#1 Amherst Survives Scare at Emmanuel, 75-62
Jaci Daigneault scored 22 points and had nine
rebounds in the comeback win.
From an Emmanuel College release
BOSTON, MA - The top-ranked Amherst College women's basketball team survived its toughest test of the season this evening, rallying in the second half for a 75-62 win at Emmanuel College. The Lord Jeffs trailed by two points at halftime, but out-scored the Saints 45-30 after the break to remain unbeaten (8-0) on the year.
Amherst opened up the contest with tough pressure defense and held the Saints scoreless until the 16:13 mark of the first half and Emmanuel trailed 6-1 early. The Lord Jeffs known for their defense, forced Emmanuel into low percentage shots, while causing early turnovers. Down early, Saints Head Coach Andy Yosinoff called a timeout inserting Breanna Ockimey, who lit a spark under Emmanuel’s offense, scoring five points in a row. Along with Meghan Kirwan’s sharp shooting, the Saints went on a 10-0 run giving them a 13-9 lead. Kirwin finished the game with 24 points to lead all scorers.
With both teams trading baskets for the next two minutes, Amherst junior Shannon Finucane (Cortland, NY) came off the bench to provide stellar defense for the Lord Jeffs. Finucane forced a turnover leading to a Sarah Leyman (Cincinnati, OH) three-point play. The Amherst bench shined in the stretch run, as Lem Atanga McCormick (Chicago, IL) scored five points in a row, finishing with seven in the game. This left both teams with 19 points apiece as the contest approached the nine-minute mark.
The Lord Jeffs then turn things up a notch, scoring nine points in a row. Emmanuel would go four minutes without making a field goal, until Kristin LeBel knocked in a jumper from the corner. LeBel, who was recently named the GNAC Women’s Basketball Player of the Week, scored five points in a row and netted seven of the next 12 Emmanuel points.
Emmanuel finished the first half strong, going on an 11-0 run, while taking a 32-30 lead into the locker room. Kirwin stepped up her defense forcing two turnovers leading to easy Saints’ hoops. Kirwin was the story of the first half on the offensive end as well, finishing with 14 points, while making seven free throws.
The Lord Jeffs came out of the locker room on fire with Jaci Daigneault (Guilford, CT) scoring six points in a row, as Amherst took a 36-32 edge. She would finish the game with 22 points. After a Saints’ turnover, Marcia Voigt (Skillman, NJ) drained a three pointer from the corner, forcing Yosinoff to use a timeout down 39-32.
The Lord Jeffs turned things around by opening the half on a 17-4 run, forcing Emmanuel into tough shots. Amherst turned it on from the defensive end holding the Saints to three baskets in the first eight minutes of second half play.
With just under 10 minutes remaining and Amherst leading by 11, the Lord Jeffs continued to play intelligent basketball, by feeding the ball into Leyman. The senior co-captain finished the game with 14 points, nine rebounds and two steals. Leyman and the rest of her Amherst teammates were gold from the free throw line shooting 18-22 in the second half.
Off a late fast break, Emmanuel’s Casey Shelvin scored her eighth point of the game to get the lead within eight points. That would be as close as the Saints would get, as the Lord Jeffs were able to close it out with a 75-62 victory.
Kirwan’s 24 points led all scorers and a trio of Emmanuel double-figure scorers. She also dished out 5 assists and grabbed 6 boards in 38 minutes of action. LeBel added 11 points, while Fiona O’Dwyer finished with 10 points and 8 rebounds. Daigneault’s 22 led Amherst. The senior forward also hauled in nine boards. Leyman finished with 14 points and 9 rebounds, while Finucane chipped in with 11 points. The Lord Jeffs finished the night, shooting 23-28 from the line and out-rebounded the Saints, 51-33.
Amherst will conclude a doubleheader at home on Thursday night, playing Eastern Connecticut State University at 7:30 p.m. following the men’s team’s game against Babson at 5:30 p.m.