Jeffs Drop 66-65 Heartbreaker to Visiting Babson

January 15, 2003 

AMHERST, MA - Senior forward Ingrid Miller (East Lyme, CT) drained the first of two free throw attempts with 15 seconds left in regulation to lead the Babson College women's basketball team to a 66-65 non-conference win at Amherst College on Wednesday night. Amherst had a chance to win or tie with two seconds remaining but committed a costly turnover on an inbounds play as time expired. 

Babson squelched a three-game losing skid with the win, evening its record at 6-6. The Jeffs fell to 9-2 after reeling off eight consecutive victories to start the season. 

Amherst junior guard Shannon Russell (Shrewsbury, MA) and rookie forward Katie Latham (Wakefield, MA) led all scorers with 16 points each. Senior guard Joanna Maher (North Easton, MA) paced Babson with 15 points, while teammate Sheila Nanjego (Malden, MA) added 14 points and 10 boards off the bench. 

Amherst began the game with an 8-1 advantage and led by as many as 10 points over the first 13:40. Babson patiently chipped away, however, knotting the score at 20-20 with a three-pointer by sophomore guard Meredith Helen (Somerville, MA) and taking its first lead on a baseline jumper by Nanjego with 5:22 left in the first half. 

The Jeffs trailed well into the second stanza but reclaimed the upper hand with 13:41 remaining, thanks to a low-post bank shot by senior Sarah Walker (W. Hartford, CT). Not to be outdone, Babson rebounded with another jumper by Nanjego and held the reeling Jeffs scoreless over the next four minutes en route to its largest cushion of the game, 49-41, with 8:40 on the clock. 

This time it was Amherst's turn to chip away. They did so with a 17-8 run, keyed by a Russell three-pointer and capped by a pair of Latham charity tosses, and just like that the Jeffs held a tenuous 58-57 lead inside the five-minute mark. 

The drama mounted from there. Senior guard Sara Bozorg (Amherst, MA) hit the first of two free throws for a two-point Amherst lead and Babson rebutted with a whirling one-hander off the glass by Erin Conroy (Old Greenwich, CT) and a jumper in the paint by Maher. Amherst leapfrogged Babson again with a trio of free throws by Latham and Russell only to watch the gritty Beavers tie the game for the seventh time and take a one-point lead, 63-62, with a pair of free throws by Maher. 

Amherst junior center Caitlin Farrell (Lafayette, CA) then put the Jeffs on top for the last time, 64-63, with a running bank shot inside the final minute. Maher hit two more free throws, giving the Beavers a 65-64 lead with 29 seconds left. Amherst ran the clock down to 17 seconds and worked the ball down low to Latham, who was fouled on the left block by Babson senior Patricia Leahy (Dorchester, MA). Latham sank the first free throw but missed the second, and Farrell was whistled for a questionable foul while lunging for the offensive rebound, sending Miller to the stripe for the game-winning free throw. 

Still, Amherst had one last chance with 15 seconds left. Trailing by just one, the Jeffs reversed the ball to the corner, where Russell drove baseline and lost the ball out of bounds of a Babson player. The Jeffs still had two seconds to play with, but the ensuing inbounds pass fell into the hands of Nanjego as the final moments ticked off the clock. 

For Amherst, Farrell and Bozorg joined Russell and Latham in double figures with 15 and 10 points, respectively. Farrell also pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds. 

The Jeffs open NESCAC play Friday night at 7:00 against visiting Colby College. They also host league rival Bowdon College Saturday at 3 p.m. 

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