Jeffs Travel to Tufts for NCAA Sectional Rounds

PritchardWIL.jpgContact: Ben Badua



AMHERST, Mass - The 11th-ranked Amherst women’s basketball team returns to action this weekend with an NCAA sectional semifinal match-up against Ithaca College on Friday, Mar. 14.

The Jeffs and Bombers are slated to tip-off at 5 p.m. at Tufts University’s Cousens Gymnasium with the host Jumbos set to square off against Castleton State at 7 p.m. Friday’s winners will meet in the NCAA Quarterfinals on Saturday, Mar. 15 with a trip to the Final Four on the line.

TICKET INFORMATION: Ticket prices for this weekend are set at $7 for adults, $4 for senior citizens, students and children.

LIVE COVERAGE: Live stats and a webcast will be available for all three of this weekend’s sectional games courtesy of Tufts Sports Information.

Despite falling in the NESCAC championship game, the Jeffs earned an at-large bid to their seventh NCAA Championship. Carrying a 27-8 all-time tournament record into this weekend, Amherst will hope to punch its ticket to a sixth-straight Final Four.

Despite going the final 9:46 of the second half without a field goal, the Jeffs began their NCAA run with a 63-49 decision over Springfield. Falling three points shy of tying a career-high, Marley Giddins ’16 led Amherst with 20 points thanks to a 6-of-10 showing from the field. Also grabbing 11 rebounds, the sophomore standout finished one board shy of matching a personal best. Ali Doswell ’17 chipped in with 16 points and four rebounds.

Meeting Hartwick in the second round, the Jeffs advanced to the Sweet 16 by way of an 82-61 triumph. Ali Doswell hit 5-of-9 threes to finish with 15 points, while twin sister Meredith Doswell '17 added 14. Giddins posted her team-high seventh double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 boards, while Savannah Holness ’15 had 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Jaimie Renner ’17 was the only other Amherst player to score in double figures with 11.

Playing without perennial All-NESCAC selection Megan Robertson ’15 since mid-January, the Jeffs have relied on a young core for much of the season. Despite the void left by one of the league’s premier low post players, the Purple & White have continued to excel, ranking first in the NESCAC in scoring offense (69.5) and second in three-point percentage (34.4). Equally impressive on the defensive end, Amherst leads the conference in opponent three-point percentage (23.6), while sitting second in points allowed (52.7), rebounding margin (+6.2) and opponent field goal percentage (34.2).

The Jeffs’ second leading scorer (11.6 ppg), Giddins is second in the league in field goal percentage (56.8), while also pulling down 7.6 rebounds per outing. Amherst’s lone all-league pick, Ali Doswell has impressed in her first season, averaging 11.1 points and 6.0 boards per game as the NESCAC Rookie of the Year.

Giving the Purple & White some added punch, Hannah Peterson ’17 has shown the ability to put up points in bunches after netting 30 against Bates and 28 against Wesleyan during the regular season. Starting 26 of her 29 appearances, she enters the weekend averaging 8.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. Renner has averaged 9.0 points and 2.4 assists as the team’s primary point guard, while shooting 43.6 percent from the floor and 40.0 percent from long distance. Meredith Doswell and Holness give the Jeffs some depth up front, combining to average nearly 11 points and 10 boards.

Solidifying Amherst’s backcourt are Cheyenne Pritchard ’16 and Haley Zwecker ’16. One of the team’s regulars, Pritchard averages nearly eight points and three rebounds per outing, while Zwecker leads the squad in assists (2.5), while connecting on 41.5 percent of her triples.

HolnessWIL.jpgSCOUTING TUFTS (28-1)
Capturing its first-ever NESCAC title, Tufts secured the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Posting an 11-5 overall record in six NCAA appearances, the Jumbos have already set a program record for wins, with their lone loss of the season coming against regional rival Babson (58-52).

Leading Tufts to a 66-43 first round win over St. Joseph’s (ME), Hayley Kanner ’15 recorded a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Hitting five of her nine field goal attempts, Kelsey Morehead ’15 put forth a solid all-around effort with 17 points, four rebounds and four assists.

Lifting the Jumbos to a 57-54 overtime victory over the University of New England in round two, Liz Moynihan ’14 picked the opportune time to hit her first field goal, nailing a game-winning three from the top of the key. Kanner put together another stellar game with 16 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks, while Caitlin McClure ’14 had 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting. Morehead chipped in with nine points and six assists.

