Amherst College to Host Sectionals For Second Straight Season
AMHERST, MA - Amherst College's LeFrak Gymnasium will serve as one of only four sites hosting Division III women's basketball this weekend, as the top-ranked Lord Jeffs have been selected as a Sectional host for the second straight season. Amherst College advanced to the Round of 16 in the 2010 NCAA Tournament with a pair of home wins over MCLA and Southern Maine, and now stands just two games from reaching the Final Four once again.
On Friday night, the Lord Jeffs will host NESCAC archrival Williams College at 7 p.m., while Gettysburg College and Babson College will open up the night at 5 p.m. The two advancing teams from Friday night's Sectional Semifinals will meet Saturday at 6 p.m. with a spot in the 2010 National Semifinals awaiting the winner. All three games at Amherst will feature live statistics, as well as free live webcasts, courtesy of the NCAA.
Tickets for this weekend's action will be sold at the entrances to LeFrak Gymnasium on game day. Tickets are priced at $7 for adults, and $4 for students and children (children under the age of two will be admitted free of charge). All members of the Amherst College community (alumni, students, faculty, staff and local community members) will have their admission paid for them, courtesy of the College. To take advantage of this offer, fans must show an ID at the door or when picking up tickets. Advance tickets will be available for purchase or free pick-up at the Athletics Office Wednesday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. and Thursday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., as well as at the door Friday beginning at 3:30 p.m. and Saturday beginning at 4:30 p.m.
Amherst Fans: Come Help "White Out" LeFrak Gymnasium for Friday's "Sweet Sixteen" Women's Basketball Game vs. Williams @ 7 p.m. All 200 Free White Shirts are now SOLD OUT, but you can still wear white and support the Lord Jeffs!
Amherst (29-0) will host the Round of 16 for the second straight season, and will play in the Sectionals for the third straight year. After topping MCLA 68-47 in the tournament's First Round, Amherst dispatched the University of Southern Maine 76-59 in the Second Round. Amherst joins the Ephs and Bowdoin College as the three NESCAC schools still vying for a national title.
The Lord Jeffs are one of only two unbeaten teams remaining in this year's tournament, but would not run into 30-0 Christopher Newport until a potential meeting in the 2010 National Championship game. Hope College (29-1) joins Amherst and Christopher Newport as the only other team in the field with 29 or more wins.
Amherst is led by NESCAC Player of the Year Caroline Stedman '12 (Walpole, MA) on offense, who has ramped up her scoring in recent weeks. Stedman averages a team-leading 12.6 points per game, but during the NESCAC schedule led the conference with 17.1 points per game. Once again, Lem Atanga McCormick '12 (Chicago, IL) broke out during the first weekend of NCAA Tournament play, leading the team to a pair of wins. Last season, Atanga McCormick scored 17 points in each of Amherst's First and Second Round wins, before averaging 15.0 points per game in last weekend's games.
On Friday night the Lord Jeffs will meet a familiar foe in Williams College (20-7). While this weekend's Round of 16 game is the first meeting between Amherst and Williams in the NCAA Tournament, it will mark the third meeting between the Jeffs and Ephs this year. The Jeffs earned a 75-51 win in Williamstown Jan. 9 before cruising to an 86-52 victory in LeFrak Feb. 12.
Williams opened its tournament run with a 62-56 win over Mt. St. Mary's, before cruising past DeSales 94-77 in the Second Round. The Ephs were led over the weekend by the one-two combo of forwards Chessie Jackson '11 and Taylor Shea '11. Shea averaged a double-double in the wins, scoring 16.0 points per game to go alongside 10.5 rebounds per contest. Jackson would not be outdone, leading the team in scoring with 17.5 points per game, while pulling down 6.5 boards per night.
Prior to the Amherst-Williams game, Gettysburg will take on Babson. The Gettysburg Bullets (24-4) are playing in the Sectionals for the first time in program history after advancing past Farmingdale State College and Utica College over the weekend. The Bullets beat Farmingdale State 68-57, before taking down Utica 71-55 in the Second Round.
Gettysburg was led to the wins this weekend by junior Caitlin Moser and senior captain Courtney Fields. In the victory over Farmingdale State, Moser scored an eye-popping 34 points, while pulling down 14 rebounds. Fields added a double-double in the win over Farmingdale, scoring 10 points with 11 boards. In the win over Utica, Fields led the Bullets with 26 points and 12 rebounds.
Babson College (27-3) returns to LeFrak Gymnasium in NCAA Tournament play for the second straight season. Last March, the Beavers had their season come to close in the First Round as Amherst pulled out a 77-54 win. Babson punched its ticket for this weekend's games with a wins over Emmanuel and Colby. The Beavers opened their NCAA Tournament campaign with a 76-56 win over Emmanuel with the team's 18th straight win. The following evening, Babson pulled out a 76-73 double-overtime win over host Colby College.
The victory over Colby was historic on several fronts for the Beavers. At 27-3, Babson set a new program record for wins in a season, surpassing the previous total of 26 victories set back in 1993-94 and matched with Friday's first round win over Emmanuel. The team also extended its program-record winning streak to 19 games, while marking the first time in program history that the Beavers won multiple games in an NCAA Tournament.