March 7, 2009

Courtesy of Amherst

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College women’s basketball team earned a 76-37 win over Emmanuel College Saturday evening in LeFrak Gymnasium in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Lord Jeffs improve to 27-2 on the year, while the Saints’ impressive season comes to a close at 22-8.

The Lord Jeffs advance to the Round of 16 for the second consecutive year, while their next opponent, game time and game location have yet to be determined. In last year’s Round of 16, Amherst suffered a 68-63 loss to DePauw University, marking the best finish in program history (27-3).

Physical play and tough defense defined the opening period. With the Saints trailing by three early in the first half, sophomore forward Breanna Ockimey (Philadelphia, PA) nailed a long ball from the corner that evened out the score. Seconds later Amherst first-year Lem Atenga McCormick (Chicago, IL) reeled in a fast break outlet pass, scored the ensuing bucket and drew a foul. This three-point play set the Jeff lead to four points just six minutes into the period.

First-year Caroline Stedman (Walpole, MA) got on the board with a three-pointer with 11:00 to go in the first, increasing the Jeffs’ lead to nine. Classmate Kim Fiorentino (Holmdel, NJ) hit a long ball of her own with 5:20 left in the half, setting the Jeff lead at 12, 25-13.

The Saints’ defense could not contain Atenga McCormick as she had 13 first-half points while shooting 6-for-9 from the field. Rounding out the Jeffs’ first-half scoring were senior Amanda Otieno (Gloucester, MA) and first-year Shannon Finucane (Cortland, NY), who each added six to put Amherst ahead by 21 at the close of the period, 37-16.

Emmanuel approached the second half aggressively by attacking the basket in the opening seconds of the period and getting a quick lay-up from junior guard Iman Davis (Toms River, NJ). Amherst answered with a long three-pointer from Fiiorentino, stretching the lead to 26 (45-19) only three minutes into the period.

Despite a game-high 18-point effort from Davis, who shot an impressive 8-for-10 from the line, Emmanuel was not able to close the gap and stop the Lord Jeff scoring attack. Atanga McCormick was the high scorer for the Jeffs with 17 points and six rebounds, shooting 8-for-11 from the field. Sophomore Courtney Long (Norwich, CT) and Jaci Daigneault (Guilford, CT) each scored 11 for the Jeffs and Finucane added a quiet 10.

Fiorentino finished with six points, five assists, three rebounds, two blocks and a pair of steals in a solid all-around effort. Otieno added four assists, while Stedman and Long each had three. Stedman added four steals in only 17 minutes of action.

Amherst shot 52.7 percent from the floor and 87.5 percent from the charity stripe, while Emmanuel was held to 22 percent from the floor and 0-for-5 from beyond the arc.