Atanga McCormick Hits 1,000 as Women's Basketball Cruises Past WPI, 109-39
Contact: Ben Badua
Lem Atanga McCormick '12 became the 11th Jeff to score 1,000 points in Amherst's win over WPI.
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Lem Atanga McCormick ’12 (Chicago, Ill.) became just the 11th player in program history to eclipse the 1,000-point plateau as the top-ranked Amherst women’s basketball team cruised to a 109-39 win over Worcester Polytechnic Institute to wrap up play at the D3hoops.com Classic in Las Vegas, Nev.
Atanga McCormick matched a team-high with 17 points as the Jeffs, buoyed by a 35-5 run to close out the first half and a 19-0 run to start the second, improved to 10-0 on the season.
Hoping to get the Jeffs off to a fast start, Atanga McCormick opened up the scoring with a baseline jumper before back-to-back Shannon Finucane ’12 (Cortland, N.Y.) and Caroline Stedman ’12 (Walpole, Mass.) layups staked Amherst to a 6-0 edge.
First-year Dani Davis put the Engineers on the board with a jumper from just inside the foul line before Theresa Logan ’13 converted a three-point play to suddenly pull WPI within one.
Amherst’s Jackie Renner ’12 (Newton, Mass.) quickly responded with a three from the left wing before a Kim Fiorentino ’12 (Holmdel, N.J.) putback after a pair of Baillie McNally ’12 free throws stretched the Lord Jeff lead to 11-7.
Ahead 14-10 with just under 15 to go in the first, Fiorentino buried another Amherst triple before Renner converted a three-point play to give the Jeffs a 20-10 lead. Trailing 20-11, Logan ended a 5:17 field-goal drought for the Engineers, kick-starting a 6-2 WPI spurt that made it 22-17.
Finucane stemmed the tide with a runner in the lane before Fiorentino tracked down an offensive board on the Jeffs’ next possession, kicking it out to Stedman on the left side for Amherst’s third trey of the afternoon. Renner pushed the lead to 12 with a layup before Finucane dove into the lane making it 31-17.
A Fiorentino three-point play coupled with a four-straight Stedman points extended the Jeff run to 16 unanswered before Fiorentino drilled another Amherst three from the left corner, making it 41-19.
Davis finally netted the Engineers’ first points in nearly five minutes with a layup at the 3:14 mark, but Jasmine Hardy ’13 (Meriden, N.H.) quickly responded with a triple on the other end, sparking a 16-3 run to close out the half that gave Amherst a decisive 57-22 lead heading into the intermission.
The Lord Jeffs shot a blistering 63.9 percent from the floor (23-for-36) in the first 20 minutes, including a 7-for-12 clip from long distance en route to their highest first half scoring output of the year. Seven Amherst players got on the board during the frame, as the Jeffs outscored the Engineers 35-5 over the half’s final 8:30.
Renner kept things rolling coming out of the break, converting a three-point play the old-fashioned way as Amherst opened the second with a 19-0 run to go up 76-22. Davis netted the Engineers’ first points of the stanza with a baseline jumper at the 13:47 mark but the Jeffs netted five of the game’s next six points to build a 81-25 cushion.
On top 102-36 with 2:51 remaining in regulation, Atanga McCormick buried a three from the top of the key to hit the 1,000-point plateau.
Atanga McCormick, Hardy and Stedman each finished with 17 points, while Fiorentino added 13 points, five rebounds and six assists on 5-for-7 shooting. Finucane finished with 12 points and six assists, while Renner added 11 points, going 4-for-5 from the field.
Logan paced WPI with nine points and seven rebounds, while Davis finished with six points and four boards.
Amherst finished 41-for-72 (56.9 percent) from the floor and 13-for-28 (46.4 percent) from long distance while holding WPI to just 23.4 percent (11-for-47) shooting. The Lord Jeffs, who return to action on Friday, Jan. 6 against Little Three rival Wesleyan, held a 44-31 rebounding edge, while forcing 28 Engineer turnovers.