CLINTON, NY - In their last game of the regular season, the Williams College women's basketball team (11-13/5-5 NESCAC) defeated the Hamilton Continentals (10-11/0-9 NESCAC) 64-59 to even their NESCAC record.
"I thought the first quarter was probably our best this season," said Eph head coach Pat Manning. "Everything kinda clicked on both ends of the floor. They went on runs; they're an explosive team and had some runs in each quarter but I'm happy with how we responded."
Sophomore Mikaela Topper was the all-around top scorer for the game with 14 points to her name. Following her was co-captain Lauren Vostal with three blocks and a big double-double: 14 points and 13 rebounds. Hamilton's Elizabeth Arnold put up 12 points for the Continentals; Halie Serbent got 10 rebounds for her team.
The first points of the day came in the form of a four-point play out of Williams with Topper collecting them all. Hamilton responded with a long three out of O'Hern, but were quickly outstripped by the Ephs. After the first five minutes of the game, Williams quickly took control of the ball for nine baskets in a row contributed by five different Ephs. This left the Ephs with a solid lead built up, 27-7 just from the first period.
While the Continentals found themselves unable to follow through for much of the first period, they redeemed themselves in the rest of the half by outscoring Williams 13-7 in the second. Beginning with a small run with five points put up by Marie Steiner, the second-most top scorer for the Continentals, Hamilton took control of the ball even as they were out-rebounded by Williams. The Eph's earlier lead proved fortunate for Williams, however, as they retained the lead to never trail and were up at the half 34-20.
The teams found themselves running neck-in-neck for most of the third, as Hamilton cut the deficit to the lowest it had been since the first quarter at 11. Maggie Meehan '21 sunk three points and was quickly followed by Hamilton's Halie Serbant, who put up two points from the paint on the other side of the court. Meehan, never one to settle, put up three more points and the Continentals called a time-out. Williams went on the outscore the Continentals, albeit slightly, 19-15 for the quarter. A bucket from first-year Maddy Mandyck put the Ephs back up to a 20-point lead, which was cut down slightly by Scout Lansing of Hamilton with a last-minute jump shot. Williams led 55-35 going into the last period.
Topper's fourth floater in the lane of the night came on the heels of a massive comeback from Hamilton. The Continental's Elizabeth Arnold put up eight points for her team, and was the key cut in the deficit into single digits for the first time since the first quarter. Hamilton first-year Chelsea Zarle sunk a long three-pointer to put the score with Williams still up at 63-56, and chalked up three more points with five seconds left on the clock, but could not outdo the Ephs, who won 64-59.
"The third quarter's been kind of our nemesis [but] the energy was great," stated an pleased Manning. "I'm just so proud of them and the effort they put out to play with that much energy and go after it."
Official NESCAC pairings will be released Tuesday night for this year's NESCAC Tournament.