Courtesy of Tufts Sports Information
MEDFORD - The second-seeded Amherst women's basketball team will play in the NESCAC championship game for the seventh-straight season after pulling out a 45-42 conference semifinal victory over Bowdoin at Tufts' Cousens Gymnasium.
Winners of four-consecutive league titles, the Jeffs (24-2, 9-1 NESCAC) will face the host Jumbos on Sunday, Mar. 2 at 12 p.m. With the loss, Bowdoin dropped to 21-5 on the season and will await a possible NCAA Championship at-large berth.
Trailing for the majority of the second half, the third-seeded Polar Bears came back to tie the score at 42-42 on a lay-up by Sara Binkhorst '15 with 46 seconds remaining in regulation. Coming right back, Amherst's Savannah Holness '15 rebounded a miss at the other end and put it back with 33 ticks to go to give the Purple & White a 44-42 advantage.
With Bowdoin missing its shot on the other end, Ali Doswell '17 grabbed the rebound before getting fouled and making 1-of-2 at the line with 15 seconds remaining. The Polar Bears had a chance to tie it coming out of a timeout, but sophomore Selena Lorrey's three-pointer was blocked by Marley Giddins '15, who corralled the rebound to end the game.
Doswell led all scorers with 15 points and eight boards, while Giddins chipped in with 11 points, eight rebounds and a pair of blocks. Hannah Peterson '17 added eight points and six boards, while Jaimie Renner '17 and Holness matched career-highs in steals and blocks, respectively, with four apiece.
In a tightly contested throughout, the margin never grew larger than six points. Bowdoin raced out to an early 6-0 lead and never trailed in the opening 20 minutes. Taking the biggest lead of the game, the Polar Bears went up 18-10 when Anna Prohl '14 capped a 7-0 spurt with a three-pointer at the 3:29 mark of the first half.
Bowdoin held a 20-16 cushion at the intermission, despite turning the ball over 12 times. Amherst shot 21.4 percent (6-of-28) with 11 turnovers. Shannon Brady '16 had six points at break for the Polar Bears, while Doswell led Amherst with 11.
Battling from behind, the Jeffs wouldn't take their first lead until the 14-minute mark of the second half when Giddins made a layup for a 26-24 edge. Prohl answered for Bowdoin, but Amherst scored the next five points, building a 31-26 cushion on a Giddins free throw at 11:27.
Most of the final 10 minutes would be played with Amherst leading a one-possession game. Bowdoin's Lorrey hit a three at 8:54 to cut the Jeff margin to 34-33. Doswell later responded with a triple of her own, but a Prohl lay-up at 4:50 once again made it a one-point affair.
With Amherst on top 42-39 after a Giddins lay-up with 2:15 on the clock, the Polar Bears rallied to tie it when Binkhorst knocked down a free throw at 1:55 before driving the lane for two more with 46 seconds to go, setting up the game's final sequence.
Bowdoin out-rebounded Amherst 51-36 led by nine from Brady to go with a team-high 10 points and two blocks. Megan Phelps '15 also tied for a team-high with nine boards. Binkhorst finished with nine points, while Prohl recorded eight points and eight rebounds.