Jeffs Fall Short Against Williams, 57-53
Contact: Ben Badua
HOLLAND, Mich. - Marcia Voigt ’13 poured in a career-high 26 points, but the Amherst women’s basketball team saw its 2012-13 season come to a close with a 57-53 loss to archrival Williams in the NCAA Division III consolation game at DeVos Fieldhouse in Holland, Mich.
Playing all 40 minutes, Voigt hit 12-of-13 free throws, adding eight rebounds en route to All-Tournament honors. Savannah Holness ’15 chipped in with nine points and four boards, while Megan Robertson ’15 and Bridget Crowley ’13 combined for 10 points and 15 rebounds. Jasmine Hardy ’13 finished with seven points, six boards and four steals.
Trailing 53-46 with under a minute to go, Amherst got as close as two with 11 seconds left, but the Ephs did just enough down the stretch, as Katie Litman ’16 drew a charge in the waning moments of regulation to thwart the surging Jeffs’ comeback bid.
Danny Rainer ’13 had 13 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Williams attack, while Jennie Harding ’13 had 12 points on 3-for-6 shooting. Claire Baecher ’13 and Grace Rehnquist ’13 had eight and seven, respectively.
Opening up a four-point lead over the first three minutes, Voigt put Amherst up 6-2 with a jumper at 17:12. With the Jeffs struggling offensively over the next six-plus minutes, Voigt lobbed an entry pass to Crowley, who spun away from a defender for two.
With a pretty up and under move, Holness made it 14-8, but Rehnquist answered with a jumper before netting a corner three to cut the Eph deficit to 14-13. Rainer capped off the 9-2 run with a pair of free throws at 5:22, giving Williams its first lead of the afternoon.
Still down one at 17-16, Voigt jumpstarted an 8-4 Amherst stretch to close out the half. Knocking down a pair from the charity stripe at 4:23, Voigt later hit a short pull-up jumper to give the Purple & White a 21-17 cushion. Robertson upped the margin to 24-19 with a three-point play with just over a minute remaining, before Harding closed out the scoring in the first with a pair of free throws inside of 10 seconds.
Scoring seven of the first nine points coming out of the break, Williams took a 28-26 edge on a Harding triple at 16:49. Cleaning up her own miss, Rainer got fouled on a putback as the Ephs extended the margin to five with a three-point play. Still down 33-28 inside of the 13-minute mark, Hardy finally recorded the Jeffs’ first field goal of the second half to once again pull Amherst within three.
With the shot clock winding down at 9:26, Hardy banked-in a runner to cut the Eph lead to 36-34. Down four with under seven to play, Holness plucked a Robertson misfire out of the air before laying it in just as the shot clock expired. Getting a stop on the defensive end, Amherst tied it the next time down the floor as Voigt connected on a turnaround to make it 38-38.
Williams responded with a 5-0 spurt, using a pair of Rainer free throws and a Harding three-point play to build a 43-38 cushion. Trailing by six with less than five minutes to go, Cheyenne Pritchard ’16 came up with a big steal before finding Holness on a 2-on-1 to pull Amherst within four. Holding onto a three-point lead approaching the two minute mark, Litman knocked down a big jumper before a pair of Harding free throws had the Ephs up 49-42 with 1:33 on the clock.
With both teams trading free throws over the next minute, Amherst needed a to make a play down 53-48 with under 30 seconds left. Getting the ball in the right corner, Hardy drew a foul behind the arc before calmly hitting all three free throws to suddenly pull the Jeffs within two. After Baecher went 2-for-2 from the charity stripe on Williams’ next possession, Voigt took it into the teeth of the Eph defense, connecting on a nifty reverse layup that cut it to 55-53.
Forcing a turnover on the inbounds pass, the Jeffs got the ball back with under 10 seconds left and a chance to tie. Looking to make something happen, Voigt drove left, but Litman met the point guard in the paint, drawing the charge to give the ball back to Williams. Forced to foul, Amherst sent Ellen Cook ’15 to the line, but the guard knocked down both tries to seal the win.
Dropping to 0-6 all-time in Final Four games played at Hope College, Amherst finished its season with a stellar 30-3 overall record despite losing a senior class that posted what was an NCAA Division III record 124 wins from 2008-12. Carrying the torch, Voigt, Bridget Crowley ’13 and Jasmine Hardy ’13 helped guide the Jeffs to a fifth consecutive national semifinal appearance, while setting a new DIII mark for wins over a four-year span (125).
With five of their seven career losses coming during Final Four play, Amherst’s Class of 2013 captured four NESCAC titles, going 37-1 against conference opponents, while also posting an unblemished 77-0 mark at LeFrak Gymnasium. Seeing action in every game since arriving in 2009, Voigt tied former teammate Shannon Finucane ’12 for the Division III career games played record with her 131st appearance on Saturday afternoon. She finishes her career ninth on Amherst’s scoring list (1,111) and sixth in assists (314).
Enjoying a stellar senior season, Crowley posted career averages in nearly every category, including points (9.8), rebounds (8.7) and field goal percentage (.452). Scoring more this season than she did in her previous three years combined, the forward wraps up her career in Purple & White with 635 points and 393 rebounds. One of the Jeffs’ best three-point shooters, Hardy concludes her stellar career with 131 triples, shooting 39.7 (131-for-330) from behind the arc.