AMHERST, MA - In the last Little Three game of the season, the Williams College women's basketball team (10-13/4-5 NESCAC) fell to the Amherst Mammoths (20-2/7-1 NESCAC) 57-38, handing Amherst the 2019 Little Three win. Williams has not won a women's basketball game against Amherst since 2014.
"We knew it would be a fight," said head coach Pat Manning. "We knew it'd be a battle, and we really focused on our defense and we focused on our execution. Last time, what really got us was our turnover and rebounds. Amherst is not an easy team."
Amherst junior Maddy Eck's nabbed her 1000th career point midway through the game, along with a few more by the time the final clock ran out. She was tied at 14 points with Cam Hendricks for the top scorer of the game. Hendricks also acquired a double-double to snag the spot of top rebounder for the Mammoths. For the Ephs, sophomore Gabby Martin was the top scorer, bagging nine points for Williams. Junior Katie Brule was the top rebounder with nine.
Williams took an early lead over the Mammoths after a hard-fought few minutes over the ball. However, Amherst captured the lead for the first time in the game with Hendricks putting in a three-pointer for the Mammoths. The Ephs briefly held the lead once again, but Amherst's dogged determination to score proved unfortunate for Williams, as they pulled ahead for a slight lead going into the second quarter.
A three pointer from each team early in the quarter put the score at 18-14 with Amherst holding onto the lead. Vostal and junior Katie Brule together tied the score up at 18, but not for long. Amherst's trademark defense put pressure on the Ephs and forced Williams into a series of difficult positions that saw the Ephs' scoring drop to just seven points in the second period. Williams' patient offense, while effective in the first quarter, was not good news for the Ephs in the second, and saw a heavily lowered shooting percentage. A series of slick reverse layups from Amherst saw the Mammoths pull away at the end of the half, leaving it at 27-18.
A great third quarter for Amherst began with Eck's 1000th career point, winning a standing ovation from the crowd. Once again, the trademark Amherst defense came through for eight offensive rebounds, effectively monopolizing the ball. Williams' first points from the second half came from a layup from Topper, two of the five the Ephs would see that period. In the face of the stifling Amherst defense, Topper and Maggie Meehan, both Williams sophomores, broke through to score, providing bright points in the quarter for the Ephs. Amherst's Hendricks sunk a three-pointer to rack up a 22 point lead for the Mammoths going into the fourth.
The fourth quarter proved fortunate for the Ephs, who ran even in scoring with the Mammoths. Amherst's Maeve McNamara had an especially good fourth, scoring six points for her team. Martin for the Ephs also put up six points to match McNamara for the quarter, along with four other Ephs contributing points to help Williams outscore Amherst for the first quarter all game. However, Amherst's earlier victories put them ahead, and they ran out the clock to win 57-38, clinching the victory.
"We're heading back tonight to regroup and do a scout," stated a determined Manning. "We'll be ready to go tomorrow at 3 at Hamilton."
The Ephs will play at Hamilton tomorrow at 3:00 PM.