Call them the comeback kids.
On Saturday afternoon, the Ephs overcame a 16-point, second-half deficit to post a 69-61 win over NESCAC rival Tufts.
The win upped Williams’ mark to 17-6 (6-3 NESCAC) and dropped the Jumbos to 17-6 (4-5).
“I thought we played great team defense in the second half,” Head Coach Pat Manning said. “And most importantly, we didn’t get rattled when we got down by 16.”
Tufts closed the first half with a 15-4 run over the final four minutes to lead 40-30 at halftime. Sophomore forward Allison Love had 12 of her game-high 16 points at the break for Tufts, while center Amy Geant ’03 chipped in eight of her 12 points to lead Williams.
The hosts then opened the second half by scoring the first six points to lead by 16, 46-30, on a jumper by Jumbo’s first-year Jessica Powers at 18:13. The Jumbos maintained a double-digit lead over the next seven minutes, but the Ephs then blazed towards a 18-6 run to pull within three points, 54-51, on a lay-up by Abi Jackson ’03 at 8:56. Jackson and Kerri McMahon ’05 each had seven points during the crucial run.
Tufts clung to its slim margin until two free throws by Sarah Dickens ’04 tied the game at 59 points apiece at 6:05. Another Dickens free throw at 5:39 gave the Ephs their first lead (60-59) since they led 26-25 early. The Ephs then extended the lead to 67-59 when senior guard Kate Stumpo ’03 capped a 10-0 run with a lay up at 2:47. Tufts was within six on two free throws by Powers, but failed to score again, giving the visiting Ephs the crucial NESCAC win.
The Jumbos missed their last 12 shots from the field over the final seven minutes.
McMahon scored a team high 13 points, 7-of-7 from the charity stripe, to lead the five Ephs starters who all scored in double figures. She added eight rebounds and two steals.
Stumpo and Geant both finished with 12 points for Williams, and co-captain Melissa Skeffington ’03 chipped in with 10 points and nine rebounds.
The Ephs benefited from a 48-38 margin on the boards and in addition got the free throw line 10 more times than the home squad in connecting on 21-of-27 from the stripe.
On another note, if the Ephs never have to travel to Maine again, no one would complain.
Last Friday night, Williams again ventured north to take on NESCAC foe Bates, and just as they did two weeks ago, left Maine with a loss. The Bobcats’ 67-59 victory over the Ephs pushed the Ephs’ record to 16-6 (5-3 NESCAC) and upped Bates to 15-6 (5-3).
“We just dug ourselves into a hole early,” Manning said. “We turned the ball over a lot and they converted in transition. That really hurt us.”
Bates jumped out to a 16-4 lead when Betsy Hochadel scored on a lay-up, but this would be the largest margin of the game as the Ephs kept it close behind a career night from Dickens.
Dickens scored 18 of her career high 20 points in the first half, including sinking all eight of her free throws. She also had a team high nine rebounds.
Late in the second half, Williams went on a 12-4 run, capped by a drive down the lane by Jackson, cutting the Bates lead to 59-57 with 5:33 remaining. Skeffington hit a jumper with 2:08 left to go which pulled the Ephs to within two (61-59), but the Ephs were held scoreless for the remainder of the game, shooting 0-for-4 from the field and turning the ball over twice.
Olivia Zurek led Bates with a career high 24 points to go along with eight rebounds. Carla Flahrety added 20 points and Lisa Golobski grabbed 10 rebounds, scored five points and dished out four assists.
Joining Dickens in double figures were Stumpo and Jackson. Stumpo scored 11 points, including two 3-pointers, and Jackson played solidly inside to score 10 points and notch seven rebounds off the bench.
The Ephs travel to Union today to finish out the regular season, and are scheduled for a rematch with Colby in the first round of the NESCAC tournament next weekend.
Women’s hoops wins one, drops another
Call them the comeback kids.