LEWISTON, Maine – It has been three weeks since the Amherst College women's basketball team has been home, but the Mammoths completed the road portion of their 2018-19 regular season schedule with a 53-43 victory over Bates on Saturday afternoon at Alumni Gymnasium.
No. 5 Amherst (19-2, 6-1 NESCAC) finishes the regular season 11-1 on the road after going 6-1 over the last three weeks, and now will return home for their final three games of the season, starting next Friday night when they host Williams.
Madeline Eck '20 tallied a game-high 20 points on 8-12 shooting in the win for Amherst. Eck, the leading scorer in the NESCAC, also grabbed seven rebounds, dished out three assists and blocked a pair of shots. She now sits with 988 career points in less than three full seasons, and will have a chance to cross the 1,000 point plateau on Friday against the Ephs.
Hannah Fox scored five points, grabbed nine rebounds and tallied a game-high four assists.
First-year Meghan Graff played all 40 minutes for the Bobcats (10-11, 2-7 NESCAC) and scored a team-high 19 points on 7-19 shooting. Graff scored 11 of her 19 points in the fourth quarter. First-year Ariana Dalia grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds and blocked three shots. Junior Melanie Binkhorst finished in double figures with 10 points and first-year Mia Roy added seven points off the bench.
The Mammoths held Bates to 26.3% shooting while Amherst shot 40.4% from the field. However, the Mammoths only hit 1-10 from three-point range. Meanwhile Bates hit 5-24 from outside the arc. Amherst used its height to outscore the Bobcats 40-10 in the paint, though Bates did out-rebound Amherst by a count of 41-39.
A Binkhorst jumper gave Bates a 2-0 lead less than a minute into the game. After the Mammoths went up 4-2, a Dalia three-point play put Bates ahead 5-4 with 7:16 left in the first quarter. Then the Amherst defense clamped down and the Bobcats did not score again in the quarter, with the Mammoths going on an 8-0 run to take a 12-5 lead.
The run continued in the second quarter and Hendricks hit the Mammoths' lone three of the game to put them up 17-5 with 8:13 left in the half.
Down 19-7 with 7:30 left in the second, the Bobcats chipped away. Roy and Binkhorst knocked down jumpers, then Roy drilled a three to cut the deficit to 19-14 with 3:27 left. After Amherst scored the next four points, Binkhorst hit a three with 1:08 to go, trimming the Amherst lead to 23-17. An Eck layup and a pair of Graff free throws made the score 25-19 in favor of Amherst at the half.
Amherst's defense was on display again in the third quarter and the Mammoths' offense also came alive, outscoring Bates 16-7. A 9-0 run to start the quarter turned a six-point halftime lead into a 34-19 advantage with 4:26 left in the third. McNamara had a pair of layups and Eck converted a three-point play to cap the spurt with Amherst ahead 34-19.
Graff broke the scoreless drought for Bates by making a three-pointer with 3:35 left. Another Graff three cut the Amherst lead to 36-26 with 1:31 remaining, but the Mammoths went on a 5-0 run to go up 41-26 through three quarters of action, enough to hold off a five-point advantage from the home team over the final ten minutes.
Bates is now 7-2 at home this season, with the Bobcats' only losses coming to No. 1 nationally ranked Bowdoin and No. 5 Amherst. The Bobcats hit the road Tuesday to take on Husson at 5:30pm.