Women's Basketball Dominates Emmanuel, York
Issue   |   Tue, 03/13/2012 - 23:11
Photo courtesy of Niahlah Hope '15
Megan Robertson '15 had 10 boards against Emmanuel.

The women’s basketball team earned its fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Final Four last weekend after two decisive victories in LeFrak Gymnasium. The Jeffs defeated York College 79-55 on Friday evening before cruising past Emmanuel College, 84-61, in the NCAA quarterfinals on Saturday.

Amherst (31-0) and York traded baskets for the first five minutes of Friday’s game, but seven consecutive points from Caroline Stedman ’12 gave the Jeffs a solid lead with just under 13 minutes left in the half. A jumper from first-year Megan Robertson capped off Amherst’s 11-2 run, putting the Jeffs ahead 15-6.

A pair of free throws from York’s Jess Selby helped the Spartans pull within seven, but another three-pointer from Stedman put Amherst up 25-15 with five minutes left to play.

Lem Atanga McCormick ’12 dominated the remaining minutes of the half with two jumpers and a layup. The Jeffs headed into the break ahead 32-18 after holding York to just one point in the final four minutes.

Atanga McCormick continued her streak in the second half with two consecutive baskets in the first minute of play. A layup from Robertson gave Amherst an 18-point lead, but a 7-3 run from the Spartan’s cut the deficit to 13 with 15 minutes remaining.

A three-pointer from junior Marcia Voigt ignited a 14-2 run, helping Amherst take a 25- point lead with eight minutes left to play. York trimmed the Jeff advantage to 19 on a free throw from sophomore Brittany Hicks, but the Jeffs responded with two free throws of their own from junior Livia Rizzo to go up 73-52.

Amherst held the Spartans to just one point in the final minutes until Selby scored at the buzzer, bringing the final score to 79-55. The Jeffs tallied 10 blocks, 10 steals and only nine turnovers in one of their best defensive performances this season.

Stedman led the team in scoring with 20 points, followed by Atanga McCormick with 18. Voigt tallied 17 points and Robertson added 12 in Amherst’s 49th consecutive victory.

The Jeffs jumped out to an early lead in Saturday’s quarterfinal game, with Atanga McCormick scoring Amherst’s first 10 points. Her third three-pointer of the first half helped stretch the Jeffs’ advantage to 20-8 with 11 minutes remaining.

Back-to-back layups from Fiona O’Dwyer brought the Saints within nine, but steady offense kept the Jeffs ahead by at least 14 for the rest of the half. A three-pointer from Jasmine Hardy ’13 with nine seconds left capped off the offensive burst to give Amherst a 17-point lead heading into the break.

Emmanuel opened scoring in the second half on a three from senior Breanna Ockimey, but Jackie Renner ’12, Robertson and Stedman added three layups to help the Jeffs regain their 18-point lead.

Amherst shined for the remainder of the half, leading by at least 20 for the last 13 minutes of play. Hardy hit a pair of free throws with 7:10 remaining to give Amherst its biggest advantage at 26, bringing the score to 77-51.

The Saints battled back in the last three minutes, but Amherst came out on top with the 84-61 victory.

Atanga McCormick led the Jeffs with 19 points, eight rebounds and three blocks, while Stedman followed with 17 points. Robertson recorded 14 points and 10 boards, followed by Renner with 11 points, five rebounds and four assists. The Jeffs shot 45.1 percent from the floor, while Emmanuel finished with a 30.6 shooting percentage.

The quarterfinal win marked the last home game for the class of 2012, who finished 76-1 over four years in LeFrak Gymnasium and brought the team’s overall win streak at home to 67. The Jeffs will travel to the Final Four with a 50-game unbeaten streak.

Amherst looks to defend its national championship on Friday in a semifinal match-up against George Fox Univ. The Bruins, who are also 31-0 overall, have one national title to their credit from the 2008-09 season.

Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m. at Hope College in Holland, Mich.