Amelia Clairmont‘s go-ahead jumper with two seconds remaining capped an impressive 10-0 run for Smith College, which hung onto beat SUNY New Paltz, 62-60, in the second round of the NCAA D-III Women’s Basketball Tournament.
With the win, the Pioneers earned their first trip to the NCAA “Sweet 16” next Friday, March 13th against Messiah College, which beat Eastern Connecticut, 60-50, in its second-round contest earlier this evening.
Smith and New Paltz entered the final frame tied at 47-47 before the Hawks pushed ahead with a 13-5 run that was capped by a Maddie Gillis three-pointer with 3:02 remaining.
The Pioneers halted the spurt with a three-pointer by Jessie Ruffner which ignited a 10-0 run by the visitors that included baskets by Clairmont and Morgan Morrison. Morrison’s jumper with 1:05 remaining tied the game at 60-60 – New Paltz tried to counter on the ensuing possession with Gillis, who missed a jumper in the paint. Smith grabbed the rebound, called timeout and drew up a play for Clairmont to score the game-winning basket in the paint.
Clairmont concluded Saturday’s contest with a team-high 20 points on 6 of 13 shooting to go with three rebounds and one assist while Katelyn Pickunka added 10 points and seven rebounds.
Prior to tonight’s win over the Hawks, Smith beat DeSales University yesterday in the opening day of the NCAA D-III Tournament.