AMHERST, Mass. – With a 60-40 victory over Wesleyan University, the No. 4 Amherst College women's basketball team has advanced to the semifinals of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) tournament for the 12th consecutive year.
The three-time defending conference champions got 23 points from Hannah Fox '20 to top the Cardinals on Saturday afternoon at LeFrak Gymnasium. They will face Tufts University next Saturday at 4:00 PM on the campus of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. The Polar Bears will host Middlebury in the other semifinal and the winners will meet in the championship game Sunday afternoon.
Amherst (23-2) used a 19-6 third quarter to break open a game in which they led by just nine at the half. Fox was 4-9 from three-point land, while Maeve McNamara '19 was 3-6 from downtown and scored 15 points while dishing out six assists, equaling the assist total of the entire Wesleyan roster.
McNamara nailed a three-pointer to jump-start the Amherst offense off the tip and the Mammoths never trailed. Fox had ten points before the end of the first quarter and the Mammoths, shooting 9-16, were ahead 23-14 at the first intermission.
Wesleyan, who was led by 13 points from Tara Berger, who also had four blocks, shot 44% from the field in the opening quarter but were 0-2 from three-point range, where they finished the night 1-9.
Both teams struggled shooting in the second quarter, with neither team reaching double-digits. Amherst was held scoreless until under the four-minute mark, but the Cardinals were able to cut the deficit only to six points, and the Amherst lead was still nine at the break.
Fox and McNamara accounted for all of the scoring in a 12-1 run to open up the second half, capped by a triple by the senior guard to put Amherst ahead 43-23 more than halfway through the frame. The edge was 22 by the end of the period as the Mammoths held Wesleyan to just two field goals while Fox and McNamara scored seven points apiece and Sullivan added five more.
The largest lead for Amherst came midway through the fourth quarter, when another three by Fox put the home team ahead 58-32.
Wesleyan (14-11) ended the night shooting 31% from the floor, with Olivia Gorman, Caleigh Ryan and Marina Petruzzi scoring eight points apiece. Ryan grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.
Fox had six rebounds and Cam Hendricks '20 had eight caroms, two blocks and two steals. Amherst led 39-35 on the boards, though Wesleyan had the edge in bench points (11-7) and points in the paint (22-20).