WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – In their first matchup of the Williams Holiday Classic, the Williams Ephs defeated the Wheaton (Mass.) Lyons in dominant fashion, taking a 15-point, first-quarter lead and never looking back.
It was an especially strong defensive showing from the Ephs, as they limited the Lyons to just 36 points – the lowest by an Eph opponent this season. Using bigger lineups to take advantage of the Lyons' lack of size, Williams blocked eight Wheaton shots and held the Lyons to just 12-of-57 (21.1%) shooting.
"We had a strong first quarter," commented Eph head coach Pat Manning following the win. "But I think in the second half, we executed and moved the ball better, and we were more patient."
Eph guard Maggie Meehan '21 led the Ephs with 15 points, while guard Mikaela Topper '21 added 10 more. Guard Emily Chang '20, forward Emily Peckham '20, and forward Katie Brule '20 each grabbed at least six rebounds, and Peckham additionally contributed a team-leading four assists and three steals. Morgan Dauk '21 had an impressive game off the bench, logging eight points and four rebounds in just 12 minutes of action. Sadie Shore was the lone Lyon to record double-digit points, scoring 13.
"Maggie and Mikaela had really solid games, and they set the pace that we wanted," remarked Manning. In addition to Meehan and Topper's contributions, the Eph coach was especially impressed by Dauk's performance. "Morgan executed well, and made some smart decisions. I thought she had a very solid impact on the game."
The Ephs sprinted out to a quick lead in the first quarter, taking a 7-0 lead on makes by Emily Chang '20, Katie Brule '20 and Mikaela Topper '21. A make by Maddy Mandyck '22 extended the Ephs' lead to 23-8, giving the Ephs their largest first-quarter lead of the season at 15. Two traveling violations in the final two minutes didn't help Wheaton, who managed just three field goals in the first.
Williams started right where they left off in the second quarter, with Topper and Maggie Meehan '21 hitting consecutive threes to extend the lead to 29-8. The Ephs' offense went cold after that, scoring just 7 points for the rest of the quarter. But thanks to a dominant defensive effort, they still held a nineteen-point, 36-17 halftime lead.
At the half, Meehan led the team with 15 points, including four first-half three-pointers. The Ephs and Lyons each grabbed 22 rebounds, but Williams led the turnover margin, 12-5.
The Ephs continued to roll in the third, extending their lead to as much as 27 third quarter, courtesy of a three-pointer by Topper. Mandyck scored four points off the bench, while Emily Peckham '20 added three boards. Williams finished the third quarter with a comfortable 25-point lead. In the fourth, the Ephs rested their starters while the defense shined once again.
"We communicated well," said Manning on the Eph defense. "We wanted to focus on communication, and we've come off of two really solid games where we've rebounded well and defended well. We want to continue to be consistent with our defensive effort. When each player came into the game, they focused on defense first, which is exciting to see."
The Ephs had a reasonably efficient game from the floor, shooting 27 of 64 (42.2%). They weren't as strong from beyond the arc as they have been in recent games, converting on only 7 of 28 (25.0%) attempts. But in a game where they comfortably led throughout, it was more than enough.
Tomorrow at 3:00PM, the Ephs play their second and final game of the Holiday Classic against Babson.