January 17, 2003
AMHERST, MA - Behind a dominating 27-point, 11-rebound performance by senior center Sarah Walsh (Catonsville, MD), visiting Colby College outlasted Amherst, 67-63, in both schools' NESCAC women's basketball opener on Friday night. Amherst trailed by as many as nine points in the second half, cut the lead to one with 1:32 remaining, but couldn't complete the comeback.
Junior sharpshooter Shannon Russell (Shrewsbury, MA) paced Amherst, which fell to 9-3 overall and 0-1 in conference play, with 20 points, while rookie forward Katie Latham (Wakefield, MA) pitched in with 16 points and seven boards.
After taking a 36-31 lead into the locker room at halftime, Colby (9-3/1-0 NESCAC) pounded the ball down low to Walsh in the second half, resulting in foul trouble for the Jeffs. In fact, three Amherst starters - point guard Sara Bozorg (Amherst, MA), forward Sarah Walker (W. Hartford, CT) and center Caitlin Farrell (Lafayette, CA) - played much of the second half with four fouls, and Farrell and Bozorg eventually fouled out.
Still, Amherst used a 9-2 run to cut its deficit to just one point, 61-60, late in the game, thanks to a clutch three-pointer by Russell off a nifty feed from junior guard LaShauna Barboza (New Bedford, MA), who filled in admirably for Bozorg in the late-going.
Colby came right back with a three-pointer of its own by senior point guard Bianca Belcher (Lewiston, ME), but fouled Amherst on the ensuing possession, sending Walker to the line with 39 seconds remaining. Walker missed her first free throw but made the second and the Jeffs fouled Walsh with 23 seconds left. Walsh sank both charity tosses and Amherst countered with a layup by first-year guard Ali Flato (Piedmont, CA). With only seven seconds remaining, the Jeffs sent Belcher to the line, where she missed the first and made the second, all but icing the win for the White Mules.
Amherst took one last shot, but Russell's desperation heave fell harmlessly short as time expired. The loss was Amherst's third in its last four outings after starting the season at 8-0.
Belcher joined Walsh in double figures with 22 points on the strength of a 3-for-4 showing from beyond the arc. She was also 9-for-10 from the free throw line and dished out three assists. Sophomore forward Wendy Bonner (Lexington, MA) added 11 points before fouling out.
Amherst returns to action Saturday at 3 p.m. against visiting NESCAC rival Bowdoin College.
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