Amherst Tops Springfield 69-49 For 35th Straight Home Win

Sarah Leyman had 10 points and 10 rebounds
in the win over Springfield.

AMHERST, MA – The top-ranked Amherst College women’s basketball team stretched its program-record home win streak to 35 games this evening with a 69-49 win over Springfield College in non-conference action. The Lord Jeffs head into the winter break with a perfect 11-0 record, while Springfield falls to 3-6 on the year.

Amherst was led offensively by 13 points from senior Kristyn Dunleavy (E. Setauket, NY), 12 points from senior Jaci Daigneault (Guilford, CT) and 10 points and 10 rebounds by senior Sarah Leyman (Cincinnati, OH). Amherst cruised to the win despite having no answer for Springfield’s Kelly Murphy. The Pride junior poured in a career-high 25 points on 9-of-16 shooting to lead all scorers. Murphy was 6-for-10 from behind the arc in the loss.

Amherst got off to its slowest start of the season, scoring just one basket in the first four and a half minutes. Dunleavy and junior Lem Atanga McCormick (Chicago, IL) came off the bench to provide a spark, though, hitting back-to-back three pointers for the Jeffs. After a score by Muphy, Kim Fiorentino (Holmdel, NJ) hit a straight-away triple to open up an 11-5 lead for Amherst.

Amherst’s lead sat at 14-7 with 9:35 to play as head coach G.P. Gromacki called for a timeout to get his offense going. The Jeffs responded to the stoppage, going on an 8-1 run to stretch the lead to double-digits. Murphy answered right back for the Pride, nailing a deep three from the right wing.  

The Lord Jeff lead grew as large as 13 points with 2:42 remaining, but a triple at the buzzer from Murphy closed the gap to 32-22 heading into the break. At the half, Murphy led all players with 11 points for the Pride, while Daigneault, Fiorentino and Dunleavy each scored seven points for Amherst.

Daigneault made a three and knocked down a pair of free throws to start the second half on her own 5-0 run. Springfield was unable to slow the Amherst offense until Murphy made her third three of the game with 11:49 to play. Dunleavy responded on the next Amherst possession, making a long triple of her own. The exchange left Amherst up 49-29.

With seven and a half minutes remaining, Amherst’s lead grew to 57-35 on a baseline jumper by Fiorentino. Four straight points from Leyman brought the lead to 26 points. The co-captain went to the bench with four minutes to play, recording another double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, including five on the offensive end.

Amherst will take two weeks off before heading to the inaugural Classic in Las Vegas before New Year’s Eve. The Jeffs will take on Saint Norbert and Kenyon College on the 28th and 29th before returning home to open Little Three play against Wesleyan on January 5, 2011.