#1 Amherst Cruises to 85-63 Win Over #4 Williams

Jaci Daigneault finished with 20 points and
nine rebounds in another win over Williams.

AMHERST, MA – In a showdown between two of the top teams in Division III, the top-ranked Amherst College women’s basketball team sent a statement to the rest of the country with an 85-63 win over No. 4 Williams College. The Lord Jeffs remain undefeated at 13-0 on the year, while dropping Williams to 12-1.

Amherst got 20 points and nine rebounds from senior co-captain Jaci Daigneault (Guilford, CT), while classmate and fellow captain Sarah Leyman (Cincinnati, OH) added 12 points, four rebounds and three assists. Kim Fiorentino (Holmdel, NJ) tied a career high with 15 points and eight rebounds. Claire Baecher led the Ephs with 19 points, while Jennie Harding and Danny Rainer scored 10 points apiece.

Amherst jumped all over Williams, taking a 9-0 lead on four points by Leyman and five points by Shannon Finucane (Cortland, NY). The Ephs finally got on the board on a Taylor Shea jumper, but the Jeffs stretched their lead out to 22-7 by the 11:17 mark on a triple by Marcia Voigt (Skillman, NJ).

Things only got worse for the Ephs when Amherst brought All-American Caroline Stedman (Walpole, MA) off the bench. Today’s game is just Stedman’s second game back after missing time with an injury, and she provided a spark for the offense as she stretched Amherst’s lead to 18 points with 6:59 to play with a triple from the corner.

In the second part of the first half, Williams was unable to cut Amherst’s lead below 13 points. Once again the Ephs closed to 13 points at 42-29, but junior Jackie Renner (Newton, MA) scored a beautiful left-handed bucket on a drive. She was fouled in the act of scoring, but could not complete the three point play.

Amherst closed the half on a 7-2 run capped by a three by senior Kristyn Dunleavy (E. Setauket, NY) with nine seconds remaining. The final minute flurry sent the Lord Jeffs into the break up 49-31. Daigneault led all players with 10 points and six rebounds in the first half.

In less than five minutes of second half action, Amherst pushed its lead to 21 points at 60-39 on a pair of Fiorentino free throws with 15:18 to play. Williams was able to close the gap to 14 points as Grace Rehnquist made a trio of free throws with 10:32 to play.

Amherst’s lead quickly swelled back to 75-53 with 7:00 to play as Fiorentino hit back-to-back threes and Daigneault broke free for a lay-up. The Lord Jeffs never looked back, stretching their lead as large as 24 points with 3:13 to play.

The game was never in question down the stretch as Amherst led start to finish for the 85-63 win. In the end, Amherst held a 38-31 advantage in rebounding, and forced 17 turnovers in the win. The Jeffs also had eight blocks and 12 steals, holding Williams to just 37.3% shooting from the floor and only 14.3% from behind the arc.