Williams Athletics

MEDFORD., MA — Sophomore Danny Rainer hit a last second shot in overtime Saturday, lifting the Williams College women's basketball team to a thrilling 61-59 win over Tufts.

The win lifted Williams to 15-1 overall, 2-0 in conference play while the Jumbos fell to 10-2, 1-1 in the NESCAC. It was the second year in a row the Ephs had defeated Tufts on a last-second shot. Williams will be home against Connecticut College Friday at 8 p.m.

Rainer scored 8 of her 12 points in the second half and overtime periods. Claire Baecher led the Ephs with 15 points and five rebounds, while Taylor Shea added 14 points and six rebounds.

With the score tied at 59 in the extra session, Tufts had the ball with 58 seconds remaining. A turnover gave the ball back to the Ephs. Jill Greenberg drove to the basket, but her shot went in and out. Rainer leapt high in the air and tipped the ball through the cylindar with 4.8 seconds remaining.

Tufts' Colleen Hart had a final desperation shot fall short at the buzzer.

"Watching them tie it after 40 minutes of pure intensity, we knew they had the momentum going into the overtime," Ephs' head coach Pat Manning said. "For us to stay calm, stay composed and pull out the win was incredible. Everyone gave a great effort today."

The game reached an overtime period thanks to Tufts' Hart, who nailed a three-pointer with 12 seconds left in regulation to tie the game, 57-57. Williams had two chances to win the game, but Greenberg missed a lay-up with four seconds to go and Rehnquist misfired on a three-point attempt at the buzzer.

Tufts was relentless in its pursuit of Williams, even after the Ephs took a 49-40 lead on a Taylor Shea jumper with 8:21 remaining in the contest. Rainer was key for the Ephs, scoring six of their final eight points. When Tufts climbed within two at 49-47, Rainer hit a jumper. When the Jumbos closed it to again, Rainer hit another jumper.

Williams led 55-54 when Rainer converted a lay-up with 26 seconds left in the game to set up the dramatic conclusion to regulation.

"Danny was unbelievable today," Manning said. "Not only were each of her baskets at critical times, nearly all of them came with the shot clock under five seconds. She showed incredible poise and played great defense as well. She really stepped up for us."

Baecher scored 10 of her points in another wild first half. The Ephs trailed 8-6 early on, but a 10-0 run over a 2:57 period gave them a 16-8 lead with 11:33 left in the opening stanza. Five different Ephs scored in the run, with Jackson started it off with a game-tying lay-up. Jennie Harding followed a turnover with a lay-up in transition, and a Jackson steal led to a Shea lay-up off an assist from Greenberg. Baecher capped the run with a short jumper that gave the Ephs an eight-point lead.

Tufts would come within four twice before the halftime break, but the Ephs would answer each time, save for their possession before the halftime buzzer. Williams shot 57 percent from the floor in the first half while outrebounded the Jumbos, 16-14.

Tufts shot 37.3% from the floor (25/67) for the game, but 21 Williams turnovers helped the Jumbos to 12 extra field-goal attempts. The Ephs were an excellent 47.3% (26/55). The rebounding battle was even at 36, and the game saw seven ties.