2nd-Ranked Lord Jeffs Cruise to 80-37 Win in Opener

Junior Kristyn Dunleavy hit 4-of-7 three pointers against F.D.U.

AMHERST, MA – The 2nd-ranked Amherst College women’s basketball team opened up the 2009-10 season this evening against the Devils of Fairleigh Dickinson University in the first round of the Second Annual Tip-Off Tournament at LeFrak Gymnasium. Amherst cruised to a convincing 80-37 win to advance to tomorrow’s 4 p.m. Championship game against the winner of Western Conn State and Staten Island.

Coming off the best season in program history last year, the Lord Jeffs picked up right where they left off. Junior co-captain Sarah Leyman (Cincinnati, OH) scored the game’s first points on a lay-up, before Amherst’s outside shooters took over. On Amherst’s next four possessions, sophomores Shannon Finucane (Cortland, NY), Caroline Stedman (Walpole, MA) and Kim Fiorentino (Holmdel, NJ) hit four straight threes to open up a 14-6 lead.

The Amherst lead swelled to 35-16 on a three by junior Kristyn Dunleavy (East Setauket, NY), as Amherst head coach GP Gromacki went to his bench early on. Late in the first half the Amherst margin hit 30 points on another triple by Dunleavy, before the forward drilled her third long ball of the half to put Amherst ahead 56-22.

At the half, Amherst led 58-22 after seeing 11 different players score in the frame, including half a dozen with six or more points. The Devils were led offensively by Danielle Michlovsky with eight points.

Early in the second half, Amherst’s lead hit 40 points on a lay-up by Jaci Daigneault (Guilford, CT). As the second half continued, Gromacki was able to sub five players at a time, giving some valuable minutes to first-years Bridget Crowley (Hampden, MA) and Marcia Voight (Skillman, NJ) in their collegiate debuts. Both rookies and sophomore transfer Jackie Renner (Newton, MA) each played well in their first game in the purple and white.

As the final seconds ticked off the clock, Amherst cruised to an 80-37 win. Dunleavy scored a team-high 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting from long range, while Crowley and Lem Atanga McCormack (Chicago, IL) each hit double-digits in scoring. The trio was joined by another five Lord Jeffs to form eight players with eight or more points. The Devils were led by Shealyn Taggart with 12 points, and Michlovsky with 10 points and six boards.

Amherst will play against either Staten Island or WCSU at 4 p.m. tomorrow, while the Devils will face the loser tomorrow at 2 p.m. in the Consolation Game.