AMHERST, Mass. – The Amherst College Mammoths had to scratch and claw their way to the 2018 NCAA Women's Basketball Sweet Sixteen, but they did so by holding off Saint Joseph's College 53-47 in a Second Round game on Saturday night at LeFrak Gymnasium.
The Monks entered the game on a 27-game winning streak, and they proved to be up to the task, giving No. 1 Amherst all they could handle before seeing an impressive season end with a 28-2 record.
Amherst outscored the visitors 15-9 in the third quarter to turn a slim one-point halftime lead into a slightly more comfortable 40-33 advantage.
Hannah Fox '20 scored a team-high 18 points, nine of them in the fourth quarter as Amherst protected that lead. She added 11 rebounds for the Mammoths, who had a 38-28 edge on the glass, including a 17-9 advantage in offensive rebounding.
The lead would stretch to as much as nine points in the final quarter when Fox beat the shot clock with a three-pointer at the 3:00 mark, but Saint Joseph's, led by a game-high 30 points from Kelsi McNamara, were still within four with just over a minute to play.
Fox answered with a step-back jumper from the left baseline to up the lead back to six points with forty-eight seconds remaining.
Madeline Eck '20 was also in double-figures for Amherst with 13 points and eight rebounds, along with four assists and a steal. Emma McCarthy '19 added five points, six boards, three assists and two steals, and Jackie Nagle came off the bench to score seven points, grab six rebounds and register two blocks in ten minutes.
Saint Joseph's next highest scorer was Emily Benway, who scored eight points on a perfect 4-4 from the field and co-led the team with six rebounds, along with Julia Champagne.
McNamara had 13 points in the first half, where the biggest lead for either team was six points after a Nagle steal and layup with thirty seconds to play in first quarter.
The junior guard hit back to back threes to end the first quarter and start the second to tie the game, and the teams played within a margin of three points for the final six and a half minutes of the second quarter.
Amherst took the lead with two Hannah Hackley '18 free throws at the 34 second mark of the second quarter, and had a 25-24 advantage at the break.
The win not only sends Amherst into the second weekend for the eleventh consecutive year, but also moves the Mammoths into second place all-time in the NCAA D3 women's basketball record book with their 62nd consecutive victory.
The Mammoths pass Thomas More, who won 61 games between 2015 and 2017, and now chase only Washington St. Louis, and their 81 game winning streak(1998-2001).
Amherst (29-0) advances to play Montclair State in next weekend's Third Round game. While the sectional is expected to be in LeFrak, the official announcement will be made on Sunday.