No. 1 Women's Basketball Defeats No. 6 Bates in NESCAC Semifinals, 77-43

Kristyn Dunleavy scored a game-high 17 points as
Amherst advanced to tomorrow's NESCAC title game.

AMHERST, MA  - The top-seeded Amherst College women’s basketball team played host to No. 6 Bates College this afternoon at LeFrak Gymnasium in the first of two semifinals in the 2010 NESCAC Championship. Amherst finished the first half on a 25-10 run and never looked back during a convincing 77-43 win.

With the win, Amherst advances to tomorrow’s 12 p.m. conference championship game, where it will face second-seeded Colby College. Amherst improved to 26-0 on the year, and will look to head into the upcoming NCAA Tournament undefeated with a win tomorrow. Bates’ season comes to an end with a 14-12 overall record.

The game started with an uncharacteristically sloppy shooting performance for both teams, as Bates and Amherst combined to start the day 0-for-6 from the field. By the 10:30 mark of the first half, Bates held a 15-10 lead and forced Amherst head coach G.P. Gromacki to use a timeout. On the Lord Jeffs’ next two possessions, Amherst got scores from Lem Atanga McCormick (Chicago, IL) and Kristyn Dunleavy (E. Setauket, NY) to tie the game at 15-15.
After another Dunleavy three-pointer, Bates committed back-to-back turnovers before Caroline Stedman (Walpole, MA) hit a triple to put Amherst up 21-15. A Bobcat defender was called for a foul as Dunleavy missed a shot from behind the arc, but the Amherst junior made all three free throws to extend Amherst’s lead to 24-15.

Dunleavy and Bates guard Kellie Goodridge traded three-pointers late in the half, before a jumper by Annie Burns with 20 seconds to play closed the gap to 15 points. The score was the final bucket of the half, as Amherst took a 40-25 lead into the break. Bates scored just three points between the 11:03 and 3:24 marks of the half, and went nearly eight minutes without a field goal as Amherst took over the game.

Amherst started the second half with a 12-0 scoring run that included a nice three-point play by Stedman to put the game out of reach. While the deficit crept past thirty points at the 12-minute mark of the second frame, Bates was able to celebrate a milestone during the half. With 6:58 remaining, Bobcat senior Lauren Yanofsky scored on a second-straight possession for Bates, making her the 18th player in program history to score 1,000 career points. Yanofsky finished the game with a team-high 11 points, ending her career with 1,001 points.

The second half also saw the return of Amherst’s Kim Fiorentino (Holmdel, NJ), who had missed Amherst’s past 15 games with an injury after starting each of the first 43 games of her Amherst career. Fiorentino played 10 minutes and pulled down three offensive rebounds while scoring two points in her return.  With the boost from Fiorentino hitting the floor once again, Amherst cruised to a 77-43 win.

Dunleavy scored a game-high 17 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including a 4-of-5 performance from three-point land. Atanga McCormick added 12 points and eight rebounds, while Amherst got 10 points from each Stedman and Marcia Voigt (Skillman, NJ).

Tomorrow’s championship game will be played at LeFrak Gymnasium at 12 p.m., and will once again feature live stats and a webcast, courtesy of JeffCast.