Women’s Basketball Hopes to Replicate Last Season’s Astounding Triumphs
Issue   |   Tue, 10/24/2017 - 22:58

Coming off a season that saw the 2016-2017 Amherst women’s basketball team finish with an incredible 33-0, the Mammoths will look to recapture some of the success that saw the tean captured both a NESCAC title and Division III National Championship. This was the program’s second ever national championship and first ever undefeated season.

In last year’s NCAA championship match, the Mammoths bested Tufts, who finished the game and their season with a record of 30-3. Each of the Jumbos’ three losses on the year came at the hands of the purple and white; one in regular season play, one in the NESCAC championship game and one in the NCAA title game.

Amherst was able to accomplish these great feats due to a high-powered yet efficient offense that saw the Mammoths put up almost 70 points per game with an astounding team field goal percentage of 43.5 percent. This efficiency was key to Amherst’s ability to dominate lesser teams and grind out wins against the more talented squads they faced.

This coming season, however, looks to be more challenging for the Mammoths, as the exceptional senior class that led Amherst to these heights has graduated.

With three out of five starting spots needing to be filled, it will be up to last year’s role players and this year’s newcomers to fill these big shoes.

Gone are twins Ali Doswell ’17 and Meredith Doswell ’17. A. Doswell was the Mammoths’ leading scorer who averaged almost 13.5 points per game in her senior season and finished her collegiate career as Amherst’s all-time scoring leader. M. Doswell was the team’s third-leading scorer and defensive specialist who led the team in rebounds, steals and blocks. Furthermore, starting guard Jaimie Renner ’17 graduated alongside, leaving Amherst needing to replace its entire backcourt for the upcoming season.

Luckily, the Mammoths seem to have the talent to compensate for losses of such magnitude. Head Coach and D3hoops.com Coach of the Year G.P. Gromacki has plenty of talent to work with, as Amherst returns its second and fourth-leading scorer Emma McCarthy ’19 and Hannah Hackley ’18, respectively.

Both Hackley and McCarthy started the majority of the games at their positions for the Mammoths and are almost guaranteed to retain those spots this winter.

Additionally, Amherst will look to Madeline Eck ’20, NESCAC Rookie of the Year, to continue to blossom into a dominant player after she impressed in her debut campaign as a sixth man.

Tufts again appears to be the Mammoths’ top competition in the year ahead, as the Jumbos will seek to avenge the trio of losses they suffered last year.

The lone regular season meeting between the two storied programs in the upcoming campaign will take place in Amherst on Friday, Feb. 2, a matchup that will surely have major postseason implications.

Other notable games include a matchup between the Mammoths and UC Santa Cruz at the 2017 D3hoops.com Classic in Las Vegas on Dec. 28.

Before all this, though, Amherst will get their national title defense underway at home on Saturday, Nov. 18 at the Amherst Tip-Off Classic Invitational Tournament against Lyndon State College in a first-round matchup.