Ephs net 67-55 victory on senior night

Women’s basketball (18-4, 5-3 in the NESCAC) outlasted Bowdoin 67-55 on Saturday, punctuating senior night with a conference victory. On Friday, the women lost a 62-56 heartbreaker to Colby at home. The preceding days featured an 86-56 victory over Middlebury on Jan. 28 and an 80-58 loss to Amherst on Jan. 25. The women pounded Hamilton 68-34 on Jan. 22 after defeating Eastern Connecticut State 63-47 on Jan. 19.

Tri-captains Jill Greenberg ’12, Lisa Jaris ’12 and Ana Rodriguez-Villa ’12 celebrated senior night at Chandler Gym with an exciting victory over Bowdoin last Saturday. The Polar Bears took the lead at the outset, establishing a 10-point advantage six minutes into the game. However, the Ephs mounted an 8-0 run capped by a three from Grace Rehnquist ’13 with 12:30 remaining to narrow the Polar Bears’ lead to 14-12. The women exchanged buckets in the remaining minutes of the half and with great production from Greenberg and Rehnquist, took a slim 32-30 lead to the lockers.

Williams came out firing on all cylinders in the second half. Greenberg kept her hot streak going, nailing a three less than two minutes into the half, and teammate Danny Rainer ’13 provided solid production down low. Just five minutes into the second, the women held a 44-34 lead. The Polar Bears increased their pressure down the stretch and cut the Ephs’ lead to 57-55 with five minutes remaining. However, the women reestablished their lead by capitalizing on Bowdoin fouls, pulling out a 76-55 victory. Greenberg led the Ephs with 19 points, while Rainer netted 15 points. Rookie Kellie Macdonald ’15 grabbed a team-high 11 boards in the contest.

“Our game against Bowdoin was truly a team win,” Rainer said. “Everyone contributed in some way or another. I thought Kellie Macdonald’s rebounding was exceptional after we really struggled on the boards against Colby the night before.” Greenberg attributed the victory to the women’s energy and dedication to pulling out a win on senior night. “Every single person on the team was doing their best to make this game a memorable one for the seniors,” she said. “Even when we were down by 10, there was a sense of urgency and I felt reassured that no one was going to let us lose this game.”

The victory over Bowdoin followed a disappointing home loss to Colby on Friday. The Ephs started off hot, going on an 11-2 run in the opening minutes of the game, but the Mules soon stormed back to slim the Ephs’ lead to 16-15 with 10 minutes remaining. Rainer and Greenberg came up big, leading the women in a late first-half run that put Williams up 22-17 with six to go. The Mules stayed strong, rallying with good defensive play, and the sides headed into the half tied at 28-28.

In the second, the Mules established a double-digit lead on the strength of outstanding three-point shooting. The Ephs responded with some tough play in the paint, managing to cut the Mules’ lead to five with two minutes left in the game. The women’s strong free-throw shooting and easy buckets from Jaris and Rehnquist kept Williams in the game, but Colby applied enough pressure to earn a hard-fought 56-52 victory. Rehnquist led the way for the Ephs, scoring 16 points. Greenberg and Rainer added 14 and 12 points, respectively.

“We just did not have the same sense of urgency [as we did against Bowdoin], and Colby made us pay for that,” Greenberg said. “Hopefully, we will see them again in the NESCAC tournament.”

On Jan. 28, the women claimed a dominant 86-56 victory over Middlebury’s squad. Greenberg accented a stellar career by scoring her 1000th point in the contest. “It was obviously a great feeling,” Greenberg said, “but I think what was most special to me was to be able to score it with such a supportive team around me.”

Like Greenberg, the entire Williams lineup had a productive night. Strong play from Rehnquist, Ellen Cook ’15 and Macdonald ignited a 21-1 second-half run that sealed the game for the Ephs. Williams shot an impressive 48 percent from the field, with Jennie Harding ’13 contributing a whopping eight threes.

“The game at Middlebury was also one of the best efforts of the year,” Greenberg said. “Jennie Harding was confident with her shot and stepped up when we needed her.”

The women hosted Amherst in a highly-anticipated matchup on Jan. 25. Though the Ephs were forced to play without starter Claire Baecher ’13, who is out for the season with a knee injury, the Ephs and Jeffs played a level game for the first 10 minutes. However, Amherst then broke a 30-7 run behind some long balls from leading scorer Caroline Stedman and walked off the floor with a 45-21 lead at halftime.

With a three-pointer from Greenberg and some solid post play from Rainer, the women cut the lead to 47-31 in the second half, but Stedman’s lethal scoring catapulted the Jeffs to a 60-34 advantage. Harding and Rehnquist provided some great shooting down the stretch, but the Jeffs’ inside dominance proved too much for the Ephs. Amherst preserved its lead and took the game 80-58.

On Jan. 25, the women sent Hamilton packing, claiming a 68-34 victory. The women combined excellent shooting from behind the arc with strong inside play, managing to stifle the Continentals offense. men, Hamilton had no answer for the women, and Williams blazed to a decisive 68-34 win.

The women rolled over Eastern Connecticut State with a 63-47 victory on Jan. 22 behind stellar performances from Rainer and Rehnquist. Rehnquist netted 17 points, and Rainer brought home 12 points and eight boards.

The women will travel to Amherst at 6 p.m. on Friday before heading to Trinity on Saturday at 2 p.m.

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