Women's Basketball Defeats Bates, 63-46, for Win No. 20

Sophomore Jaci Daigneault led the Jeffs with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
AMHERST, MA – The 4th-ranked Amherst College women’s basketball team opened up play for a home NESCAC weekend this evening against Bates College. The Lord Jeffs looked strong in a 63-46 win over the Bobcats, as Amherst improved to 20-1 (5-1 NESCAC) on the year.

The Lord Jeffs held just a two-point lead after the first five minutes of play, but went on a 9-2 run over the next five minutes to open up a 16-7 lead on a pair of Shannon Finucane (Cortland, NY) free throws with 10:17 to play. While Bates looked to close the gap, Amherst’s Jaci Daigneault (Guilford, CT) and Lem Atanga McCormick (Chicago, IL) hit the offensive glass to open up a 22-7 lead.

With just under four minutes to play, Amherst rookie Caroline Stedman (Walpole, MA) increased the Jeff advantage to 29-11 on a three from the right wing. Senior co-captain Amanda Otieno (Gloucester, MA) got into the scoring mix with a triple from the right wing, putting the Jeffs up 31-12.

After a nice score from Bates forward Val Beckwith, sophomore Sarah Leyman (Cincinnati, OH) found Daigneault for a score. The bucket was the last of the first half, and sent the Jeffs into the break with a 33-18 lead. Daigneault led both teams with nine points and five rebounds at the half, while Beckwith had seven points for Bates.

Daigneault started the second half with three straight scores, bringing her scoring total to 15 points on 7-for-7 shooting. Kelsey Flaherty scoring her first points of the game on a three for Bates with 15:26 to play in the second half, cutting the Amherst lead down to 41-28.

At the midpoint of the second half, Amherst was out-scoring Bates just 20-17 in the frame, but held an 18-point lead. With 7:44 to play, Otieno found Daigneault with a great bounce-pass in the lane for another score. On the next Amherst possession, Atanga McCormick made a silky jumper from ten feet.

With 5:40 to play, Daigneault went to the bench with Amherst up 57-40, and another double-double to her name at 19 points and 12 rebounds. In the final portion of the game, Amherst was able to maintain a comfortable lead with four first-years and a sophomore on the court at one time.

Sophomore Kristyn Dunleavy (East Setauket, NY) drained a three on her first attempt of the night, putting Amherst up 63-45. Bates would add one final free throw, as Amherst dribbled out a 63-46 victory.

Daigneault never returned to the court, and finished with game highs in both points and rebounds, while grabbing four steals. Her 12 rebounds and four steals were both career highs. Leyman added 12 points and five rebounds for Amherst, while Atanga McCormick chipped in with seven and eight boards. Beckwith finished with 15 points and four rebounds, while Annie Burns had 10 and five.

The Lord Jeffs return to action Saturday for a 3 p.m. matchup with 15th-ranked Tufts University, while Bates will head to Trinity.