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Amherst College > Athletics > Women's Basketball > Colby Sinks Amherst, 80-64, in ECAC Semis
Colby Sinks Amherst, 80-64, in ECAC Semis
March 3, 2001

Shannon Russell '04
Shannon Russell '01 scored
a game-high 23 points,
including three three-pointers
AMHERST, Mass. - The fifth-seeded Colby College White Mules exploded for 51 second-half points, including nine second-period points each from senior Mandy Cochrane (Arlington, MA) and junior Katy Lawson (Mt. Desert Island, ME), to knock off top-seeded Amherst College in Saturday's ECAC semifinals, 80-64. With the win, the Mules advance to Sunday's championship game, where they will face second-seeded Wellesley College, while the Jeffs finish their season with a record of 23-5.

Two weeks to the day of Amherst's 71-59 regular-season win over Colby, the Jeffs looked to have things well in hand early in Saturday's playoff contest, opening the game on a 17-4 run. First-year Amherst guard Shannon Russell (Shrewsbury, MA), who scored a career-high 28 points in the first matchup against Colby, scored seven points during the run, and senior co-captain Charlotte Taylor (Harvard, MA) added five points to give the Jeffs the early cushion.

Colby regrouped, however, and would control the tempo for most of the rest of the half. After the Jeffs took a 20-9 lead on a Hallison Putnam (Lexington, KY) jumper at the 11:58-mark, the Mules rolled off nine straight points, including three free throws from sophomore Carli Parisella (Bedford, MA), to close to within two with 7:24 left before the half. A brief Amherst spurt, fueled by a pair of baskets from first-year Marissa McGuire (Minneapolis, MN) opened up a 28-21 lead just inside the three-minute mark, before Colby scored the last eight points of the period, six of which came from the charity stripe, to take a 29-28 lead into the intermission.

The Mules, who hit on 14 of 16 free-throw attempts in the first half, would also do much of their damage from the charity stripe after halftime. An early charity toss from Cochrane gave Colby a 32-31 lead, before a Putnam three-pointer put the Jeffs back ahead, 34-32, at the 16:24-mark. That lead, however, would be the last the Jeffs would enjoy, as the Mules again rallied off eight straight points, using stellar ball movement to score four quick inside buckets. A three-point-play from Amherst sophomore Brooke Diamond (Longmeadow, MA) cut the White Mule lead to three, 40-37, at the 12:30-mark, and Amherst would come to within two points of the visitors after a Russell jumper just before the eight-minute mark. Colby responded, however, breaking the game open with a 13-2 run over the next three minutes, including a pair of baskets by Cochrane and a three-pointer from sophomore Jasmine Ashe (Cumberland, ME).

The Jeffs were never able to cut further into the Colby lead than nine points after Ashe's three-pointer, and the Mules connected on 12 of their next 13 free-throw attempts, including six from Parisella, to ice the 80-64 final. All told, Colby scored 15 of their last 17 points from the charity stripe, finishing with a season-high 34 free throws in 40 attempts. Parisella, who entered the game shooting only 47 percent from the line all season, connected on 11 of her 12 attempts en route to 13 points, while Lawson connected on 10 of her 12 free-throw attempts for 10 of her team-high 18 points. Colby sophomore Sarah Walsh (Catonsville, MD), who had a 21-point, 20-rebound afternoon in the first meeting with Amherst, turned in a solid 12-point, nine-rebound, four-steal game for Colby, and Cochrane also finished in double-figures with 11 points. The difference came in the second half, where the Mules reversed a seven-for-27 (25.9 percent) shooting performance in the first half, connecting on 15 of their 24 (62.5 percent) second-half attempts from the field.

The Jeffs, who didn't help themselves from the charity stripe, finishing 15-for-25 for the game, were paced by a game-high 23 points from Russell, including three three-pointers. Taylor, in what would prove to be the final game of her career, was the lone other Amherst player in double figures with 11 points, and sophomore forward Sarah Walker (W. Hartford, CT) turned in a six-point, 11-rebound, three-block afternoon before fouling out late in the contest.

With the win, the White Mules (21-7) advance to Sunday's ECAC title game, where they will face second-seeded Wellesley, 73-62 victors over Plymouth State College in Saturday's night-cap. The Jeffs, who lose only Taylor to graduation, finish their 2000-01 campaign with an Amherst-record 23 wins, shattering the 1988-89 squad's 20-5 finish as the best season in school history.

