Atanga McCormick Leads Jeffs Past Tufts, 48-31

Contact: Ben Badua

With four blocks against Tufts, Atanga McCormick became the Jeffs all-time blocks leader (161).

MEDFORD, Mass. - Senior Lem Atanga McCormick (Chicago, Ill.) poured in a game-high 13 points while becoming the program’s all-time blocks leader as the Amherst women’s basketball team improved to 22-0 (8-0 NESCAC) with a decisive 48-31 win over Tufts University.

The Lord Jeffs clinched the top seed in the NESCAC championship for the third consecutive year, also extending their overall win streak to 41 games and their conference unbeaten streak to 31.

Amherst broke a 2-2 tie by going on a 20-0 run, during which Atanga McCormick netted five straight points and Caroline Stedman '12 (Walpole, Mass.) knocked down a pair of threes to put the visitors on top, 22-2.

Tufts senior forward Kate Barnosky scored the Jumbos’ first points since the squad’s opening possession with a free throw at 10:03 before Tiffany Kornegay ’12 ended the home team’s 9:58 field goal drought with layup that trimmed the Jeffs' lead to 17.

Amherst responded by scoring six of the game’s next seven points, going up 28-6 on a Kim Fiorentino '12 (Holmdel, N.J.) basket. Looking to keep pace, sophomore Liz Moynihan kick-started a 9-2 Tufts rally to close out the half, netting six points during the stretch to help the Jumbos cut the deficit to 30-15 at the intermission.

Bre Dufault ’12 opened up the second half with a layup at 17:38, pulling Tufts within 13. With neither team able to gain any traction offensively, Jackie Renner ’12 (Newton, Mass.) converted a couple of free throws at 14:56 for the Jeffs’ first points of the frame before first-year Megan Robertson (Tewksbury, Mass.) recorded Amherst’s first field goal nearly nine minutes into the second.

Robertson again connected down low on the visitors' next possession with a put-back before a Marcia Voigt ’13 (Skillman, N.J.) jumper suddenly pushed the lead back up to 21.

Tufts answered the 8-0 Amherst spurt with back-to-back Collier Clegg ’13 and Caitlin McClure ’14 layups before a Barnosky three cut the margin to 40-24. The Jumbos got within 14 on a Barnosky layup with 4:32 remaining, but the Lord Jeffs responded with six unanswered, pushing the cushion back up to 20 on consecutive Renner layups with just over two minutes to play.

With four blocks to go along with her game-high 13 points, Atanga McCormick moved into first place all-time on the Jeffs’ career blocks chart with 161.

Stedman and Renner each finished with eight points and combined for 13 rebounds, while Fiorentino pulled down a career-high 15 boards. Robertson and Voigt each added six for the Jeffs in the win, with Voigt matching a career-best eight boards.

Barnosky led Tufts with a team-high seven points and five rebounds, while Kornegay added six points and 16 boards.

With another strong defensive effort, Amherst held the Jumbos to 17.9 percent (10-for-56) shooting, including a 1-for-11 clip from three-point range.

The Lord Jeffs, who once again won the battle on the boards with a 54-39 rebounding edge, return to action on Friday, Feb. 10 to host Williams College.