AMHERST, Mass. – The nationally-ranked No. 3/3 Amherst College women's basketball team jumped out to an 18-point lead within the first nine minutes of play Saturday to defeat archrival and nationally-ranked No. 13/15 Williams College in LeFrak Gymnasium, 77-51.
With the win, the Jeffs remain unbeaten on the season with a perfect 13-0 overall mark and 2-0 NESCAC record. In the past five seasons, they are 12-3 against the Ephs, who dropped to 12-2 on the year and 1-1 in league play. Amherst also extended its consecutive home winning streak to 106 games.
Three players scored in double-figures for the Purple & White, led by Meredith Doswell '17 with a game-high 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting. She also grabbed eight rebounds. Marley Giddins '16 was a key contributor to the Jeffs hot start and finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds to record the double-double. Ali Doswell '17 added 12 points, while her and Jaimie Renner '17 each dished out a game-high six assists. Renner added nine points as well and was a perfect 4-of-4 from the floor.
Williams was led by Kellie Macdonald and Katie Litman with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Litman also grabbed a team-high five rebounds while Macdonald pulled in four. Amanni Fernandez added nine points and dished out two assists, and Ellen Cook scored eight with two more assists.
It was all Amherst early on as Giddins helped lead the Jeffs to a 23-5 run within the first 8:18 of play. On the first basket of the game, the junior hit a lay-up and was sent to the line. She connected on her free throw to complete the three-point play and went on to score 11 points, while recording two assists during the stretch. After a basket by the Ephs ended the run, Giddins scored again shortly after to open the game a perfect 6-of-6 from the floor.
The Ephs cut the deficit to 14 following a lay-up by Lauren McCall with 7:02 to play in the first half, but Amherst retaliated as Megan Robertson '15 put the home team ahead by 21 minutes later. In the closing seconds, Meredith Doswell hit a pair of free throws to give the Jeffs a 24-point advantage but Cook hit a three-pointer at the buzzer as the Purple & White entered the break with a 44-23 lead.
The second half was a different story as both teams exchanged baskets early and often, but the lead was too large for Williams to overcome. Litman scored on a lay-up at the 12:37 mark to cut the deficit to 16, but that would be the closest the Ephs would get the remainder of the way as the Jeffs pulled away with the 26-point win.
Amherst shot 29-of-55 (52.7%) from the floor, 8-of-20 (40.0%) from downtown and 11-of-14 (78.6%) from the charity stripe, and held Williams to just 33.8% (22-of-65) shooting. The Ephs also hit 2-of-6 (33.3%) three-pointers and finished 5-of-11 (45.5%) from the line. The Jeffs passed the ball extremely efficiently and finished with 20 team assists and controlled the glass as they held a commanding 46-28 lead in the rebounding margin.
The Purple & White begin a tough eight-game road stretch starting Monday, Jan. 12 when they head to St. Lawrence for a 3 p.m. tip-off.