HADLEY, Mass. - Amherst posted an unblemished league record at 10-0 to earn the top seed in the 2017 NESCAC Women’s Basketball Championship. Quarterfinal action gets underway on Saturday, February 18 with Amherst, Tufts, Bowdoin and Middlebury hosting games. The highest seed following the quarterfinal round will host both semifinals and the final on February 25-26. The NESCAC Champion will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Amherst (24-0, 10-0 NESCAC), the defending NESCAC Champion, clinched the top seed behind a one-point victory over Tufts on February 4. The Purple & White are the No. 1 seed for the fifth time in program history and the first time since 2012. Amherst has advanced to the semifinals nine straight years and will be looking to make its ninth appearance in the championship game in 10 years. Amherst slipped past Tufts, 50-49, in last year’s final.
The Purple & White will face eighth-seed Bates (8-15, 3-7 NESCAC) in the quarterfinals. The Bobcats, Hamilton and Trinity all finished with identical conference records of 3-7. In head-to-head competition, Bates went 2-0 against the other two teams to grab the No. 8 seed. Amherst owns a 3-2 record against Bates in tournament play. The teams last met in the 2016 quarterfinals with the Purple & White posting a victory. During the regular season, Amherst earned a 75-37 road win on February 3.
Bates is making back-to-back appearances in the NESCAC Championship for the first time since the 2010 and 2011 seasons. The Bobcats are the eighth seed for the first time and their last semifinal appearance was in 2010, when they faced the Purple & White. Bates has won two of its last three games entering the tournament.
Tufts (22-1, 9-1 NESCAC) is making its 15th straight tournament appearance. The Jumbos are the No. 2 seed for the first time since 2012 and have won two of the last three NESCAC titles. The only blemish on the Jumbos’ record this year was a one-point loss to Amherst on February 4.
If the Jumbos are to make their fourth straight semifinal appearance and return to the championship game for the fourth consecutive year, they will have to get past seventh-seeded Williams (15-9, 4-6 NESCAC). The Ephs, Colby and Connecticut College all finished with 4-6 records in conference play. In head-to-head competition, Colby went 2-0, Connecticut College was 1-1 and Williams finished 0-2 versus the other two schools. Therefore, Colby earned the No. 5 seed, Connecticut College received the sixth seed and Williams came away with the seventh seed.
Williams has appeared in every NESCAC Tournament and is the No. 7 seed for the first time. A win over Tufts would put Williams into the semifinal round for the second time in three years. The Ephs finished February with a 2-2 record and wrapped up the regular season with a 91-65 victory over Bates. Williams owns a 2-1 record against Tufts in the tournament, but the Jumbos won the most recent meeting in the 2015 semifinals. Tufts won the regular season matchup, 61-27, in Williamstown, Massachusetts on February 10.
Bowdoin (20-3, 8-2 NESCAC) is the No. 3 seed for the second straight year and fourth time overall. The Polar Bears have earned a tournament berth every year and advanced to the semifinals each time. Bowdoin, which looks to return to the championship game for the second time in three years, will meet No. 6 Connecticut College (16-8, 4-6 NESCAC) in the quarterfinals. The two teams will face each other for the second time in a week as they played in the regular season finale on February 11 with the Polar Bears earning a 68-49 victory. The Camels are making their fourth straight tournament appearance, the longest streak in program history. The quarterfinal matchup will mark the first postseason meeting between Bowdoin and Connecticut College. A win for the Camels would mark the program’s first tournament victory
The remaining quarterfinal features fourth-seeded Middlebury (16-7, 6-4 NESCAC) and fifth-seeded Colby (12-11, 4-6 NESCAC). The Panthers are in the NESCAC Championship for the third straight season and are seeking their first semifinal appearance since 2013. Middlebury enters the championship with a 2-2 record in its last four games. Colby won back-to-back games to close out the regular season and is the fifth seed for the second straight year. Colby, which advanced to the semifinals last season, dropped an overtime decision at Middlebury, 64-49, on February 3, but defeated the Panthers in the only tournament game between the two teams in the 2011 quarterfinals.
Results for the NESCAC Women’s Basketball Championship will be available at the completion of each day on the NESCAC website.