Jeffs Stifle Middlebury, 65-45
Contact: Ben Badua
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - Three Jeffs scored in double figures as the sixth-ranked Amherst women’s basketball team rebounded from its first loss of the season with a decisive 65-45 victory at NESCAC rival Middlebury.
Holding the Panthers scoreless for the first 7:41 and without a field goal over the first 11:15, Amherst got off to a fast start before using a 17-2 run over a span of 5:41 in the second half to blow the game open.
Finishing with a 9-1 NESCAC ledger, Amherst (23-1) closed out its regular season tied with Tufts and Williams for the league’s best mark. With all three squads posting the same records against the top four teams, top eight teams and teams in rank order, a random action was used by the conference office to determine that Tufts earned the top seed, Amherst the second seed, and Williams the third.
Megan Robertson ’15 led all scorers with 18 points and nine rebounds on 8-for-16 shooting, while Bridget Crowley ’13 had 12 points and seven boards. Jasmine Hardy ’13 put together a strong showing with 11 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, while Marcia Voigt ’13 handed out five assists to go along with nine points.
Scarlett Kirk ’14 paced Middlebury with 14 points, hitting six of her eight field goal attempts. Laura Lowry ’14 and Rachel Crews ’15 each added 10 points, while combining for six boards.
Racing out to an early lead, Amherst went up 8-0 on a Robertson turnaround jumper in the paint. Middlebury finally got on the board 7:41 after the opening whistle with a pair of Tracy Borsinger ’13 free throws, but Cheyenne Pritchard ’16 took advantage of a Robertson offensive rebound, knocking down a triple from the left wing to make it 11-2.
Jumping into the passing lane, Voigt coasted in for two halfway through the period before Hardy knocked down a pair from the charity stripe to stretch the lead to 13. Crews recorded the Panthers first field-goal with a three-pointer at the eight minute mark, kick-starting a 9-4 spurt that trimmed the Middlebury deficit to 19-11.
Down seven with under five minutes to play in the first, Katie Pett ’14 tracked down a Crews miss on the left side before finding a cutting Kirk to pull the Panthers within five. Pritchard countered with four-consecutive points, but a Lowry straight-away three pared the Amherst lead to 27-21 at the intermission.
Trailing by eight after a Robertson layup on the Jeffs’ first possession of the second half, the Panthers rattled off an 8-3 run, slicing the Amherst cushion to three with a Borsinger triple. Holding onto a three-point edge, Crowley scored four of the game’s next six points to put the Jeffs up 46-37 with a layup at 9:10.
Still ahead by nine with under seven to go, Hardy converted a three-point play the old-fashioned way as Amherst scored nine unanswered to build a 57-39 lead. Battling back, Middlebury got as close as 14 with 2:53 left in regulation, but the Jeffs closed out the game on an 8-2 run.
Holding a 44-30 rebounding edge, the Jeffs dominated play in the paint, outscoring the Panthers 27-7 in second chance points and 42-22 in the paint.
Amherst opens NESCAC Championship play with a quarterfinal matchup with Trinity on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 4 p.m.
2013 NESCAC Women’s Basketball Championship
Quarterfinals – Saturday, February 16 (at Higher Seeds)
No. 8 Bowdoin at No. 1 Tufts – 4:00 p.m.
No. 7 Trinity at No. 2 Amherst – 4:00 p.m.
No. 6 Wesleyan at No. 3 Williams – 4:00 p.m.
No. 5 Bates at No. 4 Middlebury – 4:00 p.m.
Semifinals – Saturday, February 23 (at Highest Remaining Seed)
2:00 p.m. | 4:00 p.m.
Highest Remaining Seed vs. Lowest Remaining Seed
Remaining Quarterfinal Winners
Championship – Sunday, February 24