Women’s Basketball Suffers First Two Losses
Issue   |   Wed, 01/29/2014 - 00:27

Over the month of December, the Amherst women’s basketball team posted five out-of-conference wins, each game by a margin of victory of at least 10 points. The Jeffs took on Eastern Connecticut State, Albertus Magnus, Bridgewater State, Vassar and Marywood. Megan Robertson ’15 continued to have stellar performances during each game, contributing heavily to points and rebounds for the Jeffs. Other notable performances over the course of December included Marley Giddins ’16, Cheyenne Pritchard ’16 and rookie twins, Meredith Doswell ’17 and Ali Doswell ’17.

In their first game of 2014, Amherst competed again Rhode Island College, adding another W to their record. Robertson and first-year Jaimie Renner each scored 25 points in the 74-63 victory. Although it was a tight game, 10 points from Pritchard secured the win.

Three days later, the Jeffs hosted their first NESCAC game of the season, facing Hamilton in LeFrak. Amherst pummeled the Continentals, winning that game 60-35. With steady results from Robertson, Meredith and Ali Doswell, Pritchard and much support from the bench, Hamilton had no answers. The Jeffs outscored the Continentals 14-6 in the paint and 13-7 in second chance points.

Despite suffering their first NESCAC loss to Tufts, Amherst has posted significant NESCAC wins over the course of January, beating both Bates and Trinity. They also cruised by Farmingdale State on Jan. 13 with a 27-point victory.

Not surprisingly, the most important games of the season thus far have been against Williams. The Jeffs hosted the Ephs on Jan. 11 in LeFrak and walked away with a 78-62 win over their main rival. Robertson and A. Doswell both scored an impressive 17 points, with Giddins adding 13 points. Pritchard led the way, however, with 19 points, 17 of which came in the second half.

“The Williams game is always a great experience as a result of the rivalry between the two teams,” captain Robertson said. “I think that, as a team, we [got off] to a slow start but were eventually able to capitalize on our strengths and build a lead. The game was pretty close for a while, so it provided some good experience for a lot of our newer players.”

Ellen Cook of Williams scored a game high 24 points for the Ephs, joined in double-digits by Kellie Macdonald and Oge Uwanaka. Williams’ 72.6% from the free throw line hurt them against Amherst’s impressive 88.8% shooting from the charity stripe.

On Jan. 22, Amherst traveled to Williamstown to compete against the Ephs once again, but this time they came up two points short. With Megan Robertson out with a knee injury sustained two weeks earlier, the Jeffs struggled to find their rhythm. Scoring all 14 of her points in the second half, Giddins also added eight rebounds. Hannah Peterson ’17 also had 14 points and eight boards, while Pritchard finished with nine points. Savannah Holness ’15 and A. Doswell added eight points each, while also combining for 13 rebounds. Trailing 7-5 after an Uwanaka jumper, Renner hit a long distance shot, triggering an 8-2 Amherst run that was capped off by a Pritchard triple.

“Because of Megan’s injury, we have had to adjust our play to better match our strengths and weaknesses, but we are getting better everyday,” said co-captain Pritchard.

Still ahead by one midway through the period, Doswell drained a pair from the line before a Peterson layup gave Amherst a 20-15 edge at 7:39.

Tied at 35-35 with 14:36 to go in the second half, Peterson drilled her second three of the night to put the purple & white up by three points. Cook answered with a layup before an Uwanaka jumper put Williams back in the lead. After Peterson drove the lane for two more to help Amherst regain momentum, the Ephs ripped off an 8-1 run, going up 47-41 after a Macdonald free throw.

Holding the ball with under 10 seconds remaining, Giddins pulled up for a jumper, looking to add to her team-high 14 points, but Uwanaka blocked the shot, which wound up in the hands of Cook. With a breakaway up the floor, the junior was fouled, sending her to the line for what ended up being game-winning free throws.

Although Amherst outscored Williams 20-2 in second chance points, as well as the Jeffs’ bench holding a 17-2 scoring advantage over their Eph counterparts, Williams held a 32-26 lead in points in the paint, guiding them to victory.

“It is always tough to lose a close game, especially to a rival like Williams,” said the injured Robertson. “I think that we had trouble finding our groove during that game. I think that losing a close game in such a manner has definitely left an impression on the team and is going to provide a lot of motivation for the remainder of the season. If we play them in NESCACs, we will definitely be more prepared and have the memory of last game to help us play harder and go after them.”

Amherst crushed NESCAC foe Wesleyan 72-49 on Tuesday night in Middletown, Ct.

Amherst will travel to Colby on Friday, Jan. 31 for a 6 p.m. matchup, before suiting up to play against Bowdoin the next day at 2 p.m.