#1 Jeffs Improve to 12-0 With Rout of Wesleyan

Lem Atanga McCormick scored 16 points with
seven rebounds and three blocks.

AMHERST, MA – The top-ranked Amherst College women’s basketball team opened up Little Three play for the 2010-11 season this evening against archrival Wesleyan University. Amherst used a huge scoring run to close out the first half to blow open a close game early, cruising to an 84-47 win. The Jeffs improve to 12-0 on the year with the victory, while Wesleyan falls to 6-4 overall.

Wesleyan started the game on a 5-0 scoring run with Eileen Gaffney making a three and a mid-range jumper. Amherst responded with a free throw by Sarah Leyman (Cincinnati, OH) and four straight points by Kim Fiorentino (Holmdel, NJ). After a missed free throw, Jaci Daigneault (Guilford, CT) had a put-back to take Amherst’s first lead at 7-5 with 15:41 to play.

On Amherst’s next possession, Caroline Stedman (Walpole, MA) made her first shot after missing three games with an injury. After trading baskets to leave the game tied at 11-11, Daigneault buried a three for Amherst. The Jeffs started a trademark scoring run, getting a jumper from Lem Atanga McCormick (Chicago, IL) and a runner from Stedman to open up an 18-11 lead.

The Lord Jeffs held the Cardinals from scoring a point for nine full minutes until Allie Southam made a three from the left wing. During the stretch, Amherst blew a tied game open for a 20-point lead. The Jeffs carried their run into the half, finishing the stanza on a 29-3 run to lead 40-14 at the break.

Wesleyan out-scored Amherst 16-14 over the first seven minutes of the second half, but Amherst still held a 54-30 lead. Through the middle of the frame, the Lord Jeffs regained control over the pace of the game. A three from Kristyn Dunleavy (E. Setauket, NY) with 8:35 remaining put Amherst back up 63-35.

Atanga McCormick added a strong three-point play in traffic while taking a hard foul at the 5:51 mark. The score and free throw gave the Jeffs a 72-37 lead, with Wesleyan looking for an answer. Atanga McCormick went to the bench with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting with seven rebounds, three blocks and two assists.

Wesleyan put on a full court press in the final minutes, but Amherst solved broke the pressure leading to a three from Dunleavy with 1:58 to play. Courtney Long (Norwich, CT) got into the scoring mix late with a three of her own from the right wing.

As the clock ran out, Amherst closed out the 84-47 win. Joining Atanga McCormick in double figures were Daigneault, Fiorentino, Dunleavy and Stedman. No player hit double digits for Wesleyan with Eileen Gaffney scoring a team-high nine points.

Amherst will return to action on Saturday for the second leg of a doubleheader against Williams at home. The men’s teams tip off at 2 p.m. with the women playing at 4 p.m.