Amherst Holds on for 81-58 Win Over Lehman College for Invite Crown

Head coach GP Gromacki led Amherst to its
second straight title this afternoon.
AMHERST, MA – The 21st-ranked Amherst College women’s basketball team won its second annual Invitational Tournament this afternoon with an 81-58 win over the Lightning of Lehman College. The Lord Jeffs improve to 4-0, while Lehman drops to 3-1.

Lehman’s Sally Nnamani scored on a slashing drive to cut into Amherst’s early 4-0 lead. The Lord Jeffs responded with a 6-0 spurt capped by a lay-up from senior co-captain Yasmine Harik (New York, NY).

With 13:14 to play, Amherst broke the Lightning’s tough backcourt pressure before sophomore Courtney Long (Norwich, CT) found Harik for another lay-up to put the Jeffs ahead 14-7. Just after the midpoint of the half, sophomore Sarah Leyman (Cincinnati, OH) finished a put-back on the offensive glass to double-up Lehman 18-9.

First-year Kim Fiorentino (Holmdel, NJ) got a shooter’s roll on a three from the left wing to increase the Amherst lead to 24-9, before Monique Sampson answered down low for Lehman. Amherst hit another three on the following possession, this time from senior guard Stacy Brossy (Lukachukai, AZ) to force Amherst into a timeout.

After a three-point play from Nnamani, Brossy knocked down another three from the wing. Nnamani and Amherst first-year Lem Atanga McCormick (Chicago, IL) traded scores, before Fiorentino made Amherst’s fifth triple of the half.

With just under three minutes to play, Amherst broke the Lehman press once again, with Atanga McCormick scoring the easy lay-up in the end. With 17 seconds to play, first-year Shannon Finucane (Cortland, NY) made a tough runner as the shot clock wound down. Nnamani added a basket as time expired in the first half to send the Jeffs to the locker room with a 45-27 lead.

At the half, Nnamani led both teams with 14 points, while Fiorentino and Atanga McCormick each had eight points for Amherst. Eight players scored for Amherst in the first half, with seven scoring four or more points.

The Lord Jeffs were unable to increase their lead over the first third of the second half, and with 11:48 to play, a Whitney Barnes free throw left the Lightning trailing 58-41. A put-back score from Leyman for Amherst put the Jeffs up 62-41, before Barnes answered down low for the Lightning.

With 6:38 to play, Amherst was forced to use a timeout in the back court, up 66-43. After Nnamani found Monique Sampson in the paint with a nice pass for a Lehman score, Fiorentino rained home her third triple of the game.

The Lightning were unable to close in on the Jeffs down the stretch, as Amherst held on for an 81-58 result. Nnamani led all players with 24 points and was named to the All Tournament Team with teammate Tonisha Kirby. Amherst was paced offensively by 15 points from Fiorentino, and 14 points by Atanga McCormick. Each rookie was named to the All Tournament Team, with Atanga McCormick taking home M.V.P. honors.