Women's Hoops Advances to NESCAC Finals with 71-47 Win Over Bowdoin

Shaina Pollack led all players with
18 points in the win.

Click here to read about today's other NESCAC Semifinal 

AMHERST, MA – The top-seeded Amherst College women’s basketball team opened a busy day of NESCAC Tournament Semifinal action at noon today against No. 4 Bowdoin College. Amherst made a statement to the other teams remaining in the tournament with a 71-47 win, the first for the Lord Jeffs over Bowdoin since the 2000-01 regular season game. Amherst's 24th win of the season marks a new program record. 

Bowdoin is one of only two teams to knock off the 14th-ranked Lord Jeffs this season, as the Polar Bears picked up a 72-61 in Brunswick, ME earlier this year. Amherst defeated No. 8 Colby 83-53 in the quarterfinal round, while Bowdoin topped No. 5 Bates 55-51 to set up today’s game at LeFrak Gymnasium.

Despite sloppy play by both teams in the first few moments, Amherst jumped out to an 8-0 lead on a pair of triples from senior tri-captain Shaina Pollack (Great Neck, NY). Pollack continued her hot hand with a pair of pull-up jumpers to put the Jeffs up 12-0 after six minutes of action.

Bowdoin head coach Stefanie Pemper was forced to use a timeout at the 12:55 mark of the first half, after Amherst first-year Sarah Leyman (Cincinnati, OH) laid in a bucket to put Amherst up 14-0. Coming out of the timeout, Bowdoin finally got on the board with a pair of free throws by junior Alexa Kaubris (Rumford, ME).

At the midpoint of the first half, Amherst held a 21-7 lead after a lay-in by senior tri-captain Anne Claire Roesch (Westport, CT). After a 5-0 Bowdoin run, Pollack was fouled in the act of shooting a three pointer from the left wing. The guard hit two-of-three to keep Amherst up 23-12 with six and a half minutes to play.

Bowdoin’s Maria Noucas (Portsmouth, NH) drained a three to cut the Amherst advantage to a dozen, but the Jeffs responded with a pair of baskets from Leyman to take a 31-15 lead.

The Polar Bears finished the half on a 9-4 run to head into the locker room down 35-24. Pollack led all players with 12 points in the first half, while Leyman scored eight points and pulled down five rebounds. Bowdoin was paced by junior Jill Anelauskas (Medfield, MA) with nine points in the frame.

Amherst built on its halftime lead in the first six minutes of play in the second half. Riding six early points from senior tri-captain Stefanie Reiff (Hinsdale, IL), Amherst rushed out to a 51-32 lead.

At the 12-minute mark of the second half, Pollack was fouled again on a three ball, and knocked down all three from the charity stripe to put the Lord Jeffs up 57-37. Four and a half minutes later, a jumper from junior Stacy Brossy (Lukachukai, AZ) put the Jeffs up 69-39.

Amherst coasted to an impressive win in the final moments of the second half. When the final whistle blew, the Lord Jeffs advanced to the conference championship game with a 71-47 win.

Pollack finished the day with 18 points, five rebounds and three assists to pace Amherst, while Reiff added 16 points. First-years Leyman and Jaci Daigneault (Guilford, CT) combined for 16 points and 13 rebounds as well for Amherst. Anelauskas and Kaubris led the Polar Bears with nine points apiece.

The previous record for wins in a season for an Amherst women's basketball team was 23, set during the 2000-01 campaign. This year's Lord Jeffs set the program record for longest winning streak (17) earlier in the year, and are on pace to set several other program records.  

The 24-2 Jeffs will face the winner of Wesleyan and Tufts tomorrow at noon. Bowdoin’s season will most likely come to a close with an 18-8 overall record. Amherst will appear in the NESCAC title game for the first time since hosting the game in 2001.