Courtesy of Amherst Sports Information
AMHERST, Mass. – Hannah Hackley scored her 1,000th point and Amherst College set a New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) women's basketball tournament record by holding Wesleyan University to just 17% shooting as the Mammoths defeated the Cardinals 58-31 in the semifinals on Saturday afternoon at LeFrak Gymnasium.
Amherst (26-0) will play in their third straight NESCAC championships game, looking for their third straight conference title. The fifth seeded Cardinals end their season with a 17-8 record overall.
Hackley eclipsed the 1,000 point plateau in the second quarter, and ended the game with 11 points, three assists and two steals. Amherst's defense was highlighted by senior Jackie Nagle's seven blocks, tying the record for blocks in a NESCAC women's basketball tournament game.
Madeline Eck and Nagle led Amherst with 12 points apiece, while Emma McCarthy shot 50% from the floor and scored 8 points for the Mammoths.
Tara Berger recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds to lead Wesleyan, who also got 12 rebounds and eight points out of Maddie Bledsoe.
Both teams had a tough time breaking the playoff jitters early in the contest, and Amherst led 12-11 after one period.
The Mammoths' defense only allowed Wesleyan to shoot 1-15 in the second quarter and 4-29 in the half. Meanwhile, Amherst shot 14-32 and dominated the glass on both ends of the floor. Amherst out rebounded the Cardinals 29 to 15 in the first half. Hackley led all scorers at the break with nine points and Amherst led 30-16.
The Mammoths came out quick after halftime and started the third quarter on a 12-3 run. Wesleyan's Bledsoe started the quarter three of her own but after twelve straight points, Amherst had increased their lead 42-21. The Mammoths went into the final 10:00 minutes of the game with a 47-24 lead.
Amherst picked up right where they left off in the fourth, starting the final quarter on a 9-0 run before a Tara Berger free throw brought the score to 56-25. The Mammoths didn't allow Wesleyan to make a field goal in the fourth until there was 2:39 left to play in the game. Amherst held their 30-point lead for the remainder game until Katy O'Connor hit a last second three to end the game 58-32 in favor of Amherst.
Amherst out-rebounded Wesleyan for the game 48-35 and finished the game with nine blocks and 16 assists, including three apiece from Natalie Nardella, Eck, and Hannah Fox.
The Mammoths host the winner of the other semifinal between Tufts and Bowdoin in the NESCAC women's basketball championship game on Sunday at 12:00 pm at LeFrak.