No. 1 Amherst downs No. 16 Kean
Stedman’s career-high 31 points leads Lord Jeffs past Cougars
AMHERST, Mass. -- Caroline Stedman scored a career-high 31 points and Jackie Renner played a solid all-around game to lead top-ranked Amherst to an 81-58 win against No. 16 Kean on Tuesday.
Renner buried a 3-pointer to ignite a 12-0 run that gave Amherst (15-0) a 58-36 lead with 13:05 to play, and the Cougars (15-3) were never able to recover. The Lord Jeffs increased their home winning streak to 58 games and have won 34 consecutive overall, while Kean had its nine-game unbeaten streak come to a halt.
Stedman’s 31 points surpassed her previous career best of 26, as she shot 7-for-10 from the floor in the second half and made 11 of her 12 free throws on the night. Renner finished with nine points, six assists and four rebounds as the most efficient player on the floor.
Renner also used exceptional defense to keep one of the nation’s best players in check all night, as Naimah Clemons entered the game averaging 24.9 points but was held to seven. Noel Mathis stood out for Kean with 17 points, nine rebounds and five steals, while Danielle McFadden added 16 points, nine boards and three steals.
Mathis and Simone Smith connected on their first attempts of the game to spot the visitors an early 4-0 lead, but Amherst used 3-pointers by Kim Fiorentino and Shannon Finucane to respond with an 11-0 run.
Mathis cut Kean’s deficit to four (16-12) by burying a shot from beyond the arc, but Amherst’s Lem Atanga McCormick and Jasmine Hardy hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to push the lead back to 10 with 10:42 to play in the half.
After both teams went ice cold and combined for only seven points during a five-minute stretch, McFadden hit a layup to make it a 30-23 game in favor of the Jeffs. Amherst would score the final four points of the first half - all on Stedman free throws -- to carry a 34-23 lead into the break.
Amherst pulled down 13 offensive rebounds in the first half and attempted 10 more shots than Kean did, but both teams shot below 30 percent and missed several open looks at the basket.
The Jeffs opened the second half with a layup by Renner and a Stedman 3-pointer, but Kean traded punches and scored on six of its first seven possessions. The Cougars trailed by only 10 (46-36) with 15:33 to play, but Renner’s next three began the game-changing 12-0 run that took the wind out of Kean’s sails.
The Cougars made one last big push with a three-point play by Mathis, who added a layup to cut the deficit to 60-45. Kean’s full-court pressure gave the Jeffs trouble, but Amherst regrouped and put together a 9-0 run. The hosts led by at least 19 points for the final 10 minutes, with Stedman accounting for all nine of her team’s points during a particularly dominant stretch.
After shooting only 26.3 percent in the first half, Amherst knocked down 55.2 percent of its shots in the second. Kean also saw its shooting percentage increase to 45.7 in the second period, but the Cougars were 0-for-4 from beyond the arc and 3-for-12 at the line after the break.