MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Despite being outscored in each of the last two quarters, Amherst College was able to rely on a 17-point halftime lead and hold off Wesleyan University for a 66-51 victory in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) women's basketball action on Saturday afternoon at Silloway Gymnasium.
Amherst, the top-ranked team in the country, improves to 16-0 overall and 3-0 in league play, while Wesleyan drops to 9-5 (1-3 NESCAC). The Mammoths have won 49 consecutive games and will look to tie the program record of 50 on Wednesday night when they host rival Williams College at 7:00 pm at LeFrak Gymnasium.
The Cardinals came out hot and hit their first two jumpers to take a 5-0 lead just 36 seconds in, but Amherst responded with a 13-4 run capped off by a three-pointer from Madeline Eck '20 at the 4:42 mark.
Eck followed up a career-best performance last night with 15 points and seven rebounds, leading four players who scored in double-figures for Amherst.
Chynna Bailey evened the score at 14 for Wesleyan, but Amherst ran off nine more unanswered points, and Maeve McNamara '19 hit a buzzer-beater three-pointer to give the Mammoths a 23-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.
A jumper by Tara Berger and a three-pointer from Olivia Gorman cut the Amherst lead to four in the opening seconds of the second quarter. With 3:15 remaining in the half, Eck put the Mammoths up by 10 off a put-back layup, and Amherst closed out the first half with an 8-0 run to claim a 40-23 halftime lead.
Eck and Gorman led all scorers at the break with 13 points each. Gorman was a perfect 3-of-3 from downtown and Eck was 5-of-6 from the floor.
It was all Amherst early in the third quarter as the visitors took a commanding 52-28 lead following a three-pointer from Fox.
Freshman Katy O'Connor gave the Cardinals a spark off the bench with two three-pointers in the closing minutes of the third as Wesleyan outscored Amherst 10-2 in the final 3:17. With 3:09 to play in regulation, Baily grabbed an offensive rebound and went right back up for the layup to get the Cardinals within 12 (61-49).
However, that proved to be the closest Wesleyan would get the rest of the way as Amherst held off a late scare to claim the 15-point win.
Gorman was held scoreless in the second half but finished as the Cardinal's leading scorer with 13. Bailey added nine points, five rebounds and three assists, and Maddie Bledsoe scored seven points with a game-high nine boards. Berger added five points, four rebounds, three assists, two blocks and one steal.