AMHERST, Mass. – Holding the Bobcats from scoring for over eight minutes to open the second half, No. 4 Amherst College women's basketball prevailed in a defense-driven New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) bout, winning 43-37 on Friday night at LeFrak Gymnasium.
Improving their #2 ranking in scoring defense, Amherst secures their third conference win on the season to move to 15-1 overall and an unblemished 3-0 in NESCAC play. Dropping their first game in five contests, Bates falls to 9-6 and an even 1-1 in conference.
Holding Amherst to their lowest scoring output on the season, the Bobcats came out strong in the opening stanza as Ariana Dalia tallied eight of the Bobcats 13 first quarter points.
With eight thefts in the opening 10 minutes, the Bobcats stifling defense kept them in it, but Amherst answered by forcing three turnovers of their own and saw balanced scoring, but the Mammoths went into the second quarter down two.
Amherst applied pressure early in the second, recording three steals in the opening minute and a half. Down 15-13 at 7:10, the Mammoths scored six unanswered points to regain the lead and remain on top heading into the break.
Improving from their first quarter shooting percentage of 30.8%, the Mammoths shot 41.7% from the floor in the second while Bates had a 37.5% field goal percentage and 50% from the line. Both teams caused a significant amount of turnovers, with Bates entering the half with 10, while the Mammoths had four steals.
Bobcat Ariana Dalia led all scorers with eight points, while Madeline Eck '20 and Courtney Resch '22 had four rebounds apiece, adding six and two points, respectively. Dani Valdez also shot 50% off the bench with one board, while Hannah Fox '20 added five points, three boards, and one dime.
Out of the halftime gate, the Mammoths reclaimed the momentum and rattled off a 9-0 run. On the defensive end, they stood tall and refused to give up a point until Mia Roy finally broke through with a three-pointer at the 1:47 mark, which was over 10 minutes of play since their last field goal.
The Bobcats finished with five points in the third quarter as the Mammoths entered the final period of play up 35-25. However, a 7-0 run fueled by three free-throws from Dalia and two-pointers from Roy and Meghan Graff put Bates within three (37-34).
After a pair of turnovers from both sides, Eck drove the lane and scored a pivotal layup with just under three remaining in the game. Up four after another free throw from Dalia, Eck scored again to place the Mammoths up six with a minute remaining and eventually iced the game with a pair of free throws to help secure the Mammoths 12th consecutive win on the season tab.
Leading with a game-high 19 points, Eck contributed to the defensive end as well with five boards and two blocks. Courtney Resch '22, who's first in the NESCAC for blocked shots (43), added to her total with four blocks and contributed eight points, as well as eight rebounds.
Dalia finished the game with a team-high 16 points, while Taylor McVeigh and Julia Middlebrook each recorded four of the Bobcats 17 steals on the night.
The Mammoths shot 9-12 (75%) from the line including a perfect 6-6 from Eck. Amherst also held an advantage in field goal percentage, finishing at 37.2% to Bates 25.9% mark.
Bates' 37-point mark is the Mammoths second-best defensive performance on the season as the only other game with fewer points came from their matchup with NJCU (24).
The Mammoths are right back in action in a huge NESCAC bout at LeFrak Gymnasium as the Mammoths play host to #1 Tufts tomorrow, Jan. 17th, in a battle of top-ranked teams at 3:00 PM. Bates returns to the floor when they travel to Hamilton tomorrow for a 3:00 PM matchup.