Women's Basketball Looking to Wrap up Perfect Regular Season
Top-ranked Amherst (22-0, 7-0 NESCAC) will host archrival Williams College (17-5, 6-1) Friday at 6 p.m. and Middlebury College (10-11, 2-5) Saturday at 2 p.m. to close out the 2009-10 regular season. Live statistics and a live webcast will be available free of charge for each game.
Sarah Leyman '11 is tied for 10th on Amherst's career rebounding list (525).
As one of only three unbeaten teams remaining in Division III, Amherst is only two games away from wrapping up its first perfect regular season in program history. Despite featuring the 10th most difficult schedule in Division III, the Lord Jeffs lead the nation in scoring margin (+29.0) and rank third in scoring defense (47.7 ppg). Amherst has been sparked as of late by Caroline Stedman ’12, who has averaged 20.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 3.3 steals per game in the past four NESCAC contests. Lem Atanga McCormick ’12 appears to be back in top form after scoring a career-high 25 points with 10 rebounds and five blocks in only 17 minutes during Tuesday night’s 85-60 win at Bridgewater State.
Williams won 14 consecutive games against Amherst during a dominant stretch that began in 2001, but the Jeffs have won four of the past five and each of the past three. The last win for the Ephs came in a 2008 conference matchup that saw Amherst’s 17-game winning streak and bid for a perfect season come to a halt. When these rivals met earlier this season, Amherst placed four players in double figures to win handily, 75-51, in Williamstown. In her past three games against the Ephs, Jaci Daigneault ’11 is averaging 21.7 points, 11.0 rebounds and only 23.7 minutes per contest while shooting 62 percent from the floor and 100 percent from the free throw line.
Shannon Finucane '12 ranks ninth on Amherst's career assist list (193).
The Ephs are coming off a 1-1 weekend that saw them suffer an overtime loss to Colby, marking their first conference setback of the season. Williams rebounded nicely with a 21-point win over Bowdoin, with a 59-57 win over Tufts also highlighting what has been an impressive season. Middlebury, meanwhile, went on a six-game win streak earlier this season but has dropped five of its past six games to dip below the .500 mark. The Lord Jeffs have won six straight against the Panthers, including a 71-49 result last year.
Although Amherst is in the driver’s seat to earn the right to host the semifinals and finals of the upcoming NESCAC Championship, the Ephs will be looking to play the role of spoiler as the only team capable of leaping ahead of the Jeffs for the conference’s top seed. Amherst can secure the No. 1 seed with a win over Williams, but a loss to the Ephs would make Saturday’s games crucial. Should the Jeffs get upset by their archrivals, their only chance of finishing as the top seed would be for a win over Middlebury to be paired with a Williams loss at Trinity. The Panthers are currently tied with Trinity and Wesleyan for the seventh seed, but they can secure a postseason berth with a win over the Bantams Friday night.
Streaks and Milestones:
In addition to being in the midst of the program's longest overall winning streak (22), Amherst is riding an 18-game unbeaten streak in LeFrak Gymnasium—the second longest such streak in program history—and is 43-1 at home in the past three years. The Class of 2011 has posted a 78-7 record and needs only one more victory to become the winningest group in program history, as the Class of 2009 won a program-best 78 games in its four years. Sarah Leyman ’11 pulled down seven rebounds at Bridgewater State, moving her into a tie for 10th on the school’s career top-10 list (525), while Shannon Finucane ’12 picked up five assists to move into sole possession of ninth place on Amherst’s career list (193).
Check out weekend previews for the women’s ice hockey, men’s ice hockey and men’s basketball teams. Photos from this year's sporting events are available on Amherst's flickr page.