WILLIAMSTOWN, MA - The Williams College women's basketball team (2-2) triumphed over Eastern Connecticut State (2-2) on Sunday posting a 74-59 win, snapping a 2-game losing streak. This was Williams' best game of the season so far, with the smallest number of turnovers and highest score.
"Everyone was anticipating well off the ball and moving better as a unit out there," said head coach Pat Manning. "I hadn't been really happy with our defense the last couple of games, but we turned it up a notch and it was the best defense we've put out in a while."
The Ephs shot especially well this game, sinking 40% of all three-pointers. Leading off the bench and tied for most points were junior Emily Chang (14 points, three rebounds) and sophomore Mikaela Topper (14 points, three rebounds, three assists). Junior Katie Brule (six rebounds) also had a notable game, scoring 13 points for the Ephs, as did Gabby Martin (eight points, eight rebounds) who started for the first time this season. Connecticut's Mya Villard delivered 12 points and five rebounds for the Warriors. She was assisted by Kelsey Santagata (10 points, seven rebounds) and first-year Anna Barry, who delivered eight rebounds off the bench.
Aggressive offense play by the Warriors led them to gain an early lead 11-6, but Williams came back from the five-point deficit to pull even with Eastern Connecticut. With eight seconds left on the clock, sophomore Maggie Meehan sunk a three-pointer, helping to put the Ephs up 19-15 at the end of the firstquarter. This set the tone for the rest of the game, as the Warriors had trouble pulling ahead of the Ephs for the remaining three periods.
The teams battled it out for the lead in the rest of the half, inching in front of each other point by point. Six points each from Lizzy Cretella and Anna Barry for the Warriors aided a brief EConn lead 28-23, creating the second five-point deficit of the game for the Ephs. But once again, Williams closed the gap with a strong team effort and broke through the Warriors' defense. The Ephs ended the half up 36-33 with a strong up-and-under by senior Lauren Vostal with 30 seconds to go.
Meehan set the Ephs off to a good start in the second half, scoring a three-pointer within the first minute of play. Though the Warriors inched closer and closer to the lead, they weren't able to overtake the Ephs, only tying briefly with a little under four minutes to go in the third quarter. But strong defense and teamwork from the Ephs proved too much for the Warriors, who had trouble maintaining control of the ball and weren't able to score for the rest of the quarter. Williams opened up its largest lead of the game and took a 59-45 lead into the final quarter, thanks in part to Chang going 2-2 on three-pointers.
The rest of the game saw the Ephs running away with the score, increasing their 14 point lead to 15, then 18, then 20. EConn rallied, however, and Jenna Serrantino made a huge impact for the Warriors, scoring seven points for the team alone. But it wasn't enough to break the Ephs' stride, even as the Warriors closed the scoring gap toward the end of the quarter. Williams took advantage of hesitation in EConn's defense to win 74-59.
"It was the best we've played as a team all season; our shooting percentage was the highest it's been and we just took really good care of the ball," Manning remarked proudly. "I attribute it to us really playing hard and playing together."
Williams will play Alfred Univeristy at home next on Friday, November 30 at 6:00 PM. That contest will be followed by Tufts taking on New england Colege at 8:00 PM in the first round of the Williams Holiday Tournament.
Friday's losers will meet in the 1:00 PM consolation game on Saturday, while the winners will meet at 3:00 PM.