Lord Jeffs Rally for 70-55 Win at Richard Stockton

Shannon Finucane '12 had five assists and matched her career high of 22 points.

POMONA, NJ – After trailing at halftime for the first time all season, the Amherst College women’s basketball team rallied for a 70-55 victory over The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey Monday afternoon at the Ospreys’ Sports Center. Sophomore Shannon Finucane (Cortland, NY) dished out five assists and matched her career high of 22 points to lead the Lord Jeffs to their 16th consecutive win.

Monday marked the first-ever meeting between the Amherst and Richard Stockton women’s basketball programs. While the Ospreys (7-8) were taking on a nationally ranked opponent for the third time in six days, the Jeffs (16-0) were kicking off a difficult seven-game road trip.

Amherst—ranked No. 2 in the most recent D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll—joins No. 1 Illinois Wesleyan (15-0), No. 20 Christopher Newport (15-0) and unranked Farmingdale State (13-0) as the lone undefeated teams remaining in Division III. The Jeffs’ current 16-game winning streak is the third longest in program history, as the team won 17 straight during the 2007-08 season and 18 in a row last year.

Finucane shot 50 percent from the floor and was a perfect 7-for-7 at the line to lead all scorers, with sophomore Jackie Renner (Newton, MA) adding 10 points for Amherst. Junior tri-captain Sarah Leyman (Cincinnati, OH) and sophomore Lem Atanga McCormick (Chicago, IL) pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds apiece and combined for 14 points, with Atanga McCormick also blocking three shots for the Jeffs.

For Richard Stockton, LaTonya Oliver tallied 14 points and Aliyah Nelson chipped in with 11. First-year Noelle Hogan led the team with nine boards.

Amherst held at least a nine-point halftime lead in each of its first 15 games, but Stockton led 28-26 at the end of a close first half that included seven lead changes and five ties. The Lord Jeffs would take control thanks to 16 second-half points from Finucane, with two of those points coming on a jumper that ignited a 12-3 run that resulted in a 55-43 lead. After making only one of six free throw attempts in the first half, Amherst shot 12-for-12 at the line in the second frame to seal the 70-55 victory.

Despite being in only their second collegiate seasons, Finucane and Atanga McCormick continue to climb the Amherst record books. While Atanga McCormick’s three blocks against the Ospreys moved her into a tie for fourth place on the school’s career blocks list (74), Finucane’s five assists slid her into 11th on the career assist leader board (177).

Monday began a difficult seven-game road trip that will include five NESCAC contests, including showdowns with three teams that will likely be ranked in the next national poll (Bowdoin, Colby, Tufts). The seven-game stretch—which will tie the longest road trip in program history (seven games in 1997)—will resume Saturday, Jan. 23 when Amherst takes on Trinity College at 1 p.m. The Jeffs are in the midst of an 18-game home winning streak—the second longest in program history—but will not return to LeFrak Gymnasium until a Feb. 12 showdown with Williams.