Women’s basketball downs RPI, Skidmore

Fifth-ranked women’s basketball (7-0, 0-0 in the NESCAC) added two more wins to its streak this weekend, downing RPI and Skidmore 58-47 and 68-50 respectively in the Williams Holiday Classic. Tri-captain Taylor Shea ’11 was named tournament MVP this past weekend, while Lisa Jaris ’12 garnered all-tournament honors.

Williams jumped out to an early lead against Skidmore on Saturday, outscoring the Thoroughbreds 38-23 in the first half. The Ephs scored 12 of their 38 points in the first six minutes, including a three-point play by Jill Greenberg ’12 and Claire Baecher ’13. Greenberg kept the ball in before feeding it to Baecher, who was fouled as she let off her shot. Baecher made the shot and also the subsequent free throw. Skidmore rushed down the court, but was quickly stopped. Jennie Harding ’13, who had 10 points in the game, grabbed the ball in transition and scored her first three-pointer of the afternoon.

Skidmore came out of a timeout ready to go on the offensive with 14:30 remaining in the half. Williams added to its lead, including a deep three from Grace Rehnquist ’13 for a 21-9 score. The Thoroughbreds then began to chip away at the Ephs’ lead, making the score 28-17 with 2:47 left to play in the half. As the period wound to a close, Baecher recorded two consecutive three-pointers, but the Thoroughbreds responded in kind. The Ephs closed up the half leading the Thoroughbreds 38-23.

Williams hit the court after halftime ready to get going. Harding and Baecher combined to propel the Ephs to a 46-25 lead. Williams then went on a 17-9 run, shutting Skidmore down en route to a 63-34 lead. Shea and Jaris each had 12 points and eight rebounds in the game, while Baecher and Harding tallied 16 and 10, respectively.

Saturday’s win came on the heels of a 58-47 victory over RPI. Shea led the Eph offense, scoring 21 points and 11 rebounds. Williams gave up a seven-point run right after the tip, but Greenberg and Shea combined to tie the score. RPI, however, quickly took the lead once again. The score was at 14-13 in the Engineers’ favor with 9:51 left to play when a foul on Shea led the Eph to go 2-2 on her free throws, allowing Williams to take the lead for the first time.The women ended the half down 29-27.

Both teams battled hard throughout the second half. Williams called a timeout with 16:49 left to play and came back out with a flurry of scores, coming within one point of RPI’s total at 36-35. The game held tied at 43-43 with 6:30 left to play before some quick scores granted the Ephs the win.

“Though the first half was not our best looking half of basketball, I am very proud of how we pulled together to take over in the second half,” Shea said.

This past weekend’s victories are an addition to the team’s five other wins this season, including two at the Emmanuel Invitational and a 84-54 win over rival MCLA. The Ephs will play their first conference game of the season at Hamilton at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

“This team can go on to do great things with such talent and depth,” Shea said. “I look forward to playing Hamilton. It looks like they too are off to an impressive start, so I look forward to a challenging game.”