AMHERST, Mass. — Amherst built a 14-point halftime lead and pulled away for a 79-55 win against York (Pa.) on Friday evening at LeFrak Gymnasium to advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament.
Amherst kept its unbeaten season intact, improving to 30-0 on the year, while York’s season comes to a close at 24-6, with five of its losses coming to teams currently ranked in the top-10 nationally.
The Spartans shot a combined 59.8 percent in their first two NCAA tournament games, but Amherst held them to 24.0 percent in the first half and 33.3 percent overall. The Jeffs, meanwhile, shot 43.3 percent from the floor, including 9-for-21 from long range (.429).
Caroline Stedman scored 20 points, Lem Atanga McCormick had 18, Marcia Voigt added 17 and Megan Robertson chipped in with 12 to lead the Lord Jeffs, who won for the 49th time in a row and bumped their unbeaten streak at home to 66 games.
Brittany Hicks led all players with 26 points on 8-of-13 shooting and added 13 rebounds, but the rest of the Spartans were a combined 10-for-41 (.244). Hicks also accounted for York’s only two 3-pointers, while Aja Wallpher scored 10 points and dished out six assists.
Voigt accounted for Amherst’s first five points and Stedman scored the next eight, as an early 11-2 run helped the hosts build a 15-6 lead. Atanga McCormick buried a 3-pointer and followed with a turnaround jumper to help the Jeffs pull away in the first half’s closing moments, giving Amherst a 32-18 lead at the break after the Spartans were held to one point in the final 4:20.
A 14-2 run in the second half helped the Jeffs put the game away, as they pushed their lead to 25 points at 61-36 with only eight minutes to play. York got as close as 19 on a free throw by Hicks with 3:12 to go, but the Spartans were held to only one more point until Jess Selby hit a runner at the buzzer to bring the final score to 79-55.
Friday’s defensive performance was among the best of the season for the Lord Jeffs, who recorded 10 blocks and 10 steals against only nine turnovers. Jackie Renner accounted for four of those blocks and Robertson added three, while Stedman led all players with three steals.