Renner Keys Amherst's 66-45 Win Over ECSU

Contact: Ben Badua

Jackie Renner had 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists in Amherst's win over ECSU.

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Jackie Renner ’12 (Newton, Mass.) matched a game-high with 14 points, adding seven rebounds and five assists in top-ranked Amherst’s 66-45 non-conference road win over Eastern Connecticut State University.

Improving to 7-0 on the season, the Jeffs have won their last four meetings against the Warriors, while ECSU fell to 4-3 on the year.

Up one after a Lauren Kelleher ’13 free-throw at 18:10, Lem Atanga McCormick ’12 (Chicago, Ill.) drained a three on the left wing to extend the Amherst lead to 7-3. After an ECSU turnover, Renner drove the lane for two before a Shannon Finucane ’12 (Cortland, N.Y.) trey from the right side staked the Jeffs to a 12-3 advantage.

Trying to help the home team keep pace, Kelleher drew a foul on the Warriors’ next possession, going 2-for-2 from the line to trim the margin to seven. Renner responded with a three from the top of the circle to give Amherst its first double-digit lead.

Driving the baseline with just under 13 and a half to go in the first, Renner kicked it out to Finucane for another Lord Jeff triple before a Kristina Forsman ’15 jumper from the left elbow ended a 6:40 ECSU field-goal drought.

After two Piper Chapman ’12 free-throws and a Blodgett basket made it 18-11, the Warriors cut the deficit to just four on a Forsman triple. Looking to regain the momentum co-captain Kim Fiorentino (Holmdel, N.J.) beat her defender, dishing it to an open Megan Robertson ’15 (Tewksbury, Mass.) for two before an Atanga McCormick bucket pushed the Jeff lead back up to eight with 9:21 on the clock.

With both squads settling in defensively neither team managed to add to its tally over the next five minutes before a Fiorentino block led to the game’s first fastbreak points, ending the scoreless streak. Bridget Crowley ’13 (Hampden, Mass.) and Renner kept things rolling with consecutive layups making it 28-14 before four-straight Chapman points pulled the Warriors back within 10 at 2:21.

Getting a big defensive stop with under 30 seconds to play in the half, Blodgett drove to her right before pulling up for a jumper just inside the free-throw line, slicing the Lord Jeff lead to 30-22 heading into the intermission.

Continuing to go on the offensive to start the second, Chapman connected on a bucket down low, bringing ECSU within six. After Fiorentino split a pair from the charity stripe, first-year Taylor McBride dove into the lane, laying it in to make it 31-26.

With under 17 to go, a hustling Robertson followed up a Caroline Stedman ’12 (Walpole, Mass.) misfire with a putback for the Jeffs’ first field-goal of the frame. Bringing the ball down with just over 15 and a half left, Fiorentino found Stedman spotted up on the left wing, allowing the senior to dial it in from long distance, upping the Lord Jeff cushion to 36-26.

ECSU responded with six-straight points, paring the deficit to four at 12:43 on a Chapman basket but Stedman answered with a turnaround jumper in the lane, stemming the surging Warriors tide. Looking to extend the Amherst margin, Fiorentino again found Stedman with a cross-court pass for the Jeffs’ seventh three of the night.

After a Forsman layup at 10:35, Renner netted the game’s next five points to help Amherst build a 46-34 edge. Still up 12 with just over four minutes remaining, Stedman went coast-to-coast after a Crowley block before Marcia Voigt (Skillman, N.J.) converted a three-point play the old fashioned way to make it 55-38.

Stedman capped off the Jeffs’ decisive 21-6 run over a 9:21 second half span with a layup at 3:22 putting Amherst up 19 before McBride netted the Warriors first points in just over two minutes, ending a string of seven-straight Amherst scores.

Stedman finished with 14 points on 6-for-11 shooting, while Robertson added 10 points and nine rebounds. Voigt and Atanga McCormick combined for 15 points while Finucane chipped in with six. Fiorentino added a career-high 10 rebounds in the win. As a team, Amherst shot 25-for-60 (41.7 percent) from the field and 7-for-15 (46.7 percent) from three-point range.

Chapman led an ESCU side that shot just 16-for-54 (29.6 percent) from the floor and 1-for-9 (11.1 percent) from behind the arc with 14 points and 10 boards, while Blodgett added 10 points and eight rebounds.

Amherst, which held a 41-34 rebounding edge while forcing 16 Warrior turnovers, returns to action on Tuesday, Dec. 13 at Pioneer Valley rival Springfield College.