Contact: Ben Badua
AMHERST, Mass. - Holding the Cardinals without a field goal for the first 9:20 of the second half, the 11th-ranked Amherst women's basketball team rode a stellar defensive effort to a hard-fought 51-39 victory over Wesleyan University at LeFrak Gymnasium.
With the Jeffs connecting on just 27.7 percent (13-of-47) of their shots, it was the defense that carried the day, limiting the visitors to 22.4 percent (11-of-49) shooting, which included a 7.7 percent (1-of-13) showing from behind the arc.
Holding Wesleyan (12-9, 3-5 NESCAC) to its lowest scoring output of the year and just over 20 points below its season average, Amherst (21-2, 8-1 NESCAC) extended its win streak over the Cardinals to 15 games dating back to the 2006-07 campaign. Winners of 96-straight at home, the Jeffs close out their regular season on Sunday, Feb. 16 against Middlebury.
Hanna Peterson '17 led Purple & White offensively with 13 points, while Jaimie Renner '17 was the only other Jeff in double digit scoring with 11. Wesleyan's Kaylie Williams '16 was the only Cardinal to break into double figures, hitting six of her 10 shots for 13 points.
Tallying seven points in the game's first 11:49, Peterson helped the home team knot things up at 12-12. Going up by as much as seven, the Jeffs had their lead dwindle to 23-21 at the intermission, following a sloppy first half that saw the squads combine for 21 turnovers and 24.1 percent (13-of-54) shooting.
Extending the lead following the break, Ali Doswell '17 found the range from long distance, sparking an 8-0 run. KellyAnn Rooney '14 scored the Cardinals' first points of the second on a free throw at 14:44, but Amherst tallied the next three to go up 34-22. Jackie Browne '16 knocked down a pair from the charity stripe on Wesleyan's next possession, but Doswell answered with another trey to stretch the margin to 15.
Williams snapped the visitors' field goal drought with a jumper with 10:40 remaining in regulation before a Cherkira Lashley '15 bucket pulled Wesleyan within 11. Continuing to battle the Cardinals chipped away, getting as close as 45-38 with 1:56 on the clock, but the Jeffs would ultimately score six of the game's final seven points to seal the victory.
Amherst finished with a decisive 45-34 rebounding edge and a 15-8 advantage in second chance points. Mired in a defensive struggle, the Jeffs outscored Wesleyan, 13-3, in points off turnovers, helping to force 19 Cardinal miscues. Combined, the teams had 43 turnovers and were just 24-of-96 from the field and 6-of-39 from three.