AMHERST, MA – Fueled by a decisive 22-4 run in the third quarter, the Amherst Mammoths (16-2, 3-1 NESCAC) defeated the Williams Ephs (13-5, 2-3 NESCAC) in a 63-40 game.
In a rematch of an Amherst victory in Williamstown less than two weeks ago, the Mammoths earned a season sweep of the Ephs in a dominant effort. Four of five Amherst starters scored at least 10 points, and the Mammoth defense made key halftime adjustments to stymie the Williams offense. For the Ephs, today's defeat ended a road trip in which Williams went 1-2, falling to two excellent NESCAC opponents in Bowdoin and Amherst.
"We could've executed better that we did," stated Eph head coach Pat Manning following the loss, which puts Williams at 2-3 against NESCAC opponents this season. "I don't think we played as together as we needed to."
The Ephs fell into an early hole in the first quarter, scoring just 7 points. Williams started the game with a three by Emily Chang '20, but Amherst subsequently ripped off a 19-2 run before Morgan Dauk '21 ended the scoring with a jumper to make it 19-7. The Ephs shot just 3 of 17 (17.6%) from the floor, while Amherst was much more efficient, making 9 of 13 (69.2) of their field goal attempts.
Amherst continued their momentum in the second quarter, scoring eight straight to increase their lead to 27-7. Williams responded by going on an 11-3 run to finish off the half, but ended up facing the same twelve-point deficit that they finished the first with, at 30-18.
The Ephs' deficit only increased, as the Mammoths put on a clinic on both offense and defense in the third. Williams did not score until just 4:18 remained in the quarter, by which point Amherst had already scored 11 points. The Mammoths hurt the Ephs from behind the arc and at the line, making 3 three-pointers and 7 free throws in the third quarter alone. The Ephs, on the other hand, managed just two made field goals, and did not manage a single free throw attempt in the quarter.
By the fourth, the game was already out of hand, as Amherst finished the third with a 30-point, 52-22 lead. Facing less resistance on the offensive end, Williams managed nearly as many points in the fourth (18) as they scored the rest of the game (22).
Manning noted that Amherst roared out of the gate in each half, and how the Ephs played their best ball in the second and fourth quarters. "We started poorly in the first, but in the second, we fought and had a solid quarter. The same happened in the second half – we didn't start off well at all in the third quarter, but kept on fighting in the fourth." In the end, the deficits that the Ephs fell into in the first and third quarters proved to be too much to stay competitive towards the end of the game.
The Ephs have been strong on the boards this season, but were not tonight, as the Mammoths outrebounded them 39-23. Williams also suffered one of its worst shooting days of the season, going just 16 of 54 (29.6%) from the field and 5 of 19 (26.3%) from beyond the arc. The Mammoths were efficient from three, going 5 of 12 (41.7%), and also shot 10 of 14 from the line (71.4%).
Dauk led Williams with 10 points off the bench. The two starting Eph guards – Maggie Meehan '21 and Mikaela Topper '21 – combined for just 9 points, all in the second quarter, on 4-for-22 shooting. On the Amherst side, Hannah Fox fell one rebound short of a double-double with 15 points and 9 rebounds. Three other Mammoths scored in double digits.
Despite scoring only three points, Gabby Martin '21 enjoyed a strong showing off the bench. "Gabby works hard every second," noted Manning. "She competed, got three steals, and played every possession with everything she has. That's what we want to see."
In order to bounce back, the Ephs will need to "play the full 40 minutes," in Manning's words. "There are things to take away that are positive, but we also know that it takes 40 minutes, and at this point in the season, 18 games in, it should be something that we already know."
The Ephs will have their next shot to play a complete game this Saturday at 3:00PM, when they come back home to face Middlebury.