The Mules of Colby enter the contest riding an impressive 13-game winning streak – they extended that streak last weekend with back-to-back wins over Connecticut College and Trinity College. Sam Jefferson is one of two players in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) averaging 22.8 points per game – he will certainly be a player to watch on Friday evening, as well as someone the Panthers will need to locate when he is on the court.
As for the Panthers, they enter this marquee matchup with a 15-1 mark – they lost last weekend to Amherst College but rebounded the following day with a one-point win over Hamilton College. Tommy Eastman highlighted the Blue and White’s win over the Continentals – similar to Jefferson, he will also be a player to watch in this contest.
Noontime’s Prediction: I think the Panthers’ win over Hamilton provided them with some momentum that not only helped them against Albertus Magnus earlier this week but should assist them to make a few more plays than Colby, especially down the stretch. Middlebury will beat Colby, 81-78.
Tufts University at Amherst College (Saturday, January 18th at 3 p.m.): It may be too early to call this a ‘must-win’ game for both teams, but as two of the top three women’s basketball teams in the NESCAC, this is a VERY important contest.
Since falling to Emmanuel College last month, the Mammoths have won 11-straight – they will attempt to make it 12-straight wins when they host Bates College this evening with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m.
Amherst’s Madeline Eck was named the conference’s player of the week on Monday – she entered the week averaging 15.6 points per game. The senior guard, who has played and started in all 15 games this season, has converted 72.1 percent of her free throws while averaging seven caroms per contest.
First-year coach Jill Pace has enjoyed a very successful start with the Jumbos, who enter this weekend riding a 14-game winning streak. Before Tufts visits Amherst on Saturday, they will travel to Hamilton on Friday for a 7 p.m. tip-off.
Tufts opened conference play last week with a 78-60 win over Wesleyan University – it was a game that featured a double-double of 28 points and 10 rebounds by Erica DeCandido. DeCandido will be a player to watch on the Powder Blue and White against the Mammoths on Saturday.
Noontime’s Prediction: This will be a good test for both teams, but Amherst has been impressive since falling to the Saints and should find a way to beat the Jumbos on their home court by a score of 63-57.
Time for some ‘extra picks’ for the weekend!
MBB: Tufts (MBB) over Hamilton (Jan. 17th): After falling to Suffolk University earlier this week, the Jumbos will find a way to bounce back against the Continentals before hosting the Mammoths on Saturday afternoon.
MBB: Emmanuel College over Lasell University (Jan. 18th): Coach Danny Lawson and the Saints should continue their recent momentum at home against the Lasers and score their first conference win of 2020.
WBB: Smith College over Emerson College (Jan. 18th): The Pioneers scored an impressive road win earlier this week against the Ephs of Williams College and should be able to continue that momentum on the other side of the state against the Lions.
MBB: Endicott College over Roger Williams (Jan. 18th): The Gulls have rebounded nicely since falling to Nichols College earlier this month with back-to-back wins over Curry College and Gordon College. Look for a big game on Saturday from Keith Brown and Jalen Echevarria.
WBB: Rhode Island College over UMass Boston (Jan. 18th): RIC appears to be the team to beat in the Little East Conference (LEC) – they enter Saturday’s match-up riding an 11-game winning streak. RIC’s Willcia McBorrough will be the player to watch in this contest.
WBB: Westfield State over Bridgewater State (Jan. 18th): After surrendering 101 points to Framingham State last weekend, the Owls have rebounded with some important conference wins over Fitchburg State and Worcester State. Look for Blue and White to extend their current winning streak to three games on Saturday.
WBB: Eastern Nazarene at Mitchell College (Jan. 18th): The Lions appear to be the team to beat (and watch) in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) – this has the making of a potential postseason preview.
By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports & @Noontime_Hoops
Another exciting season of New England D3 basketball has concluded, which means it is time to unveil our end of the year All-Noontime Teams, along with our Coach, Rookie, and Player of the Year, too.
This year’s All-Noontime Team was assembled by our Noontime Basketball committee, which is made up of coaches, media members, and athletic communication directors.
As always, make sure to stay connected with our Noontime Sports basketball coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_Hoops.
