AMHERST, Mass. – Amherst College will play host to three games this weekend in the first two rounds of the 2018-19 NCAA Division III women's basketball tournament.
In town for the tournament will be Husson University, the Mammoth's first round opponents and automatic qualifiers from the North Atlantic Conference. LeFrak Gymnasium will also play host to Geneso and Vassar, who like Amherst, got into the dance as Pool C at-large selections.
SUNY Geneseo and Vassar will meet on Friday at 5:00 PM, followed by Amherst against Husson at 7:00 PM.
Winning teams on Friday advance to the second round, which will be on Saturday at 6:00 PM in LeFrak. Saturday's winner advances into the Sweet Sixteen next weekend.
Tickets are $7 for general admission adults and $4 for seniors (65+), students, and children (under 12).
Amherst College students will be admitted free with their student ID card.
Parking will be available in the Orr Rink Parking Lot and around Alumni Gymnasium.
The doors will open one hour before the first game on Friday (4 PM) and one hour before Saturday's game (5 PM).
NCAA merchandise and tickets will go on sale at this time. There will be no advance sales of tickets or NCAA merchandise, which will be available throughout the weekend in LeFrak Gymnasium.
All three games of the NCAA Regional will be live streamed on the Mammoths Sports Network, powered by Northeast Sports Network (NSN). Fans can access these games free of charge by going to Amherstmammoths.tv
Scouting the Teams
Amherst makes their 12th straight NCAA tournament and are looking for a fourth consecutive appearance in the Final Four. The two-time defending national champions are guided by 12th year Head Coach G.P. Gromacki, under whom they have compiled a 351-27 record since 2007. They have won 30+ games in seven of his 12 years and have been to the Final Four on eight occasions.
Junior Madeline Eck and Hannah Fox are among the top three scorers in the NESCAC. Fox leads the conference with 16.2 points per game and an 88.1% free-throw percentage, while Eck shoots the ball at a 50.9% clip, good for fourth in the NESCAC and scores 16.0 points per contest.
Senior captains Maeve McNamara (3.2 assists, 6.6 points) and Megan Sullivan (5.2 points, 4.2 rebounds) are looking to close out their career with their third national championship.
Fox, Eck and Cam Hendricks '20 all average six rebounds per game, and Hendricks, who scores 7.4 points a game, is the team's leading three-point shooter (34.0%), followed closely by Fox, who hands out 3.1 assists and collects 1.7 steals.
The Mammoths entered this season on a program-record 66-game winning streak, but saw that snapped early in the season with a 70-67 defeat against Eastern Connecticut State.
On November 27th, McNamara broke a program record with 12 assists in a win over Emmanuel, and a month later, Fox set new program marks with 43 points and 19 made field goals in a win over Westfield State in Las Vegas.
Husson captured the NAC title with a 58-51 victory over Maine Maritime Academy, becoming the first school in conference history to win four straight basketball crowns. Senior Kenzie Worcester scored 21 points and was named the tournament MVP for the fourth year in a row. Logan Huckins and Megan Peach were also named to the All-Tournament team. Worcester is the only Husson player in double-figures, averaging 18.8 points per game, shooting 46.8% from the field and 39.9% from behind the three-point line. Peach scores 7.9 points per game and has a team-leading 10.1 rebounds.
The Eagles, who averaged 63.9 points per game and allow 54.7 points against, shoot 37.9% from the field and 31.3% from behind the three-point line. Husson went 10-4 at home this year and 7-2 on the road, as well as 13-1 in NAC play with their only loss against Maine Maritime in the regular season finale. Husson tested themselves against several NESCAC teams and nationally ranked opponents. They defeated #8 Chicago 64-59, but lost to #1 Bowdoin and #12 Saint Joseph's (ME). Elsewhere in the NESCAC, the Eagles were outlasted in three overtimes by Colby and dropped a 68-44 decision against Bates.
The Brewers are into the tournament for the fourth time in program history and the first time since 2013-14. Vassar had a historic 16-game winning streak during the regular season and boasts four Liberty League All-Conference selection, including Defensive Player of the Year senior Maddie Leong. Junior Sophie Nick, who averages 15.9 points and 9.3 rebounds per game was named First Team All-Conference for the second year in a row. She shot the ball at a 46.5% and led the league going 86-88 from the free-throw line.
Junior Jackie Cenan averages 14.4 points per game, along with 5.5 rebounds and 1.7 steals. She scored a career-high 30 points against RIT on January 12 and earned Liberty League Second Team selection. Isa Peczuh (13.1 ppg, league-best 81 three-pointers made) was named Liberty League Honorable Mention, while Head coach Candice Signor-Brown and assistant coach Claire Mattox were named Liberty League Coaching Staff of the year.
Geneseo makes their 11th NCAA Tournament appearance and fourth straight as an at-large selection after falling to New Paltz 63-57 in the SUNYAC championship game. The Knights fell to Ithaca, 54-47, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last season, after earning an automatic bid as 2018 conference champions. Geneseo won two home games to kick off the 2017 tournament two seasons ago, including a 78-72 victory over Rochester to advance to the "Sweet 16" for the second time in three seasons. The Knights have advanced as far as the sectional finals on three occasions, falling to Salem State, 76-65, in 1995, and to Scranton, 79-70, in 1993.
Sophomore guards Lindsay Halpin and Natalie Alfieri and senior forward McKenna Brooks all landed SUNYAC All-Star honors. Halpin and Brooks were named to the First Team. Halpin led the league with 4.4 assists per game and ranked third in the league with 2.0 steals while averaging 10.3 points. Brooks, the 2017-18 SUNYAC Player of the Year, averaged a team-high 12.8 points and 8.6 rebounds, along with 1.7 block and 1.6 steals. She became the 16th player in Geneseo history to reach 1,000 career points and is just the second to reach 1,000 points, 700 rebounds, 100 blocks and 100 steals.