Stedman's 26 Points Lead Amherst Past Bates, 74-62

Caroline Stedman '12 matched her career high in points (26) to lead Amherst past Bates.

AMHERST, MA – Caroline Stedman ’12 (Walpole, MA) matched her career high of 26 points to lead the second-ranked Amherst College women’s basketball team to a 74-62 win over Bates College Saturday afternoon at LeFrak Gymnasium.

The Lord Jeffs (21-1, 7-0 NESCAC) out-scored the Bobcats (17-6, 5-3) by six points in each half to increase their overall winning streak to eight games and their home win streak to 42. Bates leads the all-time series, 11-8, but Amherst has won each of the past five meetings.

With Colby handing Williams an 85-71 loss today, the Lord Jeffs now hold a comfortable lead in the conference standings. Amherst needs only one win next weekend to wrap up the top seed in the NESCAC Championship.

Bates committed nine turnovers and was 0-for-5 from the floor in the opening seven minutes, as the visitors did not get on the scoreboard until Lauren Dobish drove and hit a layup with 12:49 remaining in the first half. The Jeffs built an early 14-2 lead, but the remainder of the half would be evenly matched.

Amherst started to pull away with six minutes to play, but Bates scored the final seven points of the first half to make it a 33-27 game at intermission. Closing out the period was a three-pointer from Allie Beaulieu and a last-second put-back by Christine McCall. Annie Burns had seven points and Stedman had nine to lead their respective teams at the break, with the Bobcats holding a narrow 21-18 edge in rebounds.

The Lord Jeffs began the second half just as dominantly as they had begun the first, opening on an 8-0 run to bump their lead to 41-27. Amherst’s lead stayed between 11 and 16 until Beaulieu connected on a three-pointer to make it a 57-47 game with 7:30 to go. With the Bobcats hanging around, Stedman drilled a three to bump the hosts’ lead to 15 points (64-49) at the five-minute mark, and the Jeffs controlled from there.

Stedman’s game-high 26 points came on 8-of-14 shooting and an 8-for-9 performance from the free throw line, while Jaci Daigneault ’11 (Guilford, CT) added 17 points, nine boards, two blocks and three steals. Beaulieu and Jessie Igoe each had 15 points for Bates but combined to shoot just 8-of-32 from the floor. The Lord Jeffs struggled from long range, hitting only four of their 20 three-point attempts.  

Saturday marked the final regular-season home game for Daigneault, Sarah Leyman ’11 (Cincinnati, OH), Kristyn Dunleavy ’11 (East Setauket, NY) and Courtney Long ’11 (Norwich, CT). The Amherst Class of 2011 has won 109 games and lost only nine, posting a 31-3 record in conference play and an unprecedented 67-1 mark in LeFrak Gymnasium.

Amherst will return to action Friday, Feb. 11, when they travel to take on Middlebury College. The Bobcats will close out their regular season on Saturday, Feb. 12, when they travel to take on Tufts.