WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – Amherst women's basketball went on the road on Thursday evening for the first time this season and came home with a milestone for their head coach.
With the Mammoth's 72-54 non-conference victory over Eastern Connecticut State at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium., G.P. Gromacki earned his 300th win in his 11th year at the helm of the Amherst program.
Gromacki improves to 300-24 (0.926 winning percentage) in his career at Amherst, where he has collected 25+ wins in all ten of his previous seasons and has never lost more than four games in any year.
The milestone win wasn't a surety from the start, as Eastern (0-3) outscored Amherst (5-0) 10-1 over six minutes to take a 19-15 lead. The Warriors led 19-18 after the first quarter, the first time Amherst has trailed at a quarter mark this year.
Amherst surged back in the second quarter, forcing six turnovers in ten minutes while holding Eastern to just four field goals. Meanwhile the Mammoths got a combined 15 points (7-11 FG) and four rebounds from Emma McCarthy '19 and Hannah Hackley '18 to take a nine-point, 37-28, lead into the second half.
The Mammoths quickly dispelled Eastern's hopes for a comeback, picking up where they left off in the second half by sinking half of their field goals in the third quarter and getting a combined 15 points from Jackie Nagle '18 off the bench and starter Hannah Fox '20 to move out to a 19-point, 57-38 lead heading into the final ten minutes.
During their 10-1 run midway through the first quarter, the Warriors got points from four different players, with post players Mya Villard (Cromwell) and Kelsey Santagata (Stamford) scoring inside and Kelly Reardon (Holyoke, MA) and Lizzy Cretella (Cheshire) from the perimeter.
Four of Amherst's starters finished in double figures, led by McCarthy's double-double (11 points, 11 rebounds) and a game-high 16 points, four rebounds and four assists from Hackley. Nagle was 7-of-8 from the floor with four rebounds in 15 minutes off the bench, scoring all 15 of her points in the second half. Madeline Eck '20 added 13 points and Fox ten.
Villard led Eastern with 16 points, Cretella adding 12 points (5-of-6 from the foul line), Santagata 11 points, five assists and four rebounds. Sophomore Tara Prochorena (Colchester) contributed her first career field goal in the second half and senior Emily Menendez (Shelton) her first points of the season with a second-half field goal.
Including his six years as a head coach at St. Lawrence University and one season with Hamilton College, Gromacki has a career record of 463-62. His 0.882 winning percentage ranks second among all active coaches by winning percentage and first among all-time coaches who have coached at least ten years at the NCAA level.
Gromacki and the Mammoths will look to continue their win streak on Saturday afternoon when they travel to Farmingdale State for a 3:00 PM non-conference game.