Despite having one of their best seasons ever with 20 wins, the women’s basketball team found out early Sunday evening that they were not among the teams that will compete for the NCAA Division III title. Aired with the feelings of disappointment, there were feelings of surprise. “We were prepared not to make it in [to the tournement], but in the back of our minds we all thought everything would work out for us” Liz Tilley ’01 said.
The Ephs were ranked sixth in the Northeast region, however with the institution of automatic bids, only the top five teams from the region make the tournament. Coach Manning, proud of the team’s accomplishments thus far, is excited about the future. “They accomplished more than any other team,” she said. “Now they have a chance to win a New England title.” Williams will host the ECAC tournament for the first time, and will try to win their first game ever in ECAC post season play.
Earlier in the week, the women ended their regular season with a home win over Hamilton College. Up by only nine at the half the Ephs dominated the second half to walk away with a 76-47 win.
The Ephs may have had a slow start but they demonstrated their prowess in the second half when they scored twice as many points as Hamilton, racking up 40 points. The Ephs stellar defensive overwhelmed Hamilton, who could barely find the basket, scoring only 20 points in the second half.
Kathleen Higgins ’99 was the leading scorer in the game with 21 points, going five for six from behind the arc. Seniors Caroline Nesbit and Alana Teutonico played their final regular season game at Chandler Gym, scoring four and 12 points respectively. Nesbit also pulled down five rebounds and added two assists. Erin Duffy ’99 and Rebecca Brooks ’00 controlled the inside with 10 points, five rebounds and eight points, six rebounds, respectively.
The Ephs demonstrated the depth of their team as a number of players who came off the bench played a definitive role in the win. Katie Ford ’00 scored 10 points, and Tilley scored four. Robin Goldman ’01 demonstrated that she was an integral part of the Williams impenetrable defense as she grabbed five rebounds to go with her two points. Hamilton was led by Ashley Merriman with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Despite their disappointment at not being able to compete in the NCAA tournament, the women now hope to earn an ECAC title. The Ephs will face Westfield State in the first round on Wednesday night at 7:30 p,m.