WILLIAMSTOWN, MA - For their last home game of the year, the Williams College women's basketball team (10-12/4-4 NESCAC) was defeated by the Bowdoin College Polar Bears (22-0/8-0 NESCAC) 93-56. The Bears are currently undefeated and ranked #1 in the country, having defeated Middlebury last night in a fourth-quarter surprise comeback.
"They're the best team we've played all year and they're undefeated for a reason," said head coach Pat Manning. "I thought the first quarter was solid, but [in] the second, we didn't take care of the ball. We gave them too many second chances."
Maddie Hasson (20 points, 10 rebounds) was the top scorer for Bowdoin with a double-double in scoring and rebounds. She was followed by Abby Kelly, who amassed 17 points and is the Bears' top scoring player overall for the season. Senior co-captain Lauren Vostal led the Ephs with 18 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore Mikaela Topper was right behind with 16 points for Williams.
Kelly took the first points of the game for the Bears, in what would become an early, though slight, lead for Bowdoin. The Bears did especially well in the paint, finding themselves with almost double Williams' rebounds for the first quarter. However, the Ephs put up a fight, stealing the ball numerous times to always stay within seven points of the Bears. Vostal put up eight points to help Williams stick close to Bowdoin for most of the quarter. A last-second layup by Kelly put the Bears up 23-16 at the end of the quarter.
Bowdoin's offense repeatedly cut through the Ephs to build up a consistent double-digit lead in the rest of the half. Senior Taylor Choate stole the ball twice to sprint down the court and score for the Bears on an unguarded net. Williams' first three-pointer of the game was scored by Mikaela Topper, which was quickly followed by Maggie Meehan with another one under a minute later. A better run for the Ephs saw 11 points go up on the board in under two minutes, but it was not enough to overcome the momentum of the Bears. Hasson and Sela Kay of Bowdoin put up 8 points apiece to contribute to Bowdoin's 50-31 lead at the end of the half.
Numerous defensive rebounds from the Bears put them at a big advantage, contributing to many of their baskets third period. Junior Emily Chang was the first to score for Williams in the second half, a bright spot in what became an unfortunate low-scoring quarter for the Ephs. Aggressive defense on Bowdoin's part led to a 30-point lead, capped with a layup by Choate.
The fourth quarter proved more fortunate for Williams, as Vostal kicked off the last ten minutes with a layup. However, Moira Train of the Bears broke free from the Eph offense with the ball to score a three-pointer from the wing. This didn't deter Williams, who fought until the end and saw a variety of players score throughout the period, including Topper with six points alone. A single-handed layup by junior Emily Chang became the last points for the game, with the Bears winning 93-56 over the Ephs.
On next week's final two conference games before the NESCAC tournament begins, Manning stated: "We played Amherst well the first time around. We definitely have a challenge and we finish up at Hamilton, another team that fights you for forty minutes. We'll regroup and go hard for the last week and work hard so we have momentum going into the NESCAC tournament."
Williams will next play at Amherst College next Friday, February 8th at 7:00 PM.