Senior Ali Flato pulled down a season-high nine rebounds in Saturday's win.

Jeffs Rally Past Middlebury, 58-50

February 4, 2006

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College women’s basketball team recovered from a 31-23 halftime deficit to down visiting NESCAC foe Middlebury College, 58-50, on Saturday afternoon. Senior co-captain Krissy Morin (Litchfield, NH) and junior Jenny Muller (N. Andover, MA) each netted 12 points to lead the Jeffs, who improve to 9-11 (4-3 NESCAC). Middlebury falls to 13-8 and 2-5 in conference play.

After coughing the ball up a grisly 19 times in the first session, the Jeffs committed just four turnovers, and shot 55.6% (15-for-27), in the second period to erase the Panther lead and seize the win.

Sophomore Katie Fisher (Oakland, CA) got Middlebury off to a solid start, sinking two jumpers, connecting on a pair of free throws, and feeding senior Maryanne Verzosa (Jamaica, NY) for a three-point play, as the Panthers took a 9-5 lead at the four-minute mark. Amherst turned the ball over on their first three possessions to aid in the early Middlebury edge, but Morin netted a jumper and finished off a pair of free throws of her own, and sophomore Shaina Pollack (Great Neck, NY) hit a clutch trifecta to get the Jeffs back into it with a slim 12-11 lead at 12:34. Amidst sloppy play from both squads, the Panthers regrouped and went on a 20-9 run, led by eight points from rookie Aylie Baker (Yarmouth, ME) in the span of four minutes, to end the half with a 31-23 edge.

After giving up the first bucket, a layup from Panther senior co-captain Micaela McVary (Springfield, IL) 13 seconds after the whistle, the Jeffs went on a 12-4 run , sparked by eight points – including two three-balls – from Muller in the opening five minutes. Morin and sophomore Stefanie Reiff (Hinsdale, IL) quickly caught the fire, as Morin converted an and-one opportunity to knot the score at 44-44 at the 11-minute mark and Reiff gained the lead for good on a pretty 10-footer on the ensuing possession. Though McVary grabbed 12 second-half rebounds, the Panthers couldn’t compete with Amherst’s greatly-improved ball-handling after the break. Middlebury scored six straight to get to within two, 52-50, at 6:24, but their comeback hopes were crushed by the stellar Jeff defense, which shutout the Panthers on their last 10 tries down the stretch.

Morin snatched a pair of steals to add to her 12-point game, while senior Julie Smith (Villanova, PA) pilfered three. Reiff had nine points to and added five boards, while senior Ali Flato (Piedmont, CA) grabbed nine rebounds. Fisher netted a game-high 16 points and eight caroms, while McVary cleaned the boards, totaling 16 rebounds to go along with nine points.

Amherst returns to the court on Tuesday at non-conference rival Springfield College at 5:30 p.m.