Lord Jeffs Coast to 80-40 Win at Mount Holyoke College

Senior Stefanie Reiff had a game-high
16 points to lead the Lord Jeffs.

SOUTH HADLEY, MA – The Amherst College women’s basketball team traveled over the notch this evening to face cross-town rival Mount Holyoke College for the 31st time in series history. In the first 30 meetings, Amherst held a 19-11 edge, and hoped to emerge from Mildred Howard Gymnasium with a 20th win over the Lyons. The Jeffs got their wish and topped Mt. Holyoke 80-40.

Fresh off a pair of wins to capture the inaugural Amherst College Invitational Tournament Championship, the Lord Jeffs head into their Thanksgiving Break with a perfect 3-0 record after tonight’s win. Last season, the Lyons completed a 58-54 win over the Jeffs, for their second consecutive win in the series before Amherst turned the tide this evening.

The opening minutes of play were noticeably slopped, and after a missed jumper by senior tri-captain Shaina Pollack (Great Neck, NY), the two squads traded four straight turnovers before Mt. Holyoke’s Katie Austen broke the scoreless tie with a free throw.

Amherst held a 15-11 lead after senior tri-captain Anne-Claire Roesch (Westport, CT) made her first two shots off the bench, including a three-pointer, to spark the Jeffs. Following the Roesch three, the Lyons responded with a 5-0 run to steal the lead back at 16-15 with just over ten minutes to play in the first half.

Mount Holyoke’s Erin Cain tied the score at 18-18 on an off-balance jumper from the corner that hit home just as the shot clock expired. The Lord Jeffs took the lead right with 6:04 left in the first half on a deep three from Pollack on the right wing.

First-year Jaclyn Daigneault (Guilford, CT) gave Amherst its largest lead of the game on another triple from the top of the key, before classmate Sarah Leyman (Cincinnati, OH) hit a pair of free throws to grow the lead to 28-20.

With less than three minutes to play in the half, Leyman followed a missed three-pointer by junior Stacy Brossy (Honolulu, HI) with an offensive board and silky-smooth right hook for the put-back.

Brossy made good on her last miss with a converted triple after another offensive rebound from Amherst, this time by senior tri-captain Stefanie Reiff (Hinsdale, IL). Reiff stole the ensuing inbound play to preserve the Lord Jeffs 36-23 halftime lead. The Jeffs closed the half on a 16-3 run, all of which came after Mt. Holyoke’s Jess Olson picked up her third foul.

At the break, Daigneault led the Lord Jeffs with seven points and four rebounds, while Pollack had half a dozen points on 2-of-2 shooting from downtown. Austin led the Lyons in scoring with nine points.

Five minutes into the second stanza, Pollack stole the ball and pushed the transition game for Amherst, finding Leyman on a fast-break finish to extend the Amherst lead to 21 points.

Amherst sophomore Sam Swensen (Rockaway Park, NY), the reigning NESCAC Rookie of the Year, grabbed a pair of offensive rebounds off misses from her teammates midway through the second half, and eventually put back a short jumper of her own to double-up the Lyons at 52-26.

From that point on, the Lord Jeffs never looked back, pulling away to an 80-40 victory. Leading Amherst was Reiff with 16 points, while Cain led the Lyons with 14 of her own. The result was the third straight win for the Lord Jeffs by at least 40 points and the third loss by at least 35 points for the Lyons.

The Lord Jeffs (3-0, 0-0 NESCAC) will return to action one week from tonight when they face Keene State College at home for a 5:30 p.m. game.