Amherst Headed to Round of 16 After 76-54 Win Over ECSU

Kim Fiorentino '12 made her first five attempts from behind the arc to lead Amherst in the first half.

AMHERST, MA – Kim Fiorentino '12 (Holmdel, NJ) scored 16 first-half points and Sarah Leyman '11 (Cincinnati, OH) recorded a double-double to lead the Amherst College women’s basketball team to a 76-54 win over Eastern Connecticut State University Saturday evening in the NCAA Division III Tournament’s second round.

Amherst improves to 28-1 and will take on Muhlenberg (23-5) in the Round of 16 on Friday, Mar. 11 at a time and location yet to be determined. The Warriors end their season at 21-9.

Fiorentino led all scorers with a career-high 19 points thanks to a 5-for-6 performance from behind the arc, while Leyman added 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Lord Jeffs. Jessica Moriarty had 18 points and three assists for the Warriors, with Tanisha Carter adding 12 points and 11 boards for her second double-double in as many games.

Amherst played tough defense and made six of its first seven shots to take an early 11-4 lead, but the Warriors would soon cut it to 13-10 on a reverse layup by Brittany Whitely. The Jeffs put together another 11-4 run when Fiorentino took over and knocked down three three-pointers in a span of 5:23, with her fourth of the game giving Amherst a 24-14 edge.

The Jeffs led by double digits until a Moriarty pull-up jumper with just over a minute remaining in the first half brought the score to 33-24. Kristyn Dunleavy '11 (East Setauket, NY) answered for Amherst with a great drive to the basket for a tough lay-in, but the Warriors held for the last shot of the period and made it count when Piper Chapman buried a jumper from the foul line, making it a 35-26 contest at the break.

Fiorentino had 16 points on 6-of-6 shooting in the first half, surpassing her previous career high for an entire game (15). She was a perfect 4-for-4 from beyond the arc, but the rest of the Jeffs were a combined 0-for-6 from long range. Amherst shot 51.7 percent as a team, while Eastern Connecticut shot 47.6 percent and got nine points from Moriarty.

Amherst scored the first seven points of the second half, as Fiorentino ignited another spurt with her fifth three of the contest. Moriarty stopped the bleeding with a tough layup out of a timeout, but the Jeffs pushed their lead to 19 points when Jackie Renner '12 (Newton, MA) was fouled while knocking down a jumper. Renner hit the ensuing free throw to make it a 49-30 game with 13 minutes to play.

The hosts’ lead hovered between 14 and 19 until Lem Atanga McCormick '12 (Chicago, IL) made it a 21-point game (64-43) on a three-point play with five minutes to go. Amherst led by as many as 25 and held on for the 76-54 victory. The Lord Jeffs defeated the Warriors during the regular season by a score of 79-55.

Amherst increased its home winning streak to 47 games and has now won 15 straight overall. Fellow NESCAC schools Bowdoin and Colby were also in action on Saturday, with Colby suffering a 58-53 loss to William Paterson and the Polar Bears defeating Mount Saint Mary, 61-53.