the winner of the Amherst/Framingham quarterfinal in Saturday's semifinals, with both semifinals hosted by the highest remaining seed.
Ticket prices for Wednesday's Amherst/Framingham quarterfinal, which is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. tip, will be $3 for general admission, and $1 for students.
2001 New England ECAC Women's Basketball Championship

Quarterfinals - Wednesday, February 28, 2001 at Higher Seeds
#8 Framingham State College (18-8) at #1 Amherst College (22-4)
#7 MIT (18-7) at #2 Wellesley College (20-4)
#6 Colby-Sawyer College (20-6) at #3 Plymouth State College (19-7)
#5 Colby College (19-7) at #4 Bates College (18-8)

Semifinals and Finals - Saturday and Sunday, March 3 and 4, 2001 at Highest Remaining Seed