Women’s basketball (20-4, 6-4 in the NESCAC) finished its regular season on Saturday with an exciting 76-71 over-time victory at Wesleyan. The win ended a two-game losing streak for Williams that was extended at Conn. College on Friday, where the women fell 75-60. The Ephs hope the win will give them momentum heading into the start of the NESCAC tournament.
Williams opened the game against Wesleyan with strong defensive pressure. The Ephs held the Cardinals to only two points in the first seven minutes, as they pulled ahead with a 10-2 lead. The women then stalled on offense, while Wesleyan found success by making several layups to take the lead with 7:25 left in the half. The teams traded baskets for the next couple of minutes, but Wesleyan slowly pulled ahead. Co-captain Ellen Cook ’15 kept the game within reach for Williams in the first half, scoring the women’s last seven points before the break. However, the Cardinals made a three-pointer at the buzzer to put them up at halftime by a score of 31-22.
The Ephs dictated the opening minutes of the second half with nine unanswered points and tied the game at 31-31. Williams tried its hardest to pull away from Wesleyan, but they failed to build a lead of more than six points for the remainder of the game. The teams were tied 55-55 with just over four minutes to play, and although Wesleyan mustered a quick surge, Williams responded to again tie the game up with 1:31 remaining. After a pair of free throws by Cook, Wesleyan made a shot to tie the game at 63-63. The Ephs missed a jump shot with five seconds left that would have given them the lead but stopped the Cardinals’ last-ditch effort to score, and the game went into overtime.
In overtime, Lauren McCall ’17 responded to each Cardinals basket with points for the Ephs, sinking 11 points in the overtime period with assists from three different Ephs. The key possession came with the game tied 71-71 and only 24 seconds left on the clock, as Williams grabbed a defensive rebound after Wesleyan missed a three. McCall drained a three-pointer of her own off of a pass from Cook to put the Ephs up 74-71. The Cardinals then immediately turned the ball over and were forced to foul. Devon Caveney ’17 iced the game with seven seconds left by making both of her free throws, giving the Ephs a 76-71 overtime victory. “Lauren really stepped up in the overtime victory,” Cook said.
On Friday, Williams travelled to face off against Conn. College. The teams were neck-and-neck in the first half, with the first major lead going to the Ephs after a run of nine unanswered points, capped when Jane Thompson ’16 drilled a three-pointer to put the Ephs
up 21-12. The Camels responded by slowing down the Ephs’ offense and held the Ephs to only six points in the final eight minutes of the first half. At halftime, Williams trailed 31-27.
The women closed the deficit coming out of the break, earning a 40-38 lead after a lay-up by Katie Litman ’16 with 13:11 left in the game. For the next five minutes, neither team could muster much of a lead, but the Camels used a 6-0 run to start pulling away for good, taking a 63-55 lead with two minutes remaining. Over the last two minutes, the Ephs tried to form a comeback, but the Camels went 12-12 in free throws over that span and ultimately defeated the Ephs 75-60. “One of the things I really like about our team is that different players step up from game to game,” Cook said.
Williams will travel to Brunswick, Maine on Saturday, where they will face Bowdoin in the opening round of the NESCAC Basketball Championship at 2 p.m. When the teams faced off earlier this year in Chandler Gymnasium, the Ephs emerged victorious 69-55.