WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – Williams College sophomore Emily Chang and first year Mikaela Topper combined for 21 points off the bench Friday night to help a short-handed Williams College women's basketball team to a conference win over Trinity, 52-44, in the Chandler Gymnasium.
Williams improved to 11-8 overall, 3-3 in conference play. The Ephs play Monday night at UMass-Dartmouth in their final non-conference game of the season. Tip-off is 7 p.m. The Bantams fell to 13-6 overall, 1-4 in the NESCAC.
Chang led the Ephs with 13 points — all coming in the first half, while Topper had 8 points and 4 rebounds, all but two of her points coming in the fourth quarter. The Ephs were without senior tri-captain Kristin Fechtelkotter, but classmate Lydia Zaleski picked her up with 8 points and 7 rebounds. Senior Amanni Fernandez had a nice all-around game with 8 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals while junior Lauren Vostal contributed 8 points and a team-leading 9 rebounds.
"It was an all-around great team win tonight," Ephs' head coach Pat Manning said. "A key NESCAC win. Trinity is a team that plays hard every second, and I thought we did a nice job taking them out of their schemes. I was really happy with our effort on both ends of the floor."
Peace Kabari led Trinity with 13 points while Courtney Erickson had 10 points and 7 rebounds for the Bantams. Meghan Lewis added 8 points, 3 assists and 2 rebounds for the visitors.
The Ephs held a 32-26 halftime lead after jumping out 9-0 on the visitors and holding a 21-14 lead after one quarter. Chang was red-hot in the first half, coming off the bench to score 13 points on 4 for 5 shooting from beyond the three-point line in only seven minutes of action.
The Ephs came out of the gates fired up as Zaleski hit an early lay-up and, after a Zaleski defensive rebound, Gabby Martin drained a three-pointer. A steal by Martin led to an easy lay-in for Vostal and a 7-0 lead. Following anothe rturnover, Vostal grabbed an offensive rebound of her own miss dwn low, fed Maggie Meehan, who got the ball to Zaleski for a short jumper and a 9-0 lead with 7 minutes and 32 seconds to go in the quarter.
Trinity clawed its way back into the contest and cut the deficit to only three when Erickson banged home a foul line jumper with 2:28 to go in the first quarter. After Vostal made a lay-up off a steal by Martin, Erickson put home her own lay-in to make it a 17-14 game. But the Ephs closed the quarter with a Chang trey from the top of the key and a late foul shot from the sophomore, then opened the second quarter with another three-ball, this one from the left corner, by Chang, for their biggest lead of the game at 24-14 with 8:45 remaining in the half.
"I thought Emily — with her four threes in the first half — and Mikaela wth the way she attacked off the dribble in the second, were sparks tonight for us," Manning said. "A lot of credit goes to Amanni for really pushing the pace for us."
Williams shot 34.4 percent (11 for 32) from the floor, but won the battle on the glass, 24-20, over the first 20 minutes.
The Bantams came within four points twice early in the third quarter, but could never inch closer than that. One of the biggest plays of the game was the final play of the third quarter, when with less than a second left, the Ephs inbounded the ball from underneath the basket and Fernandez somehow hit a fallaway 16-foot jumper at the buzzer for a 40-32 lead with 10 minute left to play. With 7:20 remaining, Peace hit a three from the top of the key to make it a 44-39 contest. Peace missed a jumper that could have cut it to three, and Topper followed with a driving lay-up off the right side to push the Ephs' lead back to seven. With 4:09 to go, Fernandez came up with another critical play, stealing the ball in Trinity's half and hitting a pull-up jumper for a nine-point Williams lead.
A couple of defensive stops led to two more Eph baskets — one on a Vostal lay-up off a great over-the-top, across-the-lane pass from Topper, and one a Topper drive, to push Williams lead to 13. Trinity shot just 28.6 percent (18 of 63) from the floor in the game, while Williams countered with a 37.5 percent (21 of 56) effort.
Manning noted that Vostal also played a key role defensively in not allowing Trinity's Erin Cunningham to attempt a three-point shot in the game. Cunningham came into the game as one of the nation's leading three-point shooters, hitting 55.3 percent of her three attempts.