ST. PETERSBURG, FL. — Kristin Fechtelkotter scored 18 points Thursday while Amanni Fernandez and first-year Maggie Meehan netted 14 each to lead the Williams College women's basketball team to a 70-49 victory over Chatham University as part of the D3 St. Pete Classic on the campus of Eckerd College.
Williams improved to 7-4 on the season while Chatham fell to 2-8 overall. The Ephs are done with 2017 and will next play at Castleton University on January 2 at 7 p.m.
"It was a much-needed win," Ephs' head coach Pat Manning said. "We had much better rebounding today and better free throw shooting, so we're getting there. But we're still working on our consistency, I thought we had a letdown in the second half that allowed them to go on a run. Still, it was a step in the right direction."
Thursday's game was decided in the first half. Williams jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the opening two minutes, with Fechtelkotter scoring the first five points of the game. The Cougars rallied to cut the deficit to 7-5 but Fernandez came up with a big three-pointer for a 10-5 lead, then came up with one of her six first-quarter steals that led to an Emily Peckham lay-up and a 12-5 advantage. Meehan entered the game and had an immediate impact, draining a three-ball for a 15-7 lead, then getting fouled while driving to the basket — a drive resulting from another Fernandez steal — and sinking both free throws for a 17-7 lead with 2:54 left in the quarter. Chatham responded again, cutting the deficit to 19-14, but Meehan came up with an offensive rebound and hit a floater and Fernandez closed the quarter with a steal and coast-to-coast lay-up that left Williams up 23-14 after one.
The Ephs pushed their lead up to 14 in the first minute of the second quarter when Lydia Zaleski came up with a rebound off her own miss and scored the putback. Fechtelkotter came up with a defensive rebound at the other end of the floor and then scored off a jumper. Mikaela Topper then came up with one of the Ephs' 15 steals in the game, leading to a Fechtelkotter lay-up and a 30-14 lead. Up 34-19 with 4:08 to go in the half, Lexi Jones hit a pair of free throws to start a 8-0 run that put the Ephs up by 23. With 1:48 left, Caroline Lovisolo hit a free throw and then Meehan drained a trey off an assist from Olivia Carlson that allowed the Ephs to head into the locker room up 46-21 at the break.
The Ephs outrebounded Chatham 19-16 over the opening 20 minutes while shooting 17 of 33 (51.5 percent) from the floor and 9 of 11 from the line. They turned the ball over only four times in the first half while forcing 12 Cougar turnovers, eight which came off Eph steals, six from Fernandez, who finished with eight steals, six assists and four rebounds to go with her 14 points. Meehan's 14 points came on 5 of 6 shooting from the floor.
"I thought Amanni played a great game today, a very solid overall game," Manning said. "And she helped set the tone on defense, which was much better today."
Katie Sieg led Chatham with 16 points.