Swensen's Career High Leads Jeffs to 78-54 Win at Clark

Sam Swensen
Sophomore Samantha Swensen led Amherst with a career-high 25 points.

By Alex Kantor

WORCESTER, MA – The Amherst College women’s basketball team traveled east to face Clark University this evening at Kneller Athletic Center in non-conference action. The Lord Jeffs put their undefeated record on the line while the Cougars looked to snap a two-game losing skid and claw back to .500. Amherst pulled off the road win, 78-54, to move to 7-0, the team’s best start since the 2002-03 season.

In the first few minutes of action, Amherst fell behind by a single score when Clark’s Katelyn Petty grabbed a pair of offensive rebounds and put-backs for the Cougars. The Lord Jeffs responded by bringing first-year Sarah Leyman (Cincinnati, OH) off the bench to slow the inside pressure from Clark.

Amherst was able to hang close and weather the early storm from the Cougars despite some sloppy play. The Lord Jeffs exploded for a 10-0 run at the midway point of the first half with strong play from junior substitute Stacy Brossy (Honolulu, HI) and sophomore center Sam Swensen (Rockaway Park, NY).

Despite the Lord Jeffs stretching to a 23-14 edge with 6:43 remaining, the game continued to be hotly contested, with the Cougars looking as though they could pour in a scoring streak of their own any second.

Amherst extended its lead to 31-18 on a three pointer from senior tri-captain Anne-Claire Roesch (Wesport, CT) with just more than four minutes remaining until halftime. The two teams combined for just three buckets in the final four minutes, as the Lord Jeffs left the floor with a 33-23 advantage.

Amherst senior tri-captain Stefanie Reiff (Hinsdale, IL) led all players with 10 first-half points on 4-of-6 shooting, while Clark spread its scoring among nine different players.

Clark’s Sarah Roderigue cut the Amherst lead to six points with just less than 17 minutes to play in the second half on a pair of made free throws. The Jeffs responded with back-to-back scores down low from Swensen on the right block.

Amherst junior Kerry O’Loughlin (Stow, MA) pushed the lead back to double-digits on a slashing drive from the right wing before classmate Yasmine Harik (New York, NY) replicated the play from the left side.

With 11 minutes to play, Harik and Leyman were whistled for back-to-back fouls to give each player her fourth. The Jeffs would need both front court players to stay in the game to guard against the tall Cougar post players in order to pull out a win.

Amherst head coach G.P. Gromacki went to a smaller lineup with his forwards in foul trouble, and junior guard Amanda Otieno (Gloucester, MA) sank a pair of shots to give the Jeffs a 52-40 lead with 9:25 remaining in the second half.

Amherst pushed its lead to as high as 16 points late in the second half, but would allow the Cougars to creep back into the game at times due to foul trouble and to giving away the double bonus early on.

In the final minutes of play, Clark moved into a full-court press but was unable to close the gap. The Jeffs finished out the 78-54 win to improve to 7-0 on the season, while the Cougars sit at 3-3 after a three-game losing streak.

Swensen finished the night with a career-high 25 points to go with a pair of rebounds. Roderigue led the Cougars with 19 points and nine rebounds, just missing a double-double.

Amherst returns to action on Saturday afternoon when the Jeffs host Skidmore College at 2 p.m.