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Amherst Basketball Programs Well-Represented on D3hoops.com All-Region Teams
Submitted by Justin P. Long (inactive)
Andrew Olson's outstanding career continues this Friday in the national semifinals.
AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College men’s and women’s basketball programs were well-represented when D3hoops.com released its 2008 All-Region Teams. Senior Andrew Olson (San Diego, CA) grabbed Northeast Player of the Year honors and joined classmate Fletcher Walters (Ann Arbor, MI) on the All-Northeast Region First Team, while senior Stefanie Reiff (Hinsdale, IL) was named to the Third Team on the women’s side. In his first season with the Amherst women’s basketball program, head coach GP Gromacki earned Northeast Coach of the Year honors.
Chalk up another accolade for Olson, who was once again recognized by D3hoops.com as an All-Region First Team selection to go with this year’s Northeast Player of the Year honor. This is the first time Walters has been recognized by D3hoops.com, as he and Olson were both named to the All-NESCAC First Team this year, with Olson being named the conference’s Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. Last year, Olson was also named to the D3hoops.com All-America First Team.
Olson’s outstanding senior season has been no surprise to anyone, as he leads the conference in assists (207) and assists per game (7.14). His 742 career assists shatter the previous Amherst record and are good for eighth all-time in Division III. He is third on the team in scoring (12.0 ppg) and reached the 1,000-point mark earlier this season, currently sitting in 14th place on Amherst’s all-time scoring list (1,201). In addition, Olson is still in the running for the prestigious Bob Cousy Award, which honors the best point guard in all of college basketball.
Senior Stefanie Reiff and head coach GP Gromacki helped lead the Jeffs to the program's first NESCAC title.
Walters was a key player on both ends of the floor for Amherst. He leads the team in scoring (14.6 ppg), rebounds (7.3 rpg) and steals (1.45 spg), and is second in blocked shots (1.28 bpg). Walters has been the Lord Jeffs’ top scorer in nine contests and has led the squad in rebounding 16 times, recording eight double-doubles along the way. The NESCAC named Walters Player of the Week twice during the 2007-08 campaign (Jan. 12 and Feb. 4). He was dominant in Amherst’s 87-80 win over Williams on Jan. 12, finishing with 17 points, eight rebounds, and a career-high six assists, and poured in a career-high 26 points in consecutive games in February.
This marks the first career D3hoops.com honor for Reiff, who was named to the All-NESCAC First Team earlier this year. Reiff capped off a great career with a stellar senior season and played a vital role in leading the Lord Jeff women’s basketball team to a number of program firsts. She averaged 12.1 points per game as a tri-captain and shot better than 50 percent from the floor, finishing eighth in the conference in field goal percentage (.502) and sixth in free throw percentage (.788). Reiff joined the 1,000 point club this year and landed in sixth place on Amherst’s all-time scoring list with 1,098 career points.
Gromacki led the Jeffs to their best season in program history, opening with a program-best 17-game winning streak en route to a 27-3 overall record and 7-2 mark in the NESCAC. After finishing the regular season atop the conference standings, Amherst won its first-ever NESCAC title and received its first berth into the NCAA Tournament, where the Jeffs advanced to the sectional semifinals after a pair of tournament wins.
This year’s Jeffs averaged a NESCAC-best 73.6 points per game, an increase of 13.0 points per game from last year. Amherst was also second in scoring defense (53.2 ppg), allowing 6.2 fewer points per game than last year’s team. Gromacki’s team saw significant increases in field goal percentage (.456, 1st in the NESCAC) and free throw percentage, and also went from 9th in turnover margin (-2.64) to 1st (+4.13), as the Jeffs significantly improved from one season to the next in virtually every aspect of the game. In eight seasons as a head coach, Gromacki is 190-41 (.823).
While the Amherst women’s team ended its season with a loss to defending national champion DePauw University this past weekend, the men’s team will take on Ursinus College this Friday in the national semifinals.