Women’s hoops finds no answer for Bates

Bobcats Carla Flaherty and co-captain Kate Dockery took over women’s basketball’s game against Bates on Saturday, a game the Ephs would ultimately drop 70-61. Dockery came onto the floor red hot, scoring the first five points of the game and 10 of her team’s first 12, before finishing with 16 points at the half.

Though she went scoreless the rest of the way, teammate Flaherty picked up where she left off, dropping in 16 in the second half to total 21 for the game. The victory pushed the Bobcats’ mark to 15-5 and dropped the Ephs to 17-6. Williams remains a half game ahead of Bates in the NESCAC standings, as they fell to 6-2 and Bates improved to 5-2. Both teams trail Bowdoin and Trinity in the loss department with each team entering Saturday’s action with a lone conference loss.

“This game really reminded me of the Bowdoin game,” said head coach Pat Manning, referring to a 66-53 contest her team dropped earlier in the season. “In both games, we let them set the tone of the game, and rather than playing to win the game, we have played not to lose.”

Bates led the whole way with Williams coming as close as five, midway through the first half. But, every time the Ephs would make a mini-run, Bates would answer with a three-point basket, in the first half provided by Dockery and in the second, by Flaherty. Williams had no answer from three-point range: the team shot 0-8 from behind the arc in the first half and improved little in the second, shooting three for 21 on the day, a 14 percent clip. On the other side of the ball, Bates made seven of 21 three-balls (33 percent).

A usual strongpoint for the Ephs, rebounding, may well have been the key to the Bates victory. The Bobcats out-rebounded Williams 48-37. “They just out-hustled us in every phase of the game,” Manning observed. “When they started hitting their shots, we lost our poise and started forcing crazy shots.”

The same Williams squad that shot 44 percent from the floor in a 79-50 victory over Tufts on Friday night, shot just 32 percent on this day. Co-captain Kate Stumpo ’03 shined for the Ephs, scoring 18 points to go along with six rebounds and five assists. Also in double digits for Williams were Melissa Skeffington ’03 with 11 and Kerri McMahon ’05 who added 10. McMahon also tallied four assists and four steals. Noticeably absent from the Williams attack was the usual strong post presence. Bates hustled and helped on defense to limit Eph front-courters to 11 points.

The final regular season match-up for the Ephs will be at Middlebury next Saturday. The Ephs will look to avenge an early season defeat to the Panthers. Williams will then enter NESCAC tournament action where Manning, for one, is looking forward to another chance against both Bates and Bowdoin: “We have to learn from both the defeats and when we get another chance, we have to play like we belong.”

The Ephwomen looked sharp the night before against Tufts, in a game where the Jumbos committed 30 turnovers of which the Ephs would take advantage en route to a 79-50 win. Leading the way for the Ephs were Skeffington, Stumpo and Abi Jackson ’03, who all scored in double figures. Skeffington and Stumpo both dropped in 14, while Jackson scored a game-high 18 points. The loss dropped Tufts to 9-11, and 1-5 in the conference.

“On some teams there is a tendency to overlook an opponent with a big game the next day,” said Manning, “but these girls just focus on one game at a time – they didn’t overlook Tufts.”

The game was won defensively by the Ephs. Before the game, Manning targeted two Jumbos, Erin Harrington and Emily Goodman, as the players whom her squad would have to stop to win the game. Her Ephs did just that. Harrington could not get it going the entire game and finished the night just two for ten from the floor.

Though Goodman finished with a team high 12 points, she was held to just four in the first half by a great defensive effort from center Amy Geant ’03. Manning applauded Geant’s efforts on shutting down Goodman, “This was the best job we have done against her defensively.”

The Eph defense also forced 30 turnovers, 20 coming in the first half, completely taking Tufts out of the game in the early going. Off the turnovers, Williams used unselfish basketball to spot the open shooter, often finding Jackson for a lay up, or dishing out to Stumpo or Skeffington on the wings. The unselfish play led to 20 assists by the Ephs, outnumbering their turnover total of 16. McMahon led the squad with five assists, while Stumpo and Skeffington also contributed four each.

On the heels of the great passing was an equally strong night of shooting the basketball by the Ephs. For the night, the Ephs shot 44 percent (31-71), including 39 percent from three-point range (7-18). Whether it was Stumpo or Skeffington hitting outside jumpers or the guards feeding post players Jackson and Amy Dieckmann ’05, who finished with 12 points, the Ephs seemed to find the right player in most every situation.

On the glass, the Ephs were led by Jackson, who recorded another double-double, grabbing 10 rebounds. McMahon also hauled in seven rebounds to match her seven points for the game. There was a serious question mark entering the game for Williams as the sharp-shooting Bridget McDonough ’04 severely sprained her ankle in practice on Thursday. It remains to be seen how long McDonough will be sidelined, but in her absence several players needed to step for the Ephs.

On this night, co-captain Laura Crum ’02, Deickmann and Alana Zell ’05 did just that. Crum came into the game and immediately nailed a jumper, just as McDounough is prone to do. Her play remained steady throughout the game and she finished with seven points. Deickmann played well in the post, converting the shots she was given to finish with 12 points. Zell led the offense particularly well and assisted on three baskets also. The same players will have to continue to step up in McDonough’s absence for the Ephs to succeed.

In the team’s first game of the week, Skeffington set another Williams College record against the College of St. Joseph (VT) when she connected on 10 of 12 three pointers to score 30 points to lead her Ephs to a 103-41 win. Skeffington stuck to shots beyond the arc, as she missed the only field goal attempt in two-point range.

Skeffington, averaging 10.9 points on the season, nailed 10 threes in the game, which upped the Williams single-game record, previously held by Kathleen Higgins ’99 at six. She also tied Higgins’ mark of six threes in a row. Joining Skeffington in double digits in scoring were Stumpo and first year Kate Beswick ’05, who each chipped in 11 points, with Beswick’s coming off the bench. Beswick is the latest of the Ephs to come off the bench to contribute a valuable performance.