Mass College Hoops Recap: Amherst 80, Williams 58 (Women)

By Matt Noonan 

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – Entering Wednesday’s contest against Williams College, the Amherst College women’s basketball team had won 36 consecutive games.

Once the match concluded, the Lord Jeffs chalked up their 37th consecutive win, and 18th victory of the season, as they defeated the Ephs, 80-58.

“This is always a big game, we’re always excited for it, we’re always preparing the best we can,” said Amherst head coach GP Gromacki.

“I just thought our defense kind of let us down tonight,” said Williams’ head coach Pat Manning. “Amherst is a team that you can’t make defensive lapses or mental mistakes [against], and we did a lot of that tonight.”

The Lord Jeffs used a 30-7 run halfway through the opening frame, which propelled them earn a comfortable 45-21 advantage at intermission that they never relinquished.

Amherst connected on 15 of 32 shots during the opening 20 minutes, which included five three-pointers. Senior Caroline Stedman paced the Lord Jeffs with 22 points, while freshman Megan Robertson added 16 points and 10 rebounds.

“This is always a big game against Williams, they’re one of our best rivals, one of the best teams in the league, so we were really prepared, and I think we executed our game plan, [and] did what we needed to do tonight,” said Stedman.

Williams kept things close after winning the tip, but 11 turnovers, and 15 missed shots allowed Amherst to earn the lead for good when junior Marcia Voigt sank a trifecta at 10:18 before Stedman connected on a three-pointers two minutes later.

“Those two, [Stedman and Robertson] got us going, and we kind of fed off that, [and took] it from there,” said Gromacki.

“In the beginning, we weren’t playing our game, we were playing a little sloppy, and coach told us we needed to pick it up, so that’s what we did,” said Stedman. “My players found me, and I hit the shot that sparked our run.”

Ephs senior Jill Greenberg recorded a jump shot with 4:34 remaining, but the Williams offense struggled to convert any points for the remainder of the half.

“We went down in the second half of the first half, and we stopped driving, we stopped attacking the hoop, and that coast us,” said Manning.

Williams attempted to rally, and erase Amherst’s rather large lead during the first few minutes of the second frame when they registered seven points, five of which were recorded by senior Lisa Jaris, but Amherst regrouped, as well as regained the momentum when senior Lem Atanga McCormick sank two free throws, and Stedman forced a steal that led to an open court layup.

The Lord Jeffs offense then tallied 29 points, which helped them capture their ninth consecutive victory against Williams, which dates back to January 26, 2008.

“We’re fortunate to have players who play hard, and do the things they need to do,” said Gromacki. “They’re a great team, this is a fun rivalry.”

Amherst will continue their seven-game road swing on Saturday when they travel to Trinity, while Williams will head to Middlebury; both games are slated for a 2:00pm tip.

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