Lewiston, ME- The Williams College women's basketball team suffered a loss in their final game of the regular season, a road meeting with the Bates College Bobcats, by a score of 59-49. Williams (17-7/5-5 NESCAC) was led by junior Lauren McCall, who scored 15 points in the game which included a trio of three pointers. Bates (9-14/4-6 NESCAC) was aided by a monster performance from sophomore Nina Davenport, who racked up 26 points and 13 rebounds in the contest while shooting 6-10 from behind the arc. This game wrapped up NESCAC play for both teams as well as the entire conference, solidifying both teams' spot in the standings heading into the NESCAC tournament.
Bates capitalized on five of their first seven shot attempts from the field which allowed them to jump out to an early lead by the end of the first quarter. Davenport hit three pointers on back to back possessions to turn a 7-5 deficit into an 11-7 lead, a lead that would hold for the rest of the game. Williams, playing without senior captain Katie Litman for the second straight game, struggled to establish a rhythm in the half court offense, but they got a boost from sophomore Kristin Fechtelkotter, who made her first start of the season. Fechtelkotter may be the closest thing Williams head coach Pat Manning has to a Litman replacement, especially on the defensive end, where Fechtelkotter has proven herself all season long. She backed up that defense with an efficient 14 points on 7-9 shooting from the floor while playing a team-high 37 minutes in the game.
Bates built on a 15-11 lead to start the second quarter, going on a 7-0 run that forced Manning into taking a full timeout. The Bobcat defense proved to be a formidable force playing against a Williams offense that continued to struggle, committing 11 turnovers and only shooting 28% from the field in the first half. McCall helped keep the Ephs in the game, scoring five of the Ephs' nine points in the quarter. The biggest problem facing the Eph offense was the fact that their two leading scorers, sophomore Amanni Fernandez and junior Devon Caveney, combined to go 1-13 from the field in the first half, and just 4-32 in the game.
The Ephs entered the third quarter down 31-20 and were able to gain only one point on the Bobcats during the quarter. Fechtelkotter and McCall continued to be the best offensive players for the Ephs while the struggles of Fernandez and Caveney continued. Williams was kept in the game by their defense, which held Bates to just nine points in the third quarter while causing four turnovers.
The Ephs continued to execute on defense throughout the fourth quarter, but their lack of offensive firepower hindered their ability to make a run to get back in the game. Caveney made her first three point attempt of the game to bring Williams within eight with eight minutes to play in the game. She was quickly matched by a Davenport three on the other end before McCall chimed into the three point contest with one of her own. That sequence summarizes the fourth quarter, with both teams trading points and neither team making a significant move until Davenport drilled her sixth and final three of the game to push the lead back to double digits and the game out of reach.
Coach Manning, while lauding the individual performances of McCall and Fechtelkotter, said her team did not click as a unit today. Manning said, "Overall we did not play with the intensity that we needed to to match the energy that Bates brought on their senior day. In conference play, each team is going to give you their best and we did not today." About the Ephs lack of production offensively, Manning said, "There was not much flow, we didn't do a great job of cutting or moving the ball, and I think in general we didn't make good decisions with the ball. We forced a lot of bad shots, and their hustle beat us to a lot of rebounds."
In two games without Litman, the Ephs have averaged 43 points, over 20 points below their season average. They'll hope to get Litman back for their NESCAC quarterfinal matchup as the sixth seed in the conference, traveling to Bowdoin to play the third seeded Polar Bears. Bates will round out their regular season seeded seventh in the NESCAC and will have to play Amherst on the road in their first round game.