On Sunday, women’s basketball (14-8, 3-5 in the NESCAC) lost to Connecticut College by a score of 68-63 in a crucial league tilt. Camels guard Liz Malman led all scorers with 28 points in all 40 minutes. Kristin Fechtelkotter ’18 led the Ephs with 18 points and added seven rebounds. Another standout performer in the game was co-captain Lauren McCall ’17, who kept the Ephs in contention with four three-pointers in the first half. McCall finished with 16 points.
The field house bristled with energy right out of the gate due to the significance of the game to both teams’ seasons and the fact that it was senior day. The Camels used that energy to jump out to an 18-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Connecticut College forward Mairead Hynes, who sits near the top of the NESCAC in several statistical categories including points per game and field goal percentage, got on the board early with seven points, making her first three shots of the game. Williams failed to establish a rhythm on offense due to turnovers and too many shots forced in tight areas, although McCall did start strong with five points.
The lead for the Camels hovered around 10 until McCall hit her third three-pointer of the first half to close the gap to two possessions at 27-21 with 4:01 to play in the half. With less than a minute to play in the half, Malman created her own shot late in the shot clock to give the Camels a 31-24 lead. Again Williams went to the deep ball in response, and again it was McCall that provided it, cashing in on her fourth three of the half to bring Williams back within four points. McCall, almost single-handedly keeping the Ephs competitive, led all scorers with 14 points at the break.
Williams came out of the break in a 2-3 zone defensively and quickly erased the halftime deficit, starting with a three from Emily Chang ’20. Fechtelkotter took over the game, scoring the Ephs’ next 10 points and helping the women get to a 40-37 lead. Amanni Fernandez ’18 tacked on two free throws to send Williams into the final quarter with a three-point lead.
To open the fourth quarter, co-captain Devon Caveney ’17 then hit a three pointer to put Williams back up by three, but Malman again found the bottom of the net from well beyond the arc to level the score. From there, the Camels put together a 6-0 run capped off by a three from Kylie Caouette that sent the crowd into a frenzy and forced an Ephs timeout. The women continued to fight, but Connecticut College stayed just out of reach by making seven out of eight free throws in the final 1:30 of the game.
On Jan. 3, the team beat the Wesleyan Cardinals 65-60. In the playoff atmosphere, it was the upperclassmen that led the way for the Ephs, as Caveney scored her 1000th career point for the team.
Both teams struggled from the field in the first quarter, with the Cardinals shooting 4-15 and the Ephs shooting a dismal 3-21. The collective struggle made for a competitive quarter, with Wesleyan jumping out to a 10-5 lead before Williams used foul shots from Emily Peckham ’20 and Caveney to inch their way to an 11-10 lead at the end of the quarter.
The second quarter was a reflection of the two teams’ first meeting on Dec. 10, when Wesleyan took control in the early going. The Cardinals kept finding the basket during a 21-point second quarter explosion, which led to a 31-23 halftime lead.
The women came out of halftime playing with offensive flow and rhythm, and the game immediately swung in their favor. The Ephs went on a 15-1 run and then continued to pile on the baskets while the Cardinals only made one field goal in the quarter. The Williams lead grew to 46-35 to start the final quarter.
A special moment came with 3:19 to play in the third quarter when Caveney went to the line to take two free throws. She made both, which constituted her 999th and 1000th career points, becoming the 17th woman in program history to accomplish the feat.
Wesleyan mounted a comeback effort late in the game, but Caveney’s surge sealed the 65-60 win for the women.
McCall reflected on the victory and the loss to Connecticut College. “This weekend held two critical games for determining our standings in the NESCAC tournament,” she said. “Unfortunately, we were only able to truly capitalize on one, but there were a lot of positives in the Conn game that we are going to take and continue to build on this week.”
Williams also defeated non-league foe Westfield State 90-70 on Jan. 30.
The Ephs are currently No. 6 in the NESCAC. Seeding is critical, as the top three teams in the NESCAC are all nationally ranked (Bowdoin No. 23, Amherst No. 2 and Tufts No. 1).
The women will look to move up the ladder against Tufts on Friday and Bates on Sunday.