NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. – The Williams College women's basketball team (11-9) lost to UMass-Dartmouth (16-3) 70-63 in a non-conference road game on Monday night.
The Ephs and the Corsairs went back and forth early on. A three-pointer by Amanni Fernandez with 7:07 remaining in the first quarter made it 7-5 Williams, and an Emily Peckham layup with 4:53 left gave Williams their largest lead of the quarter at 12-7. The Corsairs would quickly bounce back and retake the lead at 15-14 on a Leah Douty three-pointer with 2:42 remaining in the first. However, Mikaela Topper would score six straight points for the Ephs to end the first quarter, putting her team up 20-16 going into the second.
In the second quarter, UMass-Dartmouth retook the lead on an Ashley Brown three-pointer with 9:06 remaining. Similarly to the first quarter, the two teams traded baskets throughout the second; a Jess Korzec layup put the Corsairs up 24-22 with 6:24 remaining, but the next possession, Williams would retake the lead on a Katie Brule three-pointer.
At the half, Williams trailed UMass-Dartmouth by a score of 32-31. Topper led the Ephs with eight first-half points, while Brown and Nakira Examond led the Corsairs in first-half scoring with seven apiece.
Just ten seconds into the second half, Williams retook the lead at 33-32 on a Maggie Meehan layup. After this, however, UMass-Dartmouth went on a run; a layup by Brown with 6:48 left in the third quarter gave the Corsairs their biggest lead yet at 46-39. With UMass-Dartmouth threatening to pull away, the Ephs would battle back. Williams went on a run of their own, retaking the lead at 49-48 on a Peckham layup with 1:54 remaining in the quarter. Going into the fourth, Williams trailed 52-49.
In the fourth quarter, each time the Ephs attempted to chip away at UMass-Dartmouth's narrow lead, the Corsairs had an answer. A Gabby Martin layup with 6:58 remaining put the Ephs down just 54-55, but UMass-Dartmouth would respond with two straight baskets to go up 59-54 with 5:51 remaining in the game. The same pattern continued down the stretch, and in the end, UMass-Dartmouth's late-game free-throw shooting and offensive rebounding sealed the seven-point win over the Ephs.
Though the Ephs again showed their ability to compete with a highly competitive team (UMass-Dartmouth made it to last year's national elite eight), head coach Pat Manning was disappointed that yet again, her team wasn't able to pull out the victory: "It was a tight game, but down the stretch we gave up too many big shots and had too many defensive breakdowns."
Coach Manning praised Brule, who came off the bench and scored a team-high seventeen points on the night: "Katie Brule off the bench was phenomenal. She has worked hard every day at practice, and I'm happy that she came in and made a difference." Leading Williams alongside Brule were Fernandez with 13 points and Peckham with six points and 13 rebounds.
Alicia Kutil led the Corsairs with 18 points and 13 rebounds, and Examond had 15 points and six rebounds.
Williams travels to Maine this weekend, returning to action at Colby at 7 p.m. on Friday, February 2nd, while UMass Dartmouth plays at 1 p.m. on Saturday, February 3rd at Southern Maine.