Courtesy of Amherst Sports Information
AMHERST, Mass. – The second-seeded Amherst women's basketball team advanced to the NESCAC Championship Semifinals for the 12th consecutive year with a victory over seventh-seeded Wesleyan, 60-40, on Saturday at LeFrak Gymnasium.
Amherst will face No. 3 Tufts on Saturday, February 23 at 4 p.m. at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. The top-seeded Polar Bears will host N. 5 Middlebury in the other semifinal. The winners will meet in the championship game on Sunday, February 24.
Junior Hannah Fox scored a game-high 23 points to lead the way for the three-time defending champions.
Amherst (23-2) used a 19-6 third quarter to break open a game in which it led by just nine at the half. Fox was 4-for-9 from 3-point land, while Maeve McNamara was 3-for-6 from downtown and scored 15 points to go with six assists.
Madeline Eck added five assists of her own and Meghan Sullivan scored 13 points and corralled 11 rebounds, also handing out three assists.
McNamara nailed a 3-pointer to jump-start the Amherst offense off the tip and the Mammoths never trailed. Fox had 10 points before the end of the first quarter and the Mammoths, behind a 9-for-16 shooting effort, led 23-14 at the first intermission.
Wesleyan, which was led by 13 points from Tara Berger, shot 44 percent from the field in the opening quarter.
Both teams struggled shooting in the second quarter, with neither team reaching double-digits. Amherst was held scoreless until under the four-minute mark, but the Cardinals were only able to cut the deficit to six points, and the Amherst lead stood at nine at the break.
Fox and McNamara accounted for all of the scoring in a 12-1 run to open up the second half, capped by a 3-pointer by McNamara to put Amherst ahead, 43-23, more than halfway through the frame. The Mammoths' advantage grew to 32 by the end of the period as Amherst held Wesleyan to two field goals while Fox and McNamara scored seven points apiece and Sullivan added five more.
The largest lead for Amherst came midway through the fourth quarter, when another three by Fox put the home team ahead, 58-32.
Wesleyan (14-11) ended the night shooting 31 percent from the floor, with Olivia Gorman, Caleigh Ryan and Marina Petruzzi scoring eight points apiece. Ryan grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.
Fox had six rebounds while Cam Hendricks had eight caroms, two blocks, and two steals. Amherst held a 39-35 on the boards, though Wesleyan had the edge in bench points (11-7) and points in the paint (22-20).