WILLIAMSTOWN, MA - Thanks in part to a strong defensive emphasis from preseason, the Williams College women's basketball team (10-11/4-3 NESCAC) defeated the Colby College Mules (8-12/1-6 NESCAC) 58-34, capturing Eph head coach Pat Manning's 500th collegiate victory.
With tonight's victory, Pat Manning becomes the 22nd coach at the Div. III level to win 500 games in a career. Manning's 500th win came in her 29th season at the helm of the Ephs and has a record of 500-236 at the school, along with a .680 win percentage. Manning has taken nine teams to the NCAA Tournament and has guided the Ephs to the Sweet 16 four times, including twice in the last nine years. In her most successful year in her career, she led her Ephs to the Final Four in 2012-2013, compiling a record of 27-6 and earning 2013 D3Hoops.com Northeast Region Coach of the Year.
"It's been a thrill to coach here for 29 years and I'm ready for 29 more," stated a proud Manning post game. "I'm lucky to be able to work at an amazing school with fellow coaches who are incredibly supportive–not only my basketball staff, but coaches throughout our department. To work alongside them every day is an honor."
With Williams never trailing throughout the game, sophomore Morgan Dauk stormed the court with 17 points, a season high for her. She was followed by Mikaela Topper (13 points) and the Eph's top rebounder, Gabby Martin (10 rebounds). Ainsley Burns was the top scorer for Colby with 11 points. Two players, Katie McCrum and Jane MacKerron, were tied for the Mules' top rebounder with seven apiece.
Topper set the Ephs off to a strong start, kicking off the game with a swift three-pointer. Colby, in comparison, did not put points on the board until three and a half minutes into the game, when Burns sunk a jump shot for the Mules. Williams' strong defense pressured Colby into numerous turnovers as the Mules had trouble keeping their hands on the ball. With five Ephs with points on the board in comparison to Colby's two, the Ephs had an excellent run first period, ending up 16-3 over the Mules.
The second quarter proved much more fortuitus for Colby, who locked down their shooting troubles to go on to outscore the Ephs for the period. Burns, Sarah Hancock, and Grace Coutu all contributed to the Mules' 12 points from the second period, with the Ephs only scoring once in the first five minutes. With Colby managing to cut the deficit to six points, sophomore Morgan Dauk of Williams ended the Eph's scoring drought to help the Ephs carry a 24-15 lead into the second half.
After a second quarter comeback by Colby, who outscored the Ephs by six points during the period, Williams went back to holding a comfortable double-digit lead with a three-pointer by Meehan. While the first four points of the third period went to the Mules, junior Katie Brule came out of nowhere to rebound on the offensive and set up Vostal for a clean jump shot. Hancock of the Mules fought back, along with Jane Mackerron, putting up seven points collectively for Colby. However, the Ephs still outscored the Mules 12-11 for the quarter, with an equal amount of turnovers and rebounds to each team.
In the spirit of the first quarter, the Ephs put up seven points in just over a minute, increasing Williams' lead to 17 points. Topper and Dauk put up six and nine points respectively for the Ephs, with the Mules making eight turnovers alone in this period. Williams ended the game winning 58-34, crowning Manning's 500th win.
"The players I've had over the years [have been] just some remarkable women who I've had the privilege of coaching," said Manning. "This is really a testament to all the kids who have come through our program over the years and helped this happen. It was really their effort and their work."
The Ephs will play Bowdoin tomorrow at 3:00 PM.