Women advance to the NCAA Regional Finals

Coming off of their best regular season ever, the Williams Women continued their winning ways this weekend as they blew past Bowdoin on Saturday night in the second round of the NCAA tournament by the final of 72-58. The Ephs (24-1) now advance to the NCAA Regional Finals, which will be played in Chandler Gym beginning on Friday night.

The Ephwomen came out showing why they were selected as the top seed in the NCAA Northeast region. Rebecca Brooks ’00 was dominant early, hitting consecutive lay-ups to help the Ephs jump out to a 6-0 lead. However, Bowdoin bounced right back as sharp-shooter Monika Dargin nailed two three pointers to give the Polar Bears a one point lead with 14:50 left in the first period.

Bowdoin’s lead was short lived, though, as the Ephs pulled it together and went on an explosive 20-9 run, marked by a Robyn Goldman ’01 bomb from behind the arc to give Williams a 29-19 lead with about five minutes remaining in the first half. Goldman was the hot shooter for the entire evening, exploding for a team-high 19 points off of the bench. The Ephwomen held on to its ten-point lead going into the half, leading 33-23.

The second half featured much more physical play as Bowdoin brought out its full court press. The Eph press break responded with strong up-court passes, not allowing Bowdoin to get back into the game. With only ten minutes left on the clock, Williams held on to its ten-point lead.

The Polar Bears were able to pull within seven points several times in the final ten minutes, but Eph star Kathleen Higgins ’99, who was held scoreless in the first half, drained two three pointers to keep Williams on top. Bowdoin was forced to foul in the last few minutes, sending Williams to the free throw line nine times. The Eph shooters calmly nailed eight of nine attempts to ice the victory.

Williams finished the game with 50 percent shooting from the field, while Bowdoin could only manage 32 percent. The Ephwomen also led at the free throw line, hitting 15 of 22 attempts as opposed to the six of 12 shooting by the Polar Bears.

It was a team effort for Williams featuring four players scoring in double figures for. Besides Goldman’s 19, which included three three-pointers, Higgins knocked in14, Brooks followed with 12, and Liz Tilley ’01 added ten. Erin Duffy ’99 was monster on the boards, pulling down 11 to go with her nine points. Higgins and Tilley each handed out six assists.

Dargin paced Bowdoin with a game-high 22 points, including five threes.

Riding a school record-tying sixteen game win streak, the Ephs have great expectations for this weekend’s action. The Ephs will open with Rowan University on Friday night in a Sweet Sixteen match up. If the squad beats Rowan, they will move on to battle the winner of the Gallaudet University-Salem State College game, also to be contested Friday night in the regional final. The winner of the weekend series will advance to the Final Four at Western Connecticut State College in Danbury, Connecticut to be played over the weekend of March 19-20.