Women’s basketball wins Holiday Classic

Women’s basketball (4-2) got an early dose of holiday cheer this weekend, as the Ephs won the Williams Holiday Classic with a convincing 64-49 victory over Endicott (3-2) in the championship round on Sunday. In the first round of the tourney on Saturday, Williams crushed Lasell in a staggering 103-49 win.

Co-captain Dominique de la Torre ’08 was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. The senior knocked down seven of her ten shots for 15 points in the championship game. She also put up eight points and grabbed four rebounds against Lasell. Co-captain Mika Peterman ’09 and Taylor Shea ’11 were named to the All-Tournament team.

Williams kept Endicott’s offense on lockdown for much of the first half in Sunday’s final game. The Ephs opened the game on a 6-0 run and kept the Gulls off the board for the first five minutes of play. They rode the momentum to a 13-point lead with 3:55 left in the period.

“We were really happy with our ability to keep our defense up throughout the game, especially while we weren’t having as much success offensively as we normally might,” co-captain Whitney Livermore ’08 said. “Teams can sometimes fall into the trap of allowing their offensive problems to get in the way of aggressive defense, and I don’t think we really did that.”

But the Gulls eventually got their offense going, setting off an 11-4 run and clawing back to within six before the frame ended.

Coming out of the break, Williams regained the momentum. Peterman drained a trey to open the half, igniting a run which ultimately culminated in a 58-39 advantage with 8:30 remaining.

Poor three-point shooting denied the Gulls the possibility of a comeback. Endicott went 1-8 behind the arc in the second half.

“[On Sunday] we did a really great job of finding the open man in transition and in our sets,” de la Torre said. “We also did a great job of boxing out and only giving them one shot each possession. It was a great team effort.”

In Saturday’s unprecedented thrashing of Lasell, 12 of 13 Ephs scored to fuel the 103-point performance. Shea led the women with 21 points, while Chessie Jackson ’11 (17 points, six rebounds), Elizabeth Hansen ’10 (15 points) and Peterman (13 points) all put up double-digit figures. Niki Savageau ’08 chipped-in with five points, five rebounds and ten assists.

The women shot 56.2 percent (41-for-73) from the floor, and 56.3 percent (9-for-16) behind the arc. In contrast Lasell made only 28.6 percent of its shots. Williams also outrebounded Lasell by a 47-27 margin.

Livermore and de la Torre have stressed team effort in the Ephs’ recent success.

“All of these wins have really felt like team wins – no one or two players carrying everything, as often happens on many other teams,” Livermore said. “Every single person on this team has been making real contributions to our development and to our success, and all are fully invested in doing what the team needs to win. It’s a great feeling to have that kind of focus.”

De la Torre added, “Everyone has been accepting of their individuals roles and has put the team first, whether it is during practice or a game. This is one of the most tightly-knit teams I have been a part of in a long time.”

On Nov. 27 Williams put up another impressive offensive performance in a 70-55 victory over RPI. The win brought the Ephs back to .500, after a slow start to the season dropped the women in a 1-2 hole.

Three Ephs scored in double figures – Peterman (19 points), Shea (17 points) and Jackson (13 points). As a team, the women went 52 percent from the floor and forced 24 RPI turnovers.

Williams picked up its first win of the season against University of New England in an 84-74 decision. Jackson led all scorers with 25 points in her second collegiate start.

The women hosted Keene State last night, but final scores were not available at press time.