LEWISTON, Maine – The Williams College women's basketball team (10-6, 2-2 NESCAC) defeated Bates (6-11, 1-3 NESCAC) 56-44 in an away NESCAC matchup on Saturday afternoon. The Ephs effectively bounced back from a Friday night road loss at Tufts, leading the Bobcats for the entire game.
Williams got out to an early 2-0 lead on a Kristin Fechtelkotter jumpshot just 30 seconds into the game. The Ephs didn't look back, extending this lead to 9-5 on another Fechtelkotter layup with 6:40 remaining in the quarter. An Emily Chang three-pointer with just nine seconds remaining in the first quarter put the Ephs up 20-11 heading into the second, their largest lead yet.
Early on in the second quarter, the Ephs maintained their lead. After a few Bates baskets, a Mikaela Topper three-pointer with 7:25 remaining brought the Williams lead back to nine points at 25-16. Towards the end of the second quarter, the Ephs started to pull ahead of the Bobcats. A Lexi Jones layup with 4:56 remaining brought the Williams lead to 28-16, and consecutive layups by Lauren Vostal extended this lead to 34-19 with 2:29 remaining. The Ephs were up 39-19 going into the half.
Topper led the Ephs' dominant first half performance, scoring 11 points with a trio of three-pointers. Fechtelkotter also led Williams with eight first half points. Melanie Binkhorst led the Bobcats with seven first half points.
In the third quarter, Bates began to chip away at the Williams lead. Two free throws by Lexie Nason with 6:22 remaining brought the game to 41-26. Bates got the score as close as nine points when a Emily Freedland basket with 49 seconds remaining brought the score to 41-32. The score was 43-32 heading into the game's final quarter. Williams struggled offensively throughout the third quarter, being outscored 13-4 by Bates.
A Julia Middlebrook layup 50 seconds into the fourth quarter made it 43-36, but this is as close as the game would get. An Amanni Fernandez three-pointer with 8:01 remaining put the Ephs back up ten at 46-36, and a series of baskets put the Ephs up 53-36 with just 3:36 remaining. Although Bates would score a few baskets in the game's final minutes, the Ephs maintained their control of the game, going on to win by 12.
After the close loss at Tufts on Friday night, Williams head coach Pat Manning was proud of her team for coming out with intensity on Saturday afternoon: "It was really important how we came back from an emotional game last night, kept our energy up, and refocused."
Fernandez and Fechtelkotter, the Ephs' two leading scorers, led the team to victory. Fernandez had 11 points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists, just one assist away from a triple-double. Fechtelkotter had 17 points (on 8 of 9 shooting) and eight rebounds. Manning praised the two seniors for their strong performances: "Amanni did a fantastic job running the show tonight, and Kristin converted almost all of the opportunities she had."
Binkhorst led Bates with 13 points, and Middlebrook had 12.
Williams returns to action at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 17th at rival Amherst, the defending national champion. Manning indicated that her team is looking forward to Wednesday: "We'll enjoy this win tonight, but will start getting ready for Amherst tomorrow."
Bates plays at Maine-Farmington at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, January 16th.