Women’s Basketball Claims New Program Record with 51-Game Win Streak
Issue   |   Tue, 01/23/2018 - 22:53
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Maeve McNamara ’19 impressed against archrival WIlliams, scoring eight points for the Mammoths with two late threes to help hold the Amherst lead.

The Amherst women’s basketball team put together a dominant run over interterm, setting a new program record winning streak with 50 consecutive wins after defeating rival Williams. The Mammoths then extended this run to 51 wins with another victory this past Saturday against Hamilton.

Interterm kicked off with an exciting trip out west, which included matches in Las Vegas and a trip to California to face Chapman University and University of Redlands. One especially standout match was a narrow victory against top-ranked Trine in late December, the second game of the Nevada trip. With both teams in the top-five in defensive scoring, a low-scoring, high-intensity game was inevitable for both the Mammoths and the Thunder.

The first quarter witnessed normal scoring on Amherst’s end, putting up 15 to Trine’s 11, but the Mammoths scored only four points in the second quarter, a season low, as Trine surged back to lead 24-19 at the half.

Play evened back up in the third quarter with both teams exchanging three-pointers as a result of malicious defense under the hoop.

The teams entered the final 10 minutes tied at 31, but sophomore Emma McCarthy, who led the team with an impressive double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, gave Amherst the lead with an easy bucket in the first minute of the quarter.

After the final whistle blew, a 41-36 score in Amherst’s favor handed the Mammoths a 9-0 record for the season and gave Trine its first loss.

Other standout Mammoths in the competition included Hannah Fox ’20, who put up 10 points for Amherst, while fellow sophomore Madeline Eck grabbed nine rebounds and dished out three assists. Cam Hendricks ’20 tallied eight points and eight rebounds, swiped three steals and managed two blocks.

“It is difficult to compare this year’s team with last year’s team, partly since the personnel and playing style of our team along with every team is different,” Fox said. “But we are continuously improving and love playing together.”

The remainder of the west coast trip panned out smoothly for the Mammoths, who took down Chapman and Redlands relatively handily, with wins of 73-58 and 67-44, respectively.
Amherst’s next tough competition came from Williams, who was standing in the way of the Mammoths’ record of 50 consecutive wins.

It was an uphill battle for Amherst, shooting just 16 percent in the first quarter and trailing the Ephs for nearly three quarters. But the Mammoths persevered to earn a 52-43 victory, fighting back in the fourth quarter to clinch both the record and the Little III crown for the 2017-18 season.

Williams’ Amanni Fernandez led all scorers with 18 points, while Eck led Amherst with 15 points, nine of them coming in the first half to keep the game tight. Despite Eck’s performance, Williams took a 22-19 lead to the locker room. Amherst, however, started the second half with 10-0 run which included two three-pointers by Fox.

The Mammoths were finally able to take the lead with 1:19 left in the third quarter. They would not relinquish the lead through the final 10 minutes, but Williams got within one point with 4:12 to play, before Amherst closed the door on the comeback bid.

Amherst then faced off against Hamilton seeking a program-record 51st straight victory. Amherst has not lost a game since March 19, 2016, when they lost in the NCAA Tournament Semifinals. Coming into the contest, the Continentals had a record of 12-5, but proved to be no match for a potent Mammoth offensive attack.

The Mammoths shot 46.4 percent from the field, and led from the outset. Amherst closed out the game with a dominant fourth quarter, holding Hamilton to a single bucket in the period, eventually winning by a score of 72-34. Amherst remains the top-ranked team in the country.

With this victory, Amherst now owns the sixth-longest winning streak ever in women’s DIII basketball.

Amherst will next take on Colby this Friday at 7 p.m., before turning around for another home matchup against undefeated Bowdoin the next day.