Ranked at the top of the NESCAC ledger in several categories, Tufts leads the league in points allowed (49.0), while sitting second in opponent three-point percentage (25.8) and third in scoring offense (67.0), field goal percentage (41.4) and opponent field goal percentage (35.2).

A first-team all-conference selection, Morehead has started all 29 of the team’s games, averaging 7.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists, while shooting 42.0 percent from the field. Topping the league in blocks per game (2.7), Kanner leads the Jumbos in scoring (12.5), while also grabbing 5.1 boards per outing.

Joining Kanner on the second team, Hannah Foley ’15 is fifth in the conference in three-point percentage (39.5), while averaging 10.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per contest. Michaela North ’17 has made an immediate impact in her rookie campaign, averaging 9.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, while shooting a NESCAC-best 57.9 percent from the floor.

GiddinsWIL.jpgSCOUTING ITHACA (25-4)
Capturing a third-consecutive Empire 8 title with a 63-51 win over Stevens Institute of Technology, Ithaca earned its 11th berth into the NCAA championship. Extending its win streak to a program-record 17 games, the Bombers improved to 10-10 all-time in tournament play thanks to a pair of opening round triumphs.

Tied at 21-21 heading into the locker room, Ithaca outscored Sage College by 37 in the final 20 minutes en route to a 67-30 first round win. Mary Kate Tierney ’14 paced Ithaca with 12 points and five rebounds, while Elisabeth Wentlent ’14 had 11 points and six boards on 4-of-9 shooting. Kathryn Campbell ’14 chipped in with 10 points and six assists.

Holding Haverford to 24.2 percent shooting and a 29.2 percent clip from behind the arc, the Bombers advanced to the Sweet 16 with a 54-43 victory. Tierney once again led the way for Ithaca with 19 points and 11 rebounds on 7-of-14 shooting. Hitting six of her 12 shots, Jenn Escobido ’14 finished with 16 points and 12 boards.

The conference’s highest-scoring team (68.8 ppg), the Bombers shoot a league-best 43.1 percent from the field. Sitting atop the Empire 8 rankings in scoring (+12.9) and rebounding margin (+9.0), Ithaca is also second in several defensive categories including points allowed (55.9), opponent field goal (35.1) and opponent three-point percentage (28.0).

A first team all-league selection, Tierney is currently second in the conference in assists (3.6) and third in blocks (1.0), rebounds (8.5) and threes made per game (2.3). The senior also leads the Bombers in points, pouring in 13.7 per contest. A pair of second team picks, Escobido and Campbell average 11.1 and 11.0 points per game, respectively, while combining for nearly 10 rebounds.

Winning their fourth NAC title, Castleton upended Colby-Sawyer, 73-49. Nabbing the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA championship, the Spartans earned their third berth into the national tournament.

Notching its first-ever NCAA win, Castleton upset No. 23 Bowdoin (64-62) to open its tournament run. Jade Desroches ’15 was the only Spartan in to score in double figures, tallying a career-high 32 points thanks in part to a 12-of-14 showing from the charity stripe. Alyssa Leonard ’14 chipped in with nine points and seven boards.

Erasing an 18-point halftime deficit, Castleton shocked Plattsburgh St. (76-70) in the second round to advance to this weekend’s sectionals. Desroches paved the way for the Spartan attack with 23 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Liz Douglass ’14 connected on 6-of-10 field goals to finish with 14 points, four boards and four assists, while Meghan O’Sullivan ’15 and Leonard each netted 12 points.

Leading the NAC in several statistical categories, Castleton sits atop the conference pack in scoring offense (69.0 ppg), scoring defense (46.3 ppg), field goal percentage (40.8), opponent field goal percentage (30.0), opponent three-point percentage (23.4) and rebounding margin (+8.6).

A first-team selection and the conference’s tournament MVP, Desroches is fourth in the NAC in scoring (13.4), while also averaging 4.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.2 steals. A fellow first-teamer and the league’s Player of the Year, Leonard is third in the conference in points per game (13.7), while averaging 6.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists.

A second-team pick, O’Sullivan has the second-highest shooting percentage in the NAC (50.7), while also averaging 11.4 points and 3.8 boards. The conference’s Defensive Player of the Year, Douglass is fourth in the NAC in steals (2.0) and assists (3.4) per game, while also chipping in with 6.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per contest.