WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – The Williams College women's basketball team (4-0) overcame a slow start to defeat Smith College (4-1) 71-60 in a non-conference matchup on Sunday afternoon, continuing their unbeaten start to the season.
The Ephs struggled early, as Smith controlled the first quarter. The Pioneers led by as many as nine points (16-7), and were up 16-9 at the end of the quarter behind nine points from Lauren Bondi.
However, the tides turned completely in the second quarter. Williams came back right away, tying the game at 20-20 with 7:12 remaining. The two teams traded baskets for the rest of the quarter, and a Vostal three-pointer at the buzzer put the Ephs up 33-30 at the break.
Williams head coach Pat Manning was proud of her team's performance in the second, noting defensive changes that were made, "I thought we had a really good second quarter that changed the game. When we switched to zone, I think that made a big difference."
In the first half, Amanni Fernandez (12 points) and Lauren Vostal (11 points) led the Ephs in scoring. The two were lights-out from three-point range, shooting a combined 6 of 6. Bondi led the Pioneers with 12 points. The Ephs shot 12 of 27 (44.4%) from the field, while the Pioneers shot 12 of 33 (36.4%).
The Ephs built their lead early in the third quarter, going up by as many as ten at various points. Going into the fourth quarter, Williams led Smith 49-40. In the final period, Smith got the Williams lead down to six points at 7:59, but the Ephs always had an answer, not letting it get any closer than this. Williams outscored the Ephs 22-20 in the final quarter behind eight more points from Fernandez.
Williams shot 26 of 56 (46.4%) from the field, including 9 of 15 (60%) from three-point range. Smith shot 24 of 67 (35.8%), and 7 of 25 (28%) from beyond the arc.
Fernandez led the Ephs, scoring a season-high 25 points (5 of 6 three-point shooting). Coach Manning praised Fernandez, saying "Amanni stood out to me today. I think she had a fantastic game and took care of the ball." Kristin Fechtelkotter (17 points, eight rebounds) and Vostal (13 points, eight rebounds) also led the Ephs. Bondi was the high scorer for Smith with 20 points.
Coach Manning was glad that her team was able to come from behind and win: "That's a good team. They have a lot of talented kids, can play fast, and are very aggressive on defense. It was nice to dig ourselves out of a hole like we did."
Williams will return to action at Skidmore on Tuesday, November 28th at 7 p.m. while Smith plays at Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Wednesday, November 29th at 7 p.m.