Women’s basketball (19–5, 6–4 in the NESCAC) took on two NESCAC opponents last weekend, defeating Trinity in overtime on the road on Saturday and falling to Amherst away on Friday.
Saturday’s matchup against Trinity was tightly contested, with multiple lead changes in the opening minutes. The Bantams went up by six with around two minutes remaining in the first half, but Jennie Harding ’13 and Grace Rehnquist ’13 each responded with sharp outside shooting to cut the lead to one by the end of the half. The Ephs went into the locker room down 39-38.
The teams traded baskets for the first 12 minutes of the second half before tri-captain Jill Greenberg ’12 drained a long ball to give the Ephs their first lead with eight minutes remaining in the contest. With Williams up 53-52, Trinity answered with inside scoring from their post players. Not to be outdone, however, Ellen Cook ’15, Harding and Greenberg each responded with buckets to regain a 59-56 lead for the Ephs halfway through the second.
A Bantam bucket with 4:23 left put the Ephs down 68-65, but Rehnquist finished in the lane with 2:17 remaining to cut the Bantams’ lead to 68-67. After trading buckets with Trinity, the women found themselves facing a three-point deficit with 30 seconds left to play. Cook then came off a screen to hit a clutch long ball, knotting the game at 72-72 with 23 seconds remaining. She quickly turned around on defense, blocking a potentially game-winning shot from the Bantams in their final regulation possession to keep the score tied.
In overtime, the Bantams pulled ahead early with a layup. Down 74-72, the Ephs went on an 8-0 scoring run after a pair of free throws from Cook. As play continued, Rehnquist and Harding contributed with baskets of their own to give the women a 78-74 lead with 39 seconds remaining in the extra period. When the final buzzer sounded, the women snagged an 80-76 victory over Trinity.
Five Ephs scored in double digits in the win. Greenberg led the way with 21 points; Cook earned a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds; and Harding, Rehnquist and tri-captain Lisa Jaris ’12 added 14, 12 and 10 points, respectively. The Ephs shot 40.3 percent from the field.
On Friday, the women fell to rival Amherst 77-55. The score was close early on until the Jeffs took over with an 11-1 run behind sharpshooting from their guards, holding the Ephs without a field goal for almost six minutes. Rehnquist stopped the bleeding with a three-pointer, making the score 15-9 in the Jeffs’ favor. However, Amherst continued to apply the pressure and Williams could not establish a lead. Midway through the first frame with the Ephs down 28-13, Kellie Macdonald ’15 made a graceful spin move and finished in the lane. Danny Rainer ’13 also got in on the action, hitting a jumper to make the score 32-20 with just under five minutes left in the first. However, Amherst closed the half on another run and went into the locker room up 42-22.
The Ephs rallied in the second half, finding a second wind as they went on a 9-3 run. Rainer scored four points for the women, and Greenberg and Harding added buckets of their own to narrow Amherst’s advantage to 45-31 just three minutes into the half. The women could not close the gap further, however, as the Jeffs compounded their lead through dominant inside play and tight defense. Despite their toughness and resilience, the Ephs walked off the court with a disappointing 77-55 loss.
Amherst star Megan Robertson blazed a trail for the Jeffs, tallying 21 points and 17 boards in the contest and going 8-11 from the field. Rainer led the Ephs in scoring with 15 points while Rehnquist added 13, but the women shot just 28.1 percent from the field.
Despite the Ephs’ loss to Amherst, Head Coach Pat Manning was proud of her team’s character. “After a frustrating night at Amherst on Friday, I was extremely proud of how our team responded at Trinity on Saturday afternoon,” she said. “It was a fantastic team win. Our players showed a lot of heart and determination.”
The women travel to Colby to play at 3 p.m. on Saturday in the NESCAC quarterfinal. Williams is the No. 5 seed in the tournament, and Colby will enter play at No. 4.