Women’s hoops falls to Wesleyan, 68-49, in first round of tournament

Revenge is a dish best served cold. Unfortunately for women’s basketball (16-9, 6-4 in the NESCAC), Wesleyan was red-hot in the first round of the conference tournament on Saturday. The third seeded Cardinals outshot and outrebounded the sixth seeded Ephs en route to a decisive 68-49 victory, marking the second time they had beaten Williams in as many games.

Host Wesleyan set the tone early, going up 12-2 to start the game. The Ephs fought themselves back into contention at 14-9, but a friendly roll on a three-point ball put the Cardinals up by eight. Holding on to the cushion, Wesleyan built a 25-16 advantage with 3:30 left in the half.But co-captain Dominique de la Torre ’08 kept things close down the stretch, tallying eight points to shrink the Cardinals’ lead to 25-20. The score didn’t stay close for long, however, as Wesleyan controlled the final minutes of the half and picked up a 10-point lead with only 20 seconds left before the break. An Eph field goal salvaged some momentum, but Williams still went into the half trailing by a sobering 31-23 margin.

Things didn’t improve in the second frame, as the Cardinals opened play on a 6-0 run. Williams never managed to regain the momentum and the deficit only grew. Wesleyan extended its lead to as many as 21 with 5:25 left in the game. The Ephs only chipped two points off the Cardinals’ insurmountable advantage in the final five minutes, and headed home with a season-ending 68-49 defeat.

“They came out pretty strong in the second half, and even though we came out with a new energy, it unfortunately didn’t translate into closing the gap at all,” said co-captain Whitney Livermore ’08.

Williams accumulated a shooting percentage of just over 30 percent on the day. In comparison, Wesleyan was accurate 50 percent of the time in the second half, 41.8 percent over the course of the game.

Poor shooting from the charity stripe and behind the arc also hurt the Ephs. Williams was 3-for-9 from the line in the first half and hit just 1-of-7 three-point shots during the contest.

“Wesleyan just played better than us on both ends of the floor,” Niki Savageau ’08 said. “They played really solid defense all game, and we didn’t really have an answer for it.”

Chessie Jackson ’11 led all Eph scorers with 17 points, while co-captain Mika Peterman ’09 contributed 11. De la Torre was just a point shy of a double-double in her final game, finishing with nine points and 11 rebounds.

On the season, Peterman paced the Ephs with a team-high 15.3 points per game. Rookies Jackson and Taylor Shea ’11 averaged 12.8 and 11.1 points per game, respectively. Shea led the squad with 197 rebounds, while Jessica Harris ’11 finished with 173 and Jackson had 157. With 132 assists, Savageau led Williams in that category.

Despite the loss, Savageau spoke highly of the team’s performance this season. “I have been on countless teams during my basketball career, and without a doubt, this has been the hardest working, most dedicated group of girls I have had the pleasure to play with,” she said.