Women’s Basketball Blows Out Conn. and Wesleyan
Issue   |   Wed, 02/12/2014 - 00:36

Overcoming a slow start, the 11th-ranked Amherst women’s basketball team extended its home win streak to 95 games with a 77-58 victory over NESCAC-rival Conn. College last Friday. The Jeffs trailed by as many as 10 points during the first half, but turned a three-point deficit at the intermission into a 19-point win.

Finishing the game with an impressive 10-of-10 from the floor, sophomore Marley Giddins was one point shy of matching a personal-best. The guard left LeFrak with a game-high 22 points to go along with eight rebounds. Ali Doswell ’17 had 19 points and nine boards, while Hannah Peterson ’17 and Jaimie Renner ’17 each scored nine.

“We were out of sync in the first half, especially in the first few minutes of the game,” said Giddins. We were too relaxed on defense and our rotation was not working well. The players on Conn were getting a bunch of easy, uncontested shots and that obviously needed to change.”

After falling behind early in the second half, Amherst scored 11 unanswered points and began to find a rhythm. The Jeffs began to bounce back, starting with a Giddins faked hand-off along the left baseline, drawing a foul and converting a three-point play. Ali Doswell then drained a three before Giddins once again connected down low to put Amherst up six. Ali Doswell capped off the run by knocking down a pair from the line to make it 49-41. A Hanna Peterson ’17 three at 8:18 propelled the Jeffs to a comfortable 63-44 edge.

“Conn is a really good team this year, so it was definitely a tough game. We were happy to come out with the win,” Giddins continued. “We really got things going in the second half. We picked up our defense and finally had some chemistry offensively. Despite our ugly first half, it was great that we were able to pick ourselves up when it mattered and ultimately get the win.”

Outrebounding the Camels 36-21, the Jeffs held a 22-2 advantage in second chance points. With 10 different players getting on the board, the Amherst bench also held its own, scoring twice as many points as the Conn. College reserves, 34-16.

On Saturday, holding Wesleyan (12-9, 3-5 in the NESCAC) to its lowest scoring output of the year and just over 20 points below its season average, Amherst (21-2, 8-1 in the NESCAC) extended its win streak over the Cardinals to 15 games dating back to the 2006-07 season.

Tallying seven points in the game’s first 11:49, Peterson helped the Jeffs keep things tight at 12-12. Leading by as much as seven, the Jeffs began to struggle and fell behind 23-21 at the intermission. Following the break, Ali Doswell found the range from long distance, sparking an 8-0 run. KellyAnn Rooney ’14 scored the Cardinals’ first points of the second on a free throw at 14:44, but Amherst recorded the next three to go up 34-22.

Amherst finished with a decisive 45-34 rebounding edge and a 15-8 advantage in second chance points. Stuck in a defensive struggle, the Jeffs outscored the Cardinals in points off of turnovers, 13-3.

With the Jeffs making just 27.7 percent (13-of-47) of their shots, it was their stifling defense that carried the home side, limiting the visitors to 22.4 percent (11-of-49) shooting, which included a 7.7 percent (1-of-13) showing from behind the arc. 

“Wesleyan came out really energetic and ready to play,” said co-captain Cheyenne Pritchard ’16. “Since we weren’t hitting our threes, we had to adjust our offense, which we did in the second half. Our team defense really saved us and we had a couple of big plays to pull away in the second.”

With their last regular season game around the corner, Amherst will begin focusing on postseason play in the NESCAC tournament.

“Now that postseason play is starting, it’s more important than ever for us to be playing our best basketball,” Giddins said. “In these next couple of weeks we’ll definitely be practicing hard and making sure we improve upon the little things that will be necessary if we want to be successful this postseason.”

The Jeffs will host Middlebury on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 12 p.m. in LeFrak Gymnasium.