WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass – The Williams College women's basketball team (12-12, 4-6 NESCAC) defeated Hamilton (14-10, 2-8 NESCAC) 57-50 at home on Saturday afternoon in their final game of the regular season.
Hamilton opened up the scoring; a pair of Lauren Getman free throws put the Continentals up 4-0 with 7:24 remaining in the first quarter. Williams kept the game close, and an Emily Chang three-pointer with 4:17 left put the Ephs down 7-6. With 37 seconds left in the first quarter, Williams took their first lead at 10-9 on a Kristin Fechtelkotter layup. A buzzer-beating three-pointer by Chang made it 13-9 going into the second quarter.
Just 16 seconds into the second quarter, Chang's third three-pointer extended the Williams lead to 16-9. The Ephs would continue to grow their lead as the quarter went on; a Gabby Martin jump shot made it 23-12 with 4:34 remaining and a drive and a score by Amanni Fernandez put the Ephs up 29-12 with 1:50 remaining in the first half. After a dominant second quarter in which they outscored the Continentals 16-6, Williams led 29-15 going into the half. Chang led Williams with nine first-half points, and Getman led the Continentals with eight.
Hamilton opened up the second half with a run, and a jump shot by Getman with 8:40 remaining in the third quarter made the score 31-21. A shot in the paint by Lydia Zaleski with 6:22 remaining re-extended the Williams lead to 37-24, but from this point on, the Continentals battled back. A Halie Serbent layup with 5:29 left made the score 37-29, and a three-pointer by Samantha Srinivasan with 2:01 remaining cut the Williams lead down to just three at 37-34. Going into the game's final period, Williams led Hamilton 37-36. All in all, the Continentals outscored the Ephs 21-8 in the third quarter.
The two teams traded baskets during the first few minutes of the fourth quarter, and the game remained close. With 4:45 remaining in the game, Fernandez found a cutting Peckham, who hit a layup to put the Ephs up 47-42. After a crucial Hamilton offensive foul, a three-pointer by Chang extended the Williams lead to 52-44 with just 3:19 remaining.
The Continentals didn't give up; a traditional three-point play by Serbent with 1:22 remaining brought the Ephs' lead back down to just two at 52-50. However, the Ephs would score the game's final five points, including clutch free throws by Fernandez and Fechtelkotter, to go on and win by seven.
Williams head coach Pat Manning commented on the strong performances of her three senior captains: "This is big. I'm just so happy for our seniors. It's great to have a strong performance on senior day, and I think the three of them led the way today." Fechtelkotter led the Ephs in scoring with 15 points, and Fernandez scored 12. Zaleski scored four points, all in the second half.
Coach Manning also praised her other players: "I also think that other players stepped up. Emily Chang was fantastic off of the bench, and so was Gabby Martin." Chang had 12 points on four three-pointers, while Martin was a force on defense with a team-high six steals.
Getman led the Continentals with 16 points, while Srinivasan had a team-high nine rebounds.
The game had a playoff feel, as Williams needed to win in order to qualify for the NESCAC tournament. Coach Manning is glad to have pulled out the emotional win, and is looking forward to the playoffs: "Now we'll celebrate this win, but then we'll get focused on next week."
The NESCAC tournament schedule will be set once NESCAC regular season play concludes tomorrow afternoon.