AMHERST, Mass. – For the first time in more than two seasons, the Amherst College women's basketball team has suffered a defeat, with their 68-game winning streak ending on Tuesday night in LeFrak Gymnasium at the hands of Eastern Connecticut State University.
The Warriors came from 15 points down to start the fourth quarter and outscored No. 1 Amherst 26-8 over the final ten minutes to hand the two-time defending champions a 70-67 setback.
Mya Villard, who led all players with 23 points, made layups with fifty-seven seconds and thirty-three seconds remaining to put the Warriors up by a point each time. Hannah Fox '20 gave Amherst back the lead after the first one with a layup to cap her 21-point night, but Amherst could not answer the Warriors after Villard gave them a 68-67 lead.
Julie Keckler made both of her free-throws to put ECSU ahead by three points, and Amherst missed a three at the final buzzer to try and send the game to overtime.
Fox and Madeline Eck '20 (19 points) powered the Amherst offense, but the Mammoths did not get to the foul line in three of the four quarters and were outscored 21-7 at the charity stripe, where the Warriors got 14 of their 26 fourth quarter points.
Amherst led 24-16 after one quarter and 43-32 at the break behind 17 first half points from Eck. The Warriors opened the third quarter on a 6-0 run and eventually cut the lead to just five points at 45-40, but Amherst responded with layups by Fox, Meghan Sullivan '19 and Jade Duval '22 to get the lead back in double-figures.
Fox hit a jump shot in the opening minute of the fourth quarter to extend Amherst's lead to 17 points. A layup by Duval kept it at 65-49 with 7:40 to play in regulation, but Villard immediately answered with a three-point play to spark a 17-0 run for the Warriors, which culminated with them taking the lead on Villard's layup just under a minute left.
Over that time, the Warriors held Amherst scoreless for more than seven minutes.
Duval was in double figures for Amherst with 13 points, and fellow first year Dani Valdez had eight points, ten rebounds, three blocks and two steals.
The Warriors defense kept Amherst to an uncharacteristic 2-16 shooting night from behind the three-point line while shooting nearly 50% from the floor themselves, behind Villard (10-15), Kelsey Santaga, who went 6-13 and 2-3 from three-point range for a 17-point performance, and Keckler (4-8, 11 points).
Jenna Serrantino was a perfect 8-8 from the foul line and 2-3 from the field for ECSU (2-1).
Amherst had an 18-3 edge in points off of turnovers and a 15-2 edge in bench scoring and didn't trail until the final minute of play.
The last time Amherst lost a game was on March 19th of 2016, when they fell to Thomas More in the NCAA Final Four. Earlier that season, Amherst lost by a point to Tufts, the last time the Mammoths were defeated on their home court in LeFrak.
Amherst (2-1) will try to start a new streak a week from tonight when they travel to Emmanuel (MA) for a 7:30 PM game.