SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – On Tuesday night, the Williams College women's basketball team (4-1) lost at Skidmore (1-2) by a score of 60-58. It was a tale of two halves, as the Thoroughbreds came back from a 19-point halftime deficit to give the Ephs their first loss of the season.
The Ephs were dominant to start the game, scoring the first 11 points. The Thoroughbreds weren't even able to get on the scoreboard until there was 3:21 left in the first, bringing the score to 11-2. The Ephs continued to grow their lead, as back to back three pointers by Emily Chang brought the game to 19-4 with 2:13 remaining. The Ephs led 19-7 at the end of the quarter, and continued to build upon this lead in the second, going up by as much as 23 points (35-12) after a layup by Maggie Meehan with 3:13 remaining. At halftime, Williams led the Thoroughbreds 37-18.
It was a commanding first half for the Ephs. Williams head coach Pat Manning remarked, "We had such an amazing first half. We played with confidence and we executed." In the first half, the Ephs were led by Chang with nine points and Amanni Fernandez with seven while Kelly Donnelly and Veronica Moceri led Skidmore with 6 points apiece. Williams's three-point shooting made a large difference in the first half. The Ephs shot 5 of 9 (55.6%) from behind the arc, compared to the Thoroughbreds, who shot just 1 of 14 (7.1%).
In the third quarter, however, a senior-heavy Skidmore team battled back right away. By 4:58 left in the third, the Thoroughbreds had brought the Ephs' 19-point halftime lead down to just 10 (41-31) on a Haley English three-pointer. Skidmore continued to come closer to the Ephs, bringing the game to 43-39 at 2:15 remaining, and ending the quarter down just one point at 45-44. All in all, Skidmore outscored the Ephs 26-8 in the third.
At 7:12 remaining in the 4th quarter, a Caite Opfer layup gave Skidmore its first lead of the game at 46-45. The Ephs attempted to retake the lead throughout the end of the game, but Skidmore had an answer every time. The Ephs suffered a blow when senior captain Kristin Fechtelkotter fouled out of the game with 4:55 remaining, but battled until the end. However, a three-pointer by Ari Fustini at 1:28 to make the game 58-55 put the Thoroughbreds up for good.
Skidmore outscored Williams 42-21 in the second half. Coach Manning gave the Thoroughbreds credit on coming back from her team's sizable lead: "Skidmore put up a fight. In that second half, they outplayed us in every possible way." Although disappointed with the loss, Manning sees it as a learning experience for her team: "We'll learn from this. We're a young team. We still have ten more road games this season."
Williams was led by Chang (17 points, 5 of 7 three-point shooting) and Fernandez (14 points). Donnelly (19 points, ten rebounds) and Opfer (14 points) led Skidmore.
The Ephs return to action with a home game against Bridgewater State University on Friday, December 1st at 8 p.m. while Skidmore also returns to action on Friday night with a 6 p.m. home game against St. Lawrence University.