MIDDLETOWN, Conn – The Williams College women's basketball team (6-3) lost to Wesleyan (6-2) 74-65 in a Little Three matchup on Saturday afternoon. Williams came back from a ten-point third quarter defecit but ended up falling in overtime.
The Cardinals took a lead on the Ephs early, going up 7-2 on a Tara Berger three-point play less than three minutes into the game. An Amanni Fernandez three-pointer tied the game at 7 with 6:14 remaining in the first, but Wesleyan would regain the lead; a Maddie Bledsoe layup with 3:36 remaining put the Cardinals up 16-7. Wesleyan led Williams 21-15 after one quarter.
Wesleyan extended their lead to 27-17 on a Kadijah Mathews three-pointer with 6:31 remaining in the second quarter. After this, the Ephs came back; an Emily Chang layup with 4:44 remaining put Williams down just 27-24. After Williams brought the lead down to one (29-28), Wesleyan went on another run, going into halftime up 39-32.
Williams head coach Pat Manning commented on Wesleyan's hot start: "Wesleyan came out with a lot of energy and emotion." Fernandez and Kristin Fechtelkotter led Williams in the first half, each scoring ten points, while Bledsoe led the Cardinals with 15.
Early into the third, the Cardinals went up 44-34 on a three-pointer by Maeve Vitale. However, just like before, the Ephs came back. A Maggie Meehan jumper tied the game at 46 with 1:12 remaining in the third, and the Ephs took their first lead of the game (48-46) on a Fechtelkotter layup with 39 seconds left. It was 48-46 going into the fourth.
The two teams went back and forth throughout the fourth. With 1:25 remaining, a Fechtelkotter layup put the Ephs up 59-56. However, the Ephs went just 1 of 6 from the free-throw line after this point, and a pair of free throws by Bledsoe with 0.8 seconds left tied the game at 60, bringing it into overtime.
Just six seconds into overtime, a traditional three-point play by Olivia Gorman put the Cardinals up 63-60. A Fechtelkotter layup with 3:27 remaining made it 63-62, but after this point, it was all Wesleyan, as the Cardinals ended up outscoring the Ephs 14-5 in the extra period.
Coach Manning noted that shooting made all the difference in this afternoon's game: "We didn't finish. We just missed too many open shots." Williams shot just 2 for 18 (11.1%) from three-point range, while Wesleyan shot 8 of 21. Free-throw shooting also made a difference, as Williams shot 13 of 25 (52%) from the free throw line, while Wesleyan shot nearly perfectly, sinking 24 of 27 (88.9%).
Fechtelkotter, who ended the game with 22 points and 12 rebounds, led the Ephs. Fernandez and Meehan each had 12 for Williams. Bledsoe, who was just named NESCAC Player of the Week, led Wesleyan with 22 points and ten rebounds. Gorman (13 points) and Vitale (12 points) also contributed for the Cardinals.
Coach Manning expects her team to bounce back from this loss: "We'll regroup. We're a young team and this is a learning experience."
Both teams will now take time off from play for finals period.
Williams returns to action on Wednesday, December 20th at 1 p.m. against DePauw at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, while Wesleyan plays on Friday, December 29th at 2 p.m. against Dubuque in Nashville, Tennessee.