Full game box score and play-by-play

Wellesley Advances to ECAC Title Game With 73-62 Win Over Plymouth State
March 3, 2001

AMHERST, Mass. - Wellesley College senior co-captain Amy Barao (Norwell, MA) scored 17 of her game-high 22 points in the second half, and sophomore Kelly Grover (Westbrook, ME) added game-highs of 12 rebounds and six blocked shots to her six-point, five-assist effort, as the second-seeded Blue knocked off third-seeded Plymouth State College in the nightcap of Saturday's ECAC women's basketball doubleheader at Amherst College. Wellesley advances to Sunday's championship game, where they will face fifth-seeded Colby College, while the Panthers finish their season with a record of 20-8.

Though Barao dominated in the second half, Wellesley received much of its first-half offense from senior guard Shani Delaney (San Francisco, CA), who scored 11 of the Blue's first 16 points. Delaney's second three-pointer opened up a 16-8 lead for Wellesley, before three straight Plymouth baskets, including a pair from sophomore Courtney Albert (Hudson, NH), cut the deficit to two. Delaney, who connected on each of her first five field-goal attempts, put back a Grover miss at the 4:36-mark to give Wellesley its largest lead of the first half at 25-16, before late baskets from Albert and Panther sophomore Heather Adey (Nashua, NH) cut the advantage to 30-26 at halftime.

Barao, who connected on two of her five first-half field-goal attempts, came out of the gates running in the second period, hitting her second three-pointer of the game 1:25 into the half. After a pair of jumpers from Plymouth junior Megan Fournier (East Waterboro, ME) closed the Panthers to within one, Barao added a lay-in to extend the edge back to three. A pair of free throws from Panther senior Krystyna Zagorski (Matawan, NJ) gave the Panthers their only lead of the second half at 39-38, before back-to-back three-pointers from Wellesley junior Jane Gooding (Loudonville, OH) and Barao put the Blue back ahead by five.

The two teams proceeded to trade buckets for the next few minutes, including Barao's third three-pointer of the half and a pair of Zagorski jumpers. The second jumper from the Plymouth State captain, which closed the Panther deficit to four, 53-49, was met with a clutch three-pointer from sophomore Kate Lyren (Wadsworth, OH), and a pair of Barao free throws 18 seconds later extended the Wellesley lead back out to nine points, 58-49, with 6:42 remaining. An Adey jumper with 4:23 left closed Plymouth back to within five at 60-55, but Wellesley was solid from the foul line down the stretch, beginning with a pair of charity tosses from senior co-captain Meg Barao (Norwell, MA), Amy's twin sister, with 2:30 to go. Meg Barao's two free throws began a stretch that would see Wellesley hit on each of their final eight attempts from the foul line, including four in the final 1:17 from Amy Barao, as the Blue sealed the 73-62 victory.

Amy Barao's 22 points, which included a four-for-six performance from downtown, led all scorers for Wellesley, and Lyren hit on each of her four second-half field-goal attempts to put up all 12 of her points after the break, adding a game-high six assists. Grover, who was an intimidating presence all afternoon inside for Wellesley, finished with six blocks and five assists to go along with her game-high 12 rebounds, helping to hold Plymouth State, who averages just under 80 points per game as a team, to only a 23-69 (33.3 percent) performance from the field. Delaney finished with 16 points for the Blue, and Meg Barao finished with 10 points and nine rebounds in the win.

For the Panthers, Zagorski led four players in double figures with 17 points, while Adey hit on five of her seven attempts from the field for 13 points. Albert posted a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, but connected on only five of 15 shot attempts, and sophomore Jenn Pelletier (Derry, NH) also finished in double figures with 11 points and six assists.

With the win, Wellesley (22-4) advances to Sunday's 2 p.m. ECAC championship game, where they will face fifth-seeded Colby College, who dispatched top-seeded Amherst in Saturday's first semifinal by an 80-64 final. Wellesley, an NCAA Tournament team one year ago, has not appeared in an ECAC title game since 1993, when it defeated Westfield State College, 81-61, to capture the New England crown. Plymouth State finishes its 2000-01 campaign with a record of 20-8.

Full game box score and play-by-play