Ephs Deal Jeffs First Setback, Snap NESCAC Streak
Contact: Ben Badua
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – Marica Voigt ’13 tallied 19 points and a career-high nine rebounds but it wasn’t enough as Williams College pieced together a 14-0 run over a span of 5:36 in the first half, opening up a 36-12 lead and never looking back en route to a 71-51 upset over the third-ranked Amherst College women’s basketball team on Sunday at Chandler Gymnasium.
Claire Baecher ’13 led all scorers with 30 points and eight rebounds, while Danny Rainer ’13 finished with 18 points and seven boards on 7-for-8 shooting. Jennie Harding ’13 was the only other Eph in double figures with 12 points and four rebounds. In addition to Voigt’s strong effort, Bridget Crowley ’13 had 11 points and six rebounds for Amherst and Megan Robertson ’15 added eight points and nine boards.
Dealing the Jeffs (22-1, 8-1 NESCAC) their first loss of the season, the Ephs (18-4, 8-1 NESCAC) snapped a 10-game losing skid to Amherst while also putting the brakes on their rivals’ NESCAC record 41-game conference win streak. Williams’ last win over the Jeffs came by way of a 64-59 triumph in Chandler during the 2007-08 season while Amherst’s last league loss came on Jan. 30, 2009 against Bowdoin (63-61). The setback was the first conference defeat in the careers of Amherst's three seniors and leaves the Jeffs in a three-way tie atop the NESCAC standings with Williams and Tufts heading into each team's final game of the regular season. For information on NESCAC tiebreaker scenarios, click here.
Jumping out to an early lead, Williams scored 10 of the game’s first 14 points, building a six-point cushion on a Baecher layup. Up 16-9, Baecher struck again, burying a three-pointer from the top of the key before a Grace Rehnquist ’13 triple pushed the Williams margin to 13.
Answering with a trey of her own, Voigt momentarily stemmed the Eph tide, but the home team responded with 14 unanswered over a span of 5:36 to open up a 24-point margin. Baecher got the run started with a pair of free throws just under the eight minute mark before a Harding trey coupled with a Rainer three-point play upped the cushion to 18. Baecher connected down low to make it 32-12 before four free throws capped off the dominant Williams stretch.
Crowley ended a seven minute Jeff field-goal drought with a bucket at 1:17 before a pair of Voigt free throws just before the half cut the deficit to 39-19. Up 18 almost two minutes into the second, Rainer netted four-consecutive points before Kellie Macdonald ’15 split a pair from the charity stripe to extend the lead to 46-23.
Converting a three-point play at 15:28, Baecher capped off an 8-0 Williams run before Robertson ended a 3:21 Amherst field-goal drought with a jumper. Trailing 51-26, Voigt and Crowley connected on consecutive baskets from nearly the same spot along the right baseline, kick-starting a 7-2 stretch that pulled the Jeffs within 20. A pair of Crowley free throws later made it 60-41, but that was as close as the Jeffs would get.
Entering the game as the NESCAC’s highest scoring team, Amherst shot just 27.1 percent (16-for-59) percent from the floor and 21.4 percent (3-for-14) from three-point range. Connecting on 21-for-46 from the floor, Williams hit 45.7 percent of its field-goal attempts, the second highest rate the Jeffs have allowed this season.
Amherst will look to bounce back on Wednesday, Feb. 13, when it travels to Middlebury for its regular season finale.