Top-Ranked Women's Hoops Survives Scare at Bates, 72-66

Shannon Finucane had a program-record 10 steals
to go with 13 points and eight rebounds at Bates.

From a Bates College release

LEWISTON, ME – Reigning NESCAC Player of the Week Caroline Stedman (Walpole, MA) scored a game-high 20 points to lead the No. 1-ranked Amherst College women's basketball team to a 72-66 NESCAC win at Bates College on Friday night. The Lord Jeffs improved their overall record to 20-0 and moved to 6-0 in conference play, while Bates dropped to 11-11 overall and 2-5 in the conference.

Bates held Amherst to uncharacteristically sub-par shooting (26-of-65, .400), caused 25 turnovers and won the rebounding battle, 39-38, but the Bobcats turned the ball over a season-high 30 times and shot 27-for-60 (.450) from the field.

Sophomore point guard Shannon Finucane (Cortland, NY) scored 13 points to go with a school-record 10 steals and career-high eight rebounds for the Lord Jeffs, and Jackie Renner (Newton, MA) added 10 points. Sarah Leyman (Cincinnati, OH) scored nine points with a game-high nine rebounds, moving her career rebound total to 508.

Bates sophomore Annie Burns led the Bobcats in scoring for the first time this season (13 points), shooting 5-for-8 from the field and hitting both of her three-point attempts, while dishing out a game-high eight assists. First-year Taryn O'Connell and senior Lauren Yanofsky added 12 points apiece, with Yanofsky adding five assists, four blocked shots and four steals. Jessie Igoe scored six points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.

Bates stayed close for most of the first half, though Amherst led nearly the entire time. The Lord Jeffs gradually built a lead as high as nine with eight minutes left in the half, and took a 31-22 lead on a Stedman jumper with 6:48 left in the period. Bates cut it to four (31-27) on an O'Connell layup and a three-pointer by first-year Allie Beaulieu. Amherst's Jaci Daigneault (Guilford, CT) answered with a three of her own, and a jumper by Livia Rizzo (Dover, MA) gave Amherst a 38-31 lead at the half.

Bates hung close in the opening minutes of the second half, before a three by Finucane ignited a 10-2 Amherst run that put the visitors ahead 56-43 with 10:37 left in the game. In perhaps one of its better efforts of the season, Bates again clawed back in the waning minutes. Amherst led 67-57 with 3:04 left, but a jumper by O'Connell and a three by sophomore Lauren Dobish cut it to 67-62 with 2:13 to go.

A layup by Stedman with 44 seconds left held Bates at bay, but a pair of Yanofsky layups cut it to 70-66 with 26 seconds left. Stedman iced the win by hitting a pair of free throws with three seconds to go.

Amherst will puts its perfect record on the line tomorrow afternoon when it travels to face 10th-ranked Tufts University at 2 p.m. in a crucial NESCAC showdown. With Williams College suffering a 74-68 overtime loss to Colby, the Lord Jeffs moved into sole possession of first place in the conference standings.