Lord Jeffs Top Ephs for First Time Since 2001 With 65-53 Win

First year head coach G.P. Gromacki has the Lord Jeffs with a program-best start and win streak at 13-0.

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College women’s basketball team put its undefeated record on the line this afternoon in the opening game of the annual Amherst-Williams doubleheader. The Lord Jeffs improved to 13-0 with a 65-53 win over their NESCAC and Little Three archrival.

In the early going, Amherst jumped out to a 10-5 lead on a pair of early jumpers from junior guard Stacy Brossy (Honolulu, HI).

Williams head coach Pat Manning was forced to use a timeout at the 13:37 mark, as Amherst had the Ephs doubled-up at 14-7. Coming out of the break, Williams’ Niki Savageau buried a three from the corner, before teammate Taylor Shea hit a jumper from the elbow to cut the Jeff lead to two points.

Amherst went on a 12-5 run powered by a pair three pointers from senior tri-captains Shaina Pollack (Great Neck, NY) and Anne-Claire Roesch (Wesport, CT). With 6:12 to play in the first half, Amherst had built its margin back up to 26-17.

Amherst took its largest lead of the game at 13 points, before Williams responded with a 8-0 run to bring the score to 30-25 in favor of the Lord Jeffs. After a missed three pointer by Pollack on the last possession of the half, Amherst held a five-point lead going into the locker room.

At the break, Amherst sophomore center Sam Swensen (Rockaway Park, NY) paced the Jeffs with seven points and five rebounds, while Savageau led all scorers with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting. Poor free throw shooting continued to be the difference in the game, as Williams went just 5-of-11 in the opening frame.

Amherst got a boost early in the second half on a beautiful driving three-point play from junior Yasmine Harik (New York, NY). Williams responded with an and-one opportunity from Dominique de la Torre to cut the lead to 36-33.

With 14:09 remaining in the second half, Williams had closed the gap to a single point, with the Lord Jeffs holding a 36-35 lead. Pollack swelled the advantage back to five points with a three pointer from the right wing and a jumper in the lane on consecutive possessions.

With nearly eight minutes remaining in the second half, Amherst was already in the bonus, shooting on every Williams foul the rest of the way. After what looked like a sure Amherst turnover, a diving Sarah Leyman (Cincinnati, OH) poked the ball to classmate Jaci Daigneault (Guilford, CT), who knocked down a three. Amherst scored on the next trip down the court to give the Lord Jeffs a 54-44 lead with 6:31 to play.

Harik finished a three-point play inside, drawing the fifth, and final, foul on de la Torre in the process. After an Eph put-back, Amherst avoided heavy pressure from the Williams defense to set up Pollack for a three pointer to put the Jeffs up 62-48.

Amherst held a commanding 65-53 lead with 1:20 to play after Williams’ Shea made one of two at the line. The Ephs called a timeout after an Amherst turnover, looking to set up a scoring spurt to get back into the game.

No such spurt came, and with possession and a 12-point lead, and just 48.7 seconds remaining, both head coaches emptied their benches. Amherst closed out the game for its 13th win of the year, 65-53, while Williams fell to 9-4.

Leading all scorers was Williams' Chessie Jackson with 16 points. Pollack paced Amherst with 15 points, six rebounds and six assists. 

At 13-0 the Lord Jeffs set the mark for the longest win streak and best start in program history. Amherst also snaps a 13-game losing streak to Williams, dating back to the 2000-2001 season.