Women’s basketball wins Winter Classic

It seems like winter break was a welcome one for the Williams women’s basketball team.

In its first games after the two-week layoff, the Williams women’s basketball team improved its overall record to 6-2 with a pair of wins in the Williams Winter Classic. The team had suffered consecutive losses before the hiatus, but it came together well in the tournament, holding on in the last few minutes to defeat the Bantams of Trinity 64-61 in the championship contest.

The Ephwomen entered Sunday’s final knowing that they would need a strong performance from everyone on the team to defeat the previously undefeated Bantams. Though Williams trailed for most of the first 15 minutes of the contest, the team got right back in the game behind strong defense and the post play of Rebecca Brooks ’00. Brooks battled down low and had 12 points at the half, while keeping Trinity’s center, Gretchen MacColl, in check.

Williams made a run with about five minutes to go in the period, and the Ephs took a slim lead into halftime.

In the second half, the Ephs looked to continue going to Brooks on the offensive end, but the senior center got in foul trouble early in the half, sending her to the bench. However, her replacement, Abi Jackson ’03, stepped on the court and sparked a Williams run. Jackson scored 10 points in her reserve role, helping extend the Ephs’ lead. Williams’ strong defense and rebounding kept the Ephwomen up to six to eight points for much of the period.

In the final few minutes, the Bantams streaked back into the game behind several key outside shots from Jackie Siscone and missed free throws by the Ephs. Finally, as Trinity attempted to tie the game, Liz Tilley ’01, who was a critical part of the Ephs’ offense and defense all weekend, hit three of four free throws and secured the 64-61 victory.

Brooks ended the game with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds. She was followed in scoring by Jackson, who had 12, Robyn Goldman ’01, who had 10, and Nicole Stephens ’02 and Tilley, who each had nine. Tilley also had six assists and three steals. Brooks was chosen as the tournament MVP for her performance, and Tilley was also named to the all-tournament team.

In the first round of the Winter Classic, Williams defeated a scrappy team from Salve Regina by the final of 74-51. Brooks again led the team in scoring, recording another double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds. Williams never trailed in the game, holding a double-digit advantage for a majority of the contest. Stephens also chipped in 14 points and seven boards, while Sam Daigneault ’00 and Kate Stumpo ’03 each scored 10 points.

Williams is currently ranked 18th in the nation in the D3 Hoops national poll, but the Ephs are soon to enter the hard NESCAC season. The Ephwomen will meet two challenging foes this week, as they face Springfield at home tonight at 7:30 p.m. and then travel to Amherst for a 6 p.m. tip on Saturday. These games are both important tests before the team enters league play.