WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – The Williams Ephs (8-0, 2-0 in tournament), defeated the Babson College Beavers (3-4, 1-1), 64-45, to win the 2019 Williams Holiday Classic, headlined by a 22-point showing from tournament MVP Maggie Meehan '21 and another strong effort on defense.
After leading the Ephs in points in both tournament games, Meehan was named MVP, while Mikaela Topper '21 and Babson's Katherine Tamulionis were also named to the All-Tournament Team. Topper was the only other Eph to score double-digit points in both tournament games, while Tamulionis logged seven points, four steals, and three assists in today's game.
The game started off close, but the Ephs broke away in the second quarter, outscoring the Beavers 21-8 – a margin that would've been even wider had Babson not made a buzzer-beating three. The Ephs' 15-point halftime lead held despite the offense slowing down in the third quarter, thanks to a suffocating defense that limited Babson to just 30 points after the end of the first quarter.
"Defense is what we're about," commented Manning. "I think this was our best defensive effort of the season, and it had to be, because Babson's a very good team."
The Ephs and Beavers went back and forth in the first, with Williams holding a 17-15 lead with neither team having led by more than four. In fact, neither team scored more than four points in a row. Meehan and Topper combined for 13 of the Ephs' 17 first-quarter points and all three of their 3-point makes.
The second quarter started off as a defensive battle, as neither team scored in the first 2:58 of the half. Forward Katie Brule '20 broke the scoring drought with a fast-break layup, and Meehan made a jump shot to extend the Ephs' lead to six. The Beavers responded by scoring their first basket of the second nearly 4 minutes in on Shaye Galletta's layup, but Topper hit a three on the Ephs' next possession. The Ephs continued to pour it on, extending their second-quarter run to 19-3 on another Topper three-pointer with 1:35 to go. Even after Babson's Christina Bonfiglio hit a buzzer-beating three, the Beavers finished with as many turnovers as made field goals in the second quarter (3).
Williams, however, struggled on offense in the third. Though the Beavers only cut the deficit to eight, the Ephs didn't score in the second half until almost six minutes in, when Maddy Mandyck '22 made a reverse layup to make it a 40-30 game. In the end, the Ephs managed only nine third-quarter points, but Mandyck made a big difference, scoring the first five of those points. The Ephs' defense, headlined by Mandyck, held as well, holding Babson to 11 points in the quarter and keeping the Williams lead at 13 entering the final frame.
"Maddy off the bench was fantastic, especially defensively," said Manning regarding Mandyck's standout performance.
The Ephs turned their momentum from the end of the third into an 8-0 run that spanned both the third and fourth quarters, giving them their largest lead of the game at 17. Williams never let the lead get below 11 from there, with Emily Chang '20 hitting two threes in the quarter, including the dagger with 2:17 left to put the Ephs ahead 61-45.
The Ephs led the Beavers in field-goal percentage (42.1% vs. 30.4%), three-point field goal percentage (39.1% vs. 25.0%), and rebounding (41-35). Williams capitalized on Babson turnovers throughout the game, scoring 23 points off turnovers compared to just five for the Beavers.
Meehan, this year's tournament MVP, recorded a team-leading 22 points and four steals. Off the bench, Mandyck had her best game of the season, stuffing the stat sheet with 9 points, five rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Topper added 15 more points, five rebounds, and a team-leading four free throws made.
Shaye Galletta paced the Beavers with 11 points, but was the only Babson player to score in double digits. Emily Bonifacic led Babson in rebounds with nine, while All-Tournament Team member Tamulionis led the Beavers in steals with four.
Forward Emily Peckham '20 left the game with an injury early in the third quarter and did not return. "It's hard to find words to describe what Emily has meant to us," remarked Manning. "She's been such an amazing presence on and off the court, and her game has grown so much this year."
The Ephs do not play again until December 18th at 2PM, when they travel to Miami, Florida to play Delaware Valley.