AMHERST, Mass. – The three-time defending New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) women's basketball champions are the #2 seed in this year's tournament and will open postseason play on Saturday at 4:00 pm against #7 Wesleyan.
Amherst (22-2, 9-1 NESCAC) hosts Wesleyan (14-10, 4-6 NESCAC) is a rematch of a 2018 semifinal game. The Mammoths have won the title eight times, tied with Bowdoin for the most conference championships. Amherst's only setback this season was a loss to Bowdoin on January 26.
The Cardinals are in the NESCAC Championship for the second straight season and the No. 7 seed for the first time since 2002. Wesleyan secured the seventh seed by virtue of a 68-60 win over Connecticut College on January 19. The Cardinals won two of their last three games to close the regular season and are 0-3 versus Amherst in the tournament.
During the regular season, Amherst defeated Wesleyan twice in a 10-day span, 62-44 on January 12 and 67-57 on January 21.
Amherst enters today's game on a five-game winning streak and with an 8-1 home record.
Guard Madeline Eck '20 is the leading scorer in the NESCAC ,averaging 17.0 points per game. Eck recently became the 18th member of the 1,000 point club. Eck is shooting 52.5% from the field, good for 4th in the NESCAC.
Hannah Fox '20 averages 16.0 points per contest and leads the league in free-throw percentage (88.1). She is fourth in 3-pointers made (42), fifth in steals (42), sixth in defensive rebounds (114) and seventh in assists (77).
The frontcourt is led by Cam Hendricks, who averages 7.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. She is also shooting 36.3% (33-91) from downtown.
Amherst boasts a stingy defense that is holding opponents to 31.8% shooting from the floor, a league-best. The Mammoths also rank second in the conference in scoring defense (48.6 ppg) and blocks (5.0 bpg). Offensively, they are averaging 67.1 points per contest which is the fifth-highest in the league.
Wesleyan is 5-4 on the road this year and are led by their three seniors, guards Chynna Bailey and Olivia Gorman and forward Tara Berger.
Bailey is averaging 5.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.4 blocks per game.
Gorman leads the team in scoring and ranks fourth in the NESCAC with 14.9 points per game. She recently became just the 12th player in Wesleyan women's basketball history to reach the 1,000-point milestone for her career.
Berger is averaging a double-double with 11.9 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. She leads the conference in rebounding (248), blocks (41), and total free throws made (90). Additionally, she has 10 double-doubles on the season.
As a team, Wesleyan leads the league in rebounding (49.6 rpg) and opponents' 3-point percentage (25.6%), and is third in blocks per game (4.8). The Cardinals are averaging 66.0 points per game and allowing 60.5.
2019 NESCAC Women's Basketball Championship
Quarterfinals – Saturday, February 16 (at Higher Seeds)
No. 8 Connecticut College at No. 1 Bowdoin – 2 p.m.
No. 7 Wesleyan at No. 2 Amherst – 4 p.m.
No. 6 Williams at No. 3 Tufts – 3 p.m.
No. 5 Middlebury at No. 4 Trinity – 3 p.m.
Semifinals – Saturday, February 23 (at Highest Remaining Seed)
2 p.m. | 4 p.m.
Highest Remaining Seed vs. Lowest Remaining Seed
Remaining Quarterfinal Winners
Championship – Sunday, February 24