AMHERST, Mass. – A pre-game ceremony honoring seniors Maeve McNamra and Meghan Sullivan kicked off a Saturday afternoon at LeFrak Gymnasium that finished with the Amherst College women's basketball team defeating Middlebury College 72-62 in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) action.
Sullivan had a double-double with eleven points and ten rebounds and McNamara added seven points as No. 4 Amherst improved 21-2 (8-1 NESCAC). Middlebury drops to 18-6 (5-5 NESCAC) after the Mammoths outscored them 26-12 in the third quarter to overcome a one-point halftime deficit.
The two senior captains have been a part of two NCAA national championships, three NESCAC titles and three Final Four trips. They have compiled an incredible record of 117-4, a .967 winning percentage, and a conference record of 37-2. Both of them are also about to be named NESCAC All-Academic for the third consecutive season.
Hannah Fox '20 scored a game-high 21 points, hitting 3-6 from behind the three-point line. Madeline Eck '20, the newest member of the Amherst women's basketball 1,000 point club, added 20 more points to her total with a 10-18 day from the floor. Eck also dished out five assists, as did Sullivan, who had a pair of blocks and a steal in the win.
Sullivan gave the Mammoths the lead for good when she hit a three-pointer with 6:52 remaining in the third quarter to put the Mammoths up 40-38. That sparked a 20-7 run with Amherst taking a ten-point lead on a layup by Sullivan.
Courtney Resch '22 hit a three-pointer during the spurt and then hit three free-throws to end the quarter when she was followed on a long-range attempt. Fox hit a triple to open the fourth quarter and the lead stayed in double-digits for the rest of the game. Resch finished with six points, four rebounds, four assists, a block and a steal. Cam Hendricks '20 had two blocks and two dimes to go with six points of her own.
The first half was about two distinct runs, one by the Panthers to take a double-digit lead, and the second by Amherst to climb back and tie the game at 29.
Amherst led 9-6 halfway through the first quarter, but were held without a point for the final 5:02 of the period and nearly a minute and a half into the second quarter.
Middlebury shot 53% in the first quarter and got seven points from Colleen Caveney as they built a 17-9 lead, then grew it to 21-9 with a layup by Catherine Harrison and a pair of free throws by Emily Wander early in the second.
Eck stopped the run with a jumper to cut the deficit to 10 points and Amherst shot 53% themselves in the second quarter, ripping off a 17-5 run until they tied the game on a jumper by Fox with 2:09 to play.
Caveney answered with a three-pointer and the Panthers took a slim 32-31 lead into the break. Caveney had 12 points while Eck (10 points) and Fox (11 points) were both in double-figures in the first half for Amherst.
The Mammoths held Caveney in check in the second half, as she finished with 14 points on the night. Maya Davis and Betsy Knox had ten points apiece and Kira Waldman was in double-figures with 11 points.
Amherst finished the game shooting 46% from the floor and 35% from three-point land. They held a 36-32 lead in points in the paint, though Middlebury had the advantage in bench points (14-7), rebounds (35-30) and second chance points (18-9).
While Middlebury will get ready for the NESCAC tournament next weekend, Amherst has one regular season game to be played, a home make-up against Hamilton. That game is set for this Tuesday at 7:00 PM.