Women’s basketball remains undefeated

Women’s basketball (6-0) stayed unbeaten this weekend, defeating both Clarkson and Pine Manor, 81-59 and 83-71, respectively. The matchup against Clarkson was played as the finale of the Williams Classic, with Pine Manor and Bates rounding out the rest of the weekend’s field. Williams was spurred on by the outstanding individual performance of tournament MVP Amani Fernandez ’18. Fernandez tallied 20 points and 11 assists in the tournament’s final game.

In the finale on Saturday, Clarkson’s Devin Sorell shot well from the get-go, recording 10 of her team’s first 13 points on 4-7 shooting. Williams countered with Devon Caveney ’17, who scored eight of her team-high 29 points in the first quarter. Caveney and Fernandez, along with Lauren McCall ’17, were the constants on the floor for the Ephs, with all three scoring in double figures in over 30 minutes of playing time. The front court of Williams, anchored by co-captains Katie Litman ’16 and Oge Uwanaka ’16, took a hit when each of them was granted limited playing time due to foul trouble. As a result, Head Coach Pat Manning was forced to turn to her bench, specifically Kristin Fechtelkotter ’18. Fechtelkotter saw 16 minutes of action and provided everything that her team needed from her.

Williams began to pull away from Clarkson in the second quarter, limiting the opposing team to 11 points in the period. Caveney continued her early success, shooting 4-6 from the floor for nine points. The slow tempo of the game favored the Ephs, who were giving themselves plenty of time to find the best look at the basket on each possession. Most of these looks came off of dribble penetration from Fernandez and Caveney, who would either take the shot themselves or use their vision to find open teammates. The game went to half with the Ephs up 33-24.

The start of the second half told much of the same story for the Ephs, with the trio of Caveney, Fernandez and McCall leading the charge. Clarkson found some of the offensive rhythm that they had been lacking through the first two quarters, shooting 50 percent from the field. Sorell and Stephanie Grobe contributed 12 of Clarkson’s 18 third-quarter points. However, they could not quite keep pace with the duo of Caveney and Fernandez.

At this point, Uwanaka and Litman each had racked up four personal fouls, forcing Manning to look to her bench yet again. This time relief came from Valerie Oyakhilome ’18, who hit both of her three point attempts and added three free throws for nine fourth-quarter points. Her efforts, along with another seven points from Fernandez, helped Williams maintain its large lead in the final minutes. Fernandez displayed her ability to create scoring chances for her teammates when she found Caveney, on a beautiful back door cut that gave her an easy layup. The women took the game by a final score of 81-59.

On Friday, the women trumped Pine Manor 83-71 in the opening game of the Williams Classic. The Ephs found consistent success under the basket, scoring 52 points in the paint and out-rebounding the Gators 60 to 23.

Earlier in the season, the women took a 69-52 victory over Skidmore on Dec. 1. Caveney led all scorers with 19 points, including four three pointers. Caveney’s outside game was balanced extremely well on the inside by Litman and Uwanaka, who each recorded a double-double in points and rebounds on the night.

The women saw success throughout November, topping Springfield 55-47 on Nov. 24, Babson 52-47 on Nov. 22 and Wheaton 68-53 on Nov. 21.

The Ephs are deeply satisfied with their strong record of success thus far in the season. “We feel that we are improving with every game,” Head Coach Pat Manning said. “Our offense is starting to click and our defense has been steady … I am excited to see how we grow over the season, this team has great potential.”

Williams will play Smith at home today at 7 p.m. in Chandler Gymnasium. The women then travel to Wesleyan on Saturday.

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