SPRINGFIELD, MA – On the strength of ten three pointers – including a career-high eight by guard Emily Chang '20 – and a dominant fourth quarter, the Williams College Ephs (5-0, 0-0 NESCAC) defeated the Springfield College Pride (3-4) in a 68-46 win to extend their unbeaten streak.
The win advanced the Ephs to 5-0, marking their best start since the 2015-16 season and their longest winning streak since 2016-17, when they won six straight after starting the year 0-1. Today's win stemmed from a strong second half – particularly in the fourth quarter – after not starting as strong as the Ephs have been used to.
"We kicked it up a notch in the second half," noted Eph head coach Pat Manning following the win. "Our defense and our rebounding got much better, after a first half where I thought we were tentative on both ends."
Two Ephs set career highs in points, with Chang scoring 28 and guard Gabby Martin '21 adding 18 more.
"You can tell things are going well for you when you don't take the three, start to drive, and just put it up, and it still goes in," remarked Manning on Chang's more prolific performance as an Eph. As for Martin, Manning commented, "Gabby's so valuable, because she can change a game. When she comes in, everything kicks into high gear, and she does it on both ends of the floor."
The game was closer than the score made it seem, as the Ephs only led by 7 points at the end of the third quarter. But Williams outscored Springfield 22-7 in the fourth, putting the game away on the strength of their defense and three-point shooting.
Williams jumped out to a 16-9 first quarter lead, courtesy of an overwhelming defense and some opportune shooting. Deadlocked in a 6-6 tie more than 6 minutes into the game, Gabby Martin gave the Ephs the lead with a three-pointer, starting a 10-3 run that would give the Ephs a lead that they would never relinquish, despite the close score through the third quarter. The second quarter was another low-scoring affair, with the Pride earning a 13-10 edge. Still, the Ephs held on to their lead and did not let Springfield go on any sort of sustained run.
Both offenses adjusted in the third quarter, scoring 37 points after combining for 48 in the entire first half. The teams continued to trade blows in the quarter, with the Ephs outscoring the Pride by a narrow 20-17 margin. The Ephs continued to shine from long range, with Martin and Chang making threes that gave Williams some breathing room. The Ephs never relinquished their lead in the third, but the lead fell to as little as one.
In the fourth, however, the Ephs pulled away. Williams took its first double-digit lead of the game when Chang hit her sixth three of the game to make it 49-39. Chang struck again on the next Eph possession when she cut from the corner, received a pass from Katie Brule '20, and nailed another three to increase the Eph lead to 52-40. Chang added an exclamation point when she drilled a shot from five feet beyond the arc with under four minutes to go, giving Williams a 59-40 lead and capping a 12-0 run.
Seniors Chang and Martin led the Ephs with 28 and 18 points, respectively, scoring over two-thirds of the Ephs' points and as many as the entire Springfield team. Brule added a team-leading eight rebounds, while guard Mikaela Topper '21 logged the second-most minutes of any Eph, scored eight points and tallied three assists and three rebounds.
On the Springfield side, guard Alex Goslin led the Pride with 14 points and hit two of the team's three 3-point shots. No other Springfield player scored more than six points.
Williams limited Springfield to 19-for-58 (32.8%) shooting. The Ephs were not much more efficient from the floor, going 23-for-62 (37.1%), but their three-point shooting made a huge difference. From beyond the arc, the Ephs shot an impressive 37%, going 10-for-27, compared to the Pride's lowly 3-for-15 (20%) mark.
The Ephs slightly edged the Pride in rebounding margin, 43-37. While the two teams were relatively even on points in the paint (22-20 Williams), but the Williams bench outscored the Springfield bench by a significant 26-13 margin. The Ephs also capitalized on Springfield mistakes, scoring 16 points off of turnovers as opposed to only 5 for the Pride.
Next Tuesday, December 3rd at 7:00PM, the Ephs will travel to play at Wesleyan (5-0, 0-0 NESCAC) in a Little Three game, but not a NESCAC contest. The NESCAC contest will be played in Williamstown on Friday, February 14 at 7:00 PM.