ORANGE, Calif. – Battling to two hard fought wins, the sixth-ranked Amherst College women's basketball team capped off their trip out west in style, downing the University of Redlands, 54-46, and Chapman University, 62-58, at the Harold Hutton Sports Center.
With the victories, Amherst heads back to the east coast with an 8-1 overall ledger, while Redlands drops to 8-4 on the year and Chapman falls to 5-6 overall. The Mammoths return to the court on Saturday, January 4, when they travel to Chester, Penn. to take on undefeated and No. 24 Widener University (11-0). Opening tipoff is slated for 4:00PM.
GAME ONE: AMHERST 54, REDLANDS 46
Adding more than 15-points to the board in each of the first three quarters to take a 41-34 lead, the Bulldogs cut the Mammoths' advantage to nine with 7:26 to go behind a strong final stanza to make it interesting late. Redlands rally proved too little too late however, as the Amherst defense held off the visitors to pick up their fourth straight win, 54-46.
Combining for 38 points in the win, seniors Madeline Eck and Hannah Fox led the Mammoths' attack, with Eck shooting 9-18 from the floor and amassing eight rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks in an impressive all-around game and Fox going 7-20 while hauling and seven rebounds to go along with an assist and a steal.
The lone Bulldog to hit double-digits, Alyssa Downs was the contest's second leading scorer with 19 points on 7-11 shooting for Redlands. Hannah Jerrier led the visitors with seven rebounds to go along with two helpers and a steal, while Cassandra Lacey's four steals led all players.
Rebounds, points off of turnovers and second chance points stood as the difference makers in the victory, with the Mammoths owning a 42-28, 18-11 and 13-6 edge, respectively, in the categories.
GAME TWO: AMHERST 62, CHAPMAN 58
Trailing by four entering the fourth quarter and down 52-48 with 5:33 remaining in regulation, the Mammoths exploded for a 14-6 run in the final minutes to thwart the Panthers' upset bid and earn the 62-58 win. Tying the game at 55-55 with 1:03 on the clock, first-year Maggie Shipley came up with the clutch jumper to even the score before the Mammoths' defense forced a turnover and regained possession with just over 40 seconds to go.
Collecting the dish from Hendricks beyond the arc, Resch got Amherst fans on their feet 21 seconds before the final buzzer, draining the three-pointer to give the visitors the lead. A made layup by Chapman got the Panthers back within one at the 12 second mark, but Resch had ice in her veins with time winding down – going a perfect 4-4 on two trips to the free throw line to keep the Mammoths in the win column and help Amherst finish off a 4-0 trip out west.
Eck led all players with 20 points and also grabbed 12 rebounds, including five in the offensive end, while Resch and Shipley rounded out Amherst's double-digit point getters with 14 and 12 points, respectively. Resch also matched the Panthers' blocking efforts, turning away three shots to account for half of the Mammoths' six blocks.
Three of the Panthers' starters hit double-digits, with Marissa Dunn netting 14 points and Lucy Criswell and Julianna Campas tallying 10 points each. Criswell led the home team with seven rebounds, while her four steals were a contest-high.
Amherst went 23-61 from the floor (37.7%) and shot 12-15 from the stripe, while Chapman sunk 19 of 59 shots (32.2%). Outrebounding the Panthers 46-37, the Mammoths also saw crucial advantages in points in the paint (32-20) and points off the bench (21-8).