Women’s basketball moves to 6–2

Women’s basketball (6–2) continued its strong start to the season, going 2–1 in three games last week.

The women topped Eastern Connecticut State 66-55 yesterday. Tri-captain Kristin Fechtelkotter recorded 21 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Ephs. Tri-captain Amanni Fernandez ’18 added 12 points and six rebounds.

Despite a late comeback, the women  lost to No. 9 University of Rochester 70-61 on Saturday.

The Ephs had a strong first quarter on Saturday against the visiting Yellowjackets. The teams traded baskets early in the first quarter, but the Ephs finished the period up 19-15.

In the second quarter, the Yellowjackets took the lead after Lizzy Atkinson hit back-to-back 3-pointers. A 3-pointer by Lauren Foley stretched the Yellowjackets’ lead, putting them up 30-21 with 5:41 remaining.

The women trailed Rochester 40-29 at halftime. The Ephs shot 13-for-31 (41.9 percent) from the field in the first half, while the Yellowjackets shot 17-for-29 (58.6 percent).

The Yellowjackets built their lead at the beginning of the third, going up by as many as 18 points on a Mary Kronenwetter jumpshot with 5:06 remaining. However, the Ephs stormed back. Fechtelkotter hit a jump shot to bring the game to 52-40 with 3:41 remaining, and Maggie Meehan ’21 notched a 3 at the buzzer to narrow the margin to 52-45 going into the fourth quarter.

The Ephs stayed close in the beginning of the fourth, and a pair of free throws by Mikaela Topper ’21 cut the deficit to four with 4:24 remaining. The Ephs, however, were unable to fully come back. On its way to a 9-point victory, Rochester outscored the women 14-9 in the final minutes of the game.

Fernandez led the Ephs with 15 points, five rebounds and three assists. Topper (13 points) and Meehan (9 points) also contributed for Williams.

Alexandra Leslie, who has been named an All-American for the past two seasons, led the Yellowjackets with 17 points, including seven in the game’s final quarter.

The Ephs shot 24-for-54 (44.4 percent) from the field, including 3-for-6 (50 percent) from 3-point range. Rochester shot 29-for-63 (46 percent) from the field and 6-for-17 (35.3 percent) from beyond the arc.

Despite the loss, head coach Pat Manning was pleased with her team’s ability to come back from an 18-point deficit against a strong team.

“I think Saturday was a great game to gauge where we were and to help prepare us for conference play,” she said. “I was encouraged by a lot of what I saw.”

On Friday, the women were dominant on defense as they defeated Bridgewater State 58-42.

Bridgewater took an early lead, going up 10-4 on a jump shot by Destiny Fitzgerald with 5:46 remaining in the first. This did not last long, however, as Williams went on a 7-0 run to go up 11-10 with 1:14 left. At the end of a low-scoring first quarter, Williams led 13-12.

Williams and Bridgewater traded baskets for the first few minutes of the second quarter until the Ephs started to get into an offensive rhythm. Once they found their shooting stroke, the women went on a 7-0 run to bring the score to 27-20 with 2:15 remaining in the half. After a high-scoring final few minutes of the quarter, the Ephs went into halftime up 32-26 on the Bears.

Meehan led the Ephs with 7 points in the first half, and Fitzgerald led Bridgewater with 9. The Ephs shot 12-for-25 (48 percent) from the field while the Bears shot 10-for-24 (41.7 percent).

The Ephs pulled away from the Bears early in the second half, scoring the first 12 points of the third to go up 44-26 with 5:57 remaining in the quarter. The Ephs’ scoring then slowed down, but they maintained their lead and went into the fourth up 48-33. The Ephs maintained their lead in the final quarter of play, outscoring the Bears 10-9 en route to a 16-point victory.

Williams played strong defense, giving up its lowest opponent point total of the season and allowing just 16 points in the second half. The women also outrebounded the Bears 37-26. Fernandez and Fechtelkotter led the Ephs with eight boards apiece.

The scoring effort was balanced for Williams; Topper and Fernandez led the Ephs with 9 apiece, and Meehan, Emily Chang ’20 and Lauren Vostal ’19 each scored 7. Fitzgerald led the Bears with 15 points.

Manning experimented with the lineup on Friday and was pleased with the results. At various points, the Ephs had a smaller lineup on the floor that included the three first-year guards Meehan, Topper and Gabby Martin ’21.

Manning spoke highly of the three. “They play well together, and they’re fast and smart,” she said. Manning went out of her way to mention Martin’s defensive effort, remarking that “the pressure she put on the ball made all the difference.”

The women travel to Middletown, Conn., on Saturday to play Wesleyan at 3 p.m.