For the second-straight season, Bowdoin College women’s basketball coach Adrienne Shibles guided the Polar Bears to an NCAA “Final Four” appearance. (PHOTO COURTESY: CIPhotography.com/Bowdoin College Athletics)
Coach of the Year: Adrienne Shibles (Bowdoin College): Shibles guided the Polar Bears to the program’s second perfect regular season, along with a repeat appearance in the NCAA Division III “Final Four.” Bowdoin occupied the top spot in multiple polls this winter, including D3Hoops.com and WBCA, and matched the school record for wins (31) in a single-season. Shibles was recently named the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Division III Coach of the Year.
Abby Kelly guided the Polar Bears to its second perfect season in program history this winter. PHOTO COURTESY (CIPhotography.com/Bowdoin College Athletics)
Player of the Year: Abby Kelly (Bowdoin College): The New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) and D3Hoops.com Northeast Player of the Year guided the Polar Bears back to the NCAA “Final Four” for the second-straight season after averaging 15.4 points per game in 33 contests. Kelly connected on 76.8 percent of her free throws while averaging 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per contest. Kelly became the 15th player in program history this winter to reach 1,000 points when she netted a game-high 27 points in a 72-59 win over Colby College in January.
Caleigh Ryan became the second Wesleyan University women’s basketball player to earn NESCAC Rookie of the Year. PHOTO COURTESY: Steve McLaughlin/Wesleyan University Athletics)
Rookie of the Year: Caleigh Ryan (Wesleyan University): Ryan became the second Cardinal in program history to be named NESCAC Rookie of the Year after averaging 10.6 points per game in 25 contests, along with 7.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists. The New York, New York native posted double-figures in 12 contests, including 22 points in her team’s regular-season finale against Bowdoin. Ryan also helped Wesleyan qualify for the NESCASC Tournament for the second-straight winter with the Cardinals earning a trip to Amherst College.
Abby Kelly poured in a game-high 19 points on 5 of 10 shooting, while Maddie Hasson added 14 points, seven rebounds, one steal and one block as the Bowdoin College women’s basketball team defeated Amherst College, 65-56, in a battle of undefeated New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) teams.
With the win, the Polar Bears improve to 19-0, including 6-0 in league play, while the Mammoths dip to 17-2 and 4-1.
The win provides Bowdoin with an inside track to the top seed in the upcoming NESCAC Tournament with five games remaining on their regular season slate. Bowdoin has defeated some of the league’s top teams this month, including Trinity College and Tufts University.
Saturday’s win erased the memories for Bowdoin of last year’s NCAA Division III championship, which Amherst won by a score of 65-45. The win over the Polar Bears provided the Mammoths with their second-straight national championship.
Amherst led Bowdoin, 34-18, at the break before the Polar Bears clawed back by outscoring the Mammoths, 47-22, over the final two frames. Kelly netted 13 of 19 points in the second half, while Hanson tallied 14 points and seven caroms during the final 20 minutes.
Bowdoin’s Samantha Roy contributed 13 points, six rebounds (four offensive), five assists and two steals, while Amherst’s Madeline Eck led all scorers with 21 points on 7 of 12 shooting, along with five rebounds and three assists.
The Polar Bears will attempt to earn their 20th win of the season on Tuesday when they host New England College. Amherst returns to action next Friday when they visit Tufts for an important contest that will most likely decide the second seed in the upcoming NESCAC Tournament.
The final day of conference tournament madness concluded with a quartet of championship games!
New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC)
Men’s Basketball: Williams 69, Wesleyan 58: The Ephs are headed back to the NCAA Tournament – they secured the automatic invite with a convincing win over the Cardinals, thanks to a game-high 17 points fromJames Heskett.
Women’s Basketball: Amherst 44, Tufts 40: Madeline Eck recorded 17 points, including a late triple and two freebies during the final three minutes to lift the Mammoths past the Jumbos in the NESCAC championship.
New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC)
Men’s Basketball: MIT 63, WPI 57: MIT overcame a four-point deficit at the break to defeat WPI in Springfield. With the win, the Engineers of Cambridge are headed back to the ‘big dance’ for the second-straight season after capturing yet another NEWMAC crown. AJ Jurko netted 16 points in the win – he also recorded eight rebounds, too.
Women’s Basketball: MIT 54, WPI 50: Kristen Ngan came off the bench and netted 14 points, while Taylor V’Dovec added 13 points as MIT won its first-ever NEWMAC championship.