Women’s basketball wins four out of five

The Williams women’s basketball team has won four of its last five games, including a sensational 71-57 victory against Amherst that avenged a 53-50 loss earlier in January. A pair of wins against Colby and Bowdoin over the weekend improved Williams’ overall record to 15-6.

In their final home game of the season Saturday afternoon, the Ephs outlasted Bowdoin 60-49. The first half saw Bowdoin come out with hot shooting, as the Polar Bears led by as many as eight in the first 10 minutes. The Ephs tied the game at 26 with two minutes to go in the half, and then took the lead on a tip-in by Katie Ford ’00. Though they shot only 35 percent from the field compared to Bowdoin’s 43 percent, the Ephwomen managed to take a 29-28 lead into halftime.

The second half was competitive at both ends, as there were eight ties and 14 lead changes. A three pointer by Liz Tilley ’01 with 6:30 left put Williams on top by two, and the Ephs didn’t trail the rest of the game. Turnovers and poor shooting plagued Bowdoin all half, and six turnovers in the final five minutes doomed the Polar Bears. Tilley made five of her six free throws in the final three minutes to seal the win.

On the afternoon, Williams shot 31 percent from the field, while Bowdoin finished at 32 percent. Though the Polar Bears outrebounded the Ephs 42-37, the visitors committed 23 turnovers to Williams’ 13. The Ephs also made 11 steals to Bowdoin’s one. Leading the Ephs in scoring was Rebecca Brooks with 15 points. She also had 10 rebounds for a double-double. Tilley and Ford each added 13 points, while Kate Stumpo had nine.

The night before, Williams took out the White Mules of Colby 68-50 in Chandler. The Ephs jumped out to a sizable lead in the opening minutes only to see the Mules jump back into the game with a 13-2 run to go up 20-19 with eight minutes remaining in the first half. Colby’s zone defense was effective at shutting down Williams center Rebecca Brooks ’00 in the half, but it allowed Tilley to get open looks from the outside and to penetrate to the basket. Tilley proceeded to score 17 points in the first, and a late Eph run put the team up 34-29.

In the second half, as Colby had to respect the drives of Tilley, Sam Daigneault ’00 and Kate Stumpo ’03, among others, the White Mules left Brooks open inside and she stepped up accordingly. Brooks came alive underneath, scoring 13 of her 17 points on the night in the second, and the Ephwomen cruised to the win. Tilley finished with a game-high 22 points, and Abi Jackson ’03 chipped in nine points off of the bench. Ford and Tilley each had a seven rebounds to lead the team.

A week before the win against Colby, the Ephs captured their biggest win of the year against the Lord Jeffs in front of a packed house in Chandler. The contest marked the 46th time that the two teams had faced off, and the win gave Williams a 26-20 advantage in the series.

The game began with both teams shooting poorly, and as a result, each team had scored only eight points in the first nine minutes of play. After Amherst went on top 15-13 behind 7 points from Naomi Sullivan, the Ephs exploded and went on a 14-0 lead. First, Melissa Skeffington ’03 connected on a three-point attempt, then Tilley followed with one of her own to put Williams up by four. The Ephs’ defense shut down the Jeffs one possession after another, forcing bad shots and turnovers. When the first half was over, Williams held a comfortable 32-18 lead.

In the second half both teams played much better, but Amherst couldn’t cut the Eph eight under eight points as the Ephs held strong against Amherst runs. Williams led by as many as 17 in the second half and they ended up winning by the 14-point margin it enjoyed at the half, 71-57.

Tilley played an excellent all-around game at the point, scoring a game-high 21 points, dishing out seven assists and pulling down five rebounds.

Three other Ephs scored in double figures. Nicole Stephens ’02 gave a tremendous effort off of the bench, finishing with 15. Brooks added 13 points and seven rebounds, while Stumpo had 11 points and five boards.

Sandwiched in between the Amherst and Colby games were a win and a loss for the Ephwomen. On the Saturday after the Amherst victory, the Ephs traveled to Hartford to face a Trinity team that they had beaten earlier in the season.

However, in the second meeting, the Bantams took the lead from the tip-off and coasted to a 67-55 win. Trinity dominated the first half and took an insurmountable 35-17 lead. Williams fought back in the second half and actually outscored Trinity 38-32, but the team was unable to rebound from its first half performance in which it shot only 25 percent from the field.

Brooks and Tilley were once again the Ephs’ top players, as Brooks had a double-double of 21 points and 13 rebounds and Tilley had 16 points and eight assists.

In the other game between the Amherst and Colby contests, Williams posted an easy 61-38 win against MCLA.

The Ephs will finish up their regular season with three league road games. They will face Tufts on Friday at 7 p.m. and Bates on Saturday at 3 p.m. Williams’ final NESCAC game will be on Tuesday. Feb. 22 at Middlebury.

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