Women’s Basketball Starts Season Strong With Four Consecutive Routs
Issue   |   Tue, 11/28/2017 - 22:11
Amherst Athletics
Junior guard Emma McCarthy has stepped into a leadership role this season as one of only two returning starters. She has registered 9.3 points per game so far.

The past two weeks have seen the Amherst women’s basketball team open what appears to be another incredibly promising season with four dominating wins. After winning last year’s NESCAC and DIII National Championship, going undefeated in the process, the Mammoths continued their winning ways with victories over Lyndon State College, Springfield College, Little Three rival Wesleyan and Emmanuel College.

The Mammoths began the defense of their national championship with an 81-38 victory over Lyndon State in the season home-opening Tip-Off Tournament on Saturday, Nov. 18. The hosts’ sophomore class displayed its enormous potential, leading the scoring against the Hornets.

Cam Hendricks ’20 put up 20 points, went an impressive 4-4 from behind the arc and dished out three assists for the Mammoths, while fellow sophomore Hannah Fox tallied 16 points and six rebounds. During the game, Fox dribbled coast to coast, blowing past a Lyndon defender and landing herself on ESPN’s Top 10 Plays of the Night.

Amherst controlled the ball all game and had a decisive lead over Lyndon State at the half, dominance which continued in the second half, despite great hustle by the Hornets in the third quarter.

The next day, the Mammoths moved onto the finals of the Tip-Off Tournament against local rival Springfield, which had eked out a narrow victory over Farmingdale State the day before. The Mammoths came out firing, building a strong 19-4 lead after the first 10 minutes.

By halftime, the score was 37-16, a lead that was built on the back of 11 first half points from junior Emma McCarthy. Amherst’s victory in the turnover battle — the hosts committed only seven turnovers in comparison to Springfield’s 16 — was essential, as Springfield’s mistakes turned into 19 punishing points for the Mammoths.

Amherst, however, struggled from behind the arc, going 2-13, and only out-rebounded the Pride by three boards. Natalie Nardella ’20, Hannah Hackley ’18, Madeline Eck ’20 and Fox each grabbed five of the Mammoths’ 36 rebounds to lead the way.

When the whistle blew to close out the game, Amherst had come out on top, toppling the Pride in a 69-36 victory to clinch the Tip-Off Tournament championship. Fox was the tournament MVP, and Hendricks joined her on the All-Tournament team.

Amherst’s third game of the season was a battle against the similarly 2-0 Wesleyan Cardinals, a game that mattered only for Little Three play and not conference records. Like the matchup against Springfield, Amherst’s allergy to turnovers and ability to capitalize on the other team’s mistakes proved essential in earning a decisive lead throughout the entire contest. The Mammoths scored 33 points off of 33 Cardinal turnovers and only turned the ball over 19 times themselves.

Amherst also received double-digit scoring from four of its starters, led by Hackley, who was 7-11 from the floor and scored 18 points. Junior Meghan Sullivan put up 12 points, while McCarthy tallied 11 points, pulled down seven rebounds, had two blocks and notched a game-high six steals.

Additionally, Eck went 5-9 from the floor, scoring 14 points and dealing out four assists, good enough to share the team lead in helpers with Fox, who put seven points herself. The dominant performance on both ends of the floor against Wesleyan resulted in a 64-40 win for the reigning national champions.

On Tuesday, the Mammoths faced Emmanuel College and registered a 49-38 victory, weathering a fourth quarter that saw the Mammoths outscored 21-7.

Boasting a 4-0 record, the Mammoths now will gear up to take on Eastern Connecticut State in Windham, Conn., on Thursday, Nov. 30 at 7:00 p.m.