Amherst Races to Season Opening Win over Knights

Amherst Races to Season Opening Win over Knights

AMHERST, Mass. – The top-ranked Amherst College women's basketball team opened up a 28-10 lead in the opening quarter and then held New Jersey City University to just 14 points over the next thirty minutes as the Mammoths earned an 80-24 victory in their season opener on Sunday afternoon at LeFrak Gymnasium.

The Mammoths improve to 1-0 on the season, while NJCU sees their ledger even at 1-1.

Hannah Fox '20 scored a game-high 16 points, leading four Mammoths in double-figures. Sophomore Gabrielle Zaffiro scored 12 points, eight of them in the first quarter, and also had five of Amherst's 15 steals and a team-high three assists.

Defensively, Amherst held NJCU to just 7-47 from the floor and 0-8 from behind the three-point line. NJCU didn't convert from the field (0-12) in the third quarter, and also struggled at the foul line, going 10-23 at the stripe in the game.

Amherst took a 5-4 lead with less than two and a half minutes gone in the first quarter and never trailed again. They closed out the first half on a 16-2 run over the final 5:36.They took a double-digit lead on a three-pointer made by Cam Hendricks '20, putting the hosts up 20-9 with 1:51 remaining in the period.

Fox finished the quarter with a flourish, scoring layups on three straight possessions. The second two were converted off of Amherst steals, the first by Fox and the second by Dani Valdez '22, who led all players with 11 rebounds to go with five points and two blocks.

Aaliyah McCrae scored seven points off the bench to lead the Gothic Knights. Mccrae had 4 rebounds for NJCU, co-leading the team with Ayanna Lewis in a game in which the visitors were outrebounded 56-30 by the Mammoths.

First years Olivia Pachla and Maggie Shipley had double-digit scoring nights in their collegiate debuts, each adding 10 points off the Amherst bench, which outscored the NJCU reserves 32-10. The Mammoths also led in points in the paint (36-10), second chance points (18-4) and points off of turnovers (23-6).

Shipley added four rebounds, two steals, three assists and two blocks.

Fox was +42 for the game, while Hendricks, who scored 9 points, was +40 in 25 minutes of action.

Amherst shot 8-15 (53.3%) from the floor and hit 4-8 from long range in the third quarter to extend their lead to 64-19 by the end of the period. Hendricks and Shipley were both 2-2 from three-point land in the third.

Jasmine Reese scored 5 points for the Gothic Knights, and she was the only player to hit more than one field goal. Alexandria Sams had four steals in the loss.

Amherst is at home again next weekend when they host Ithaca on Saturday at 6:00 PM in the opener of the Tip-Off Classic.