March 5, 2010

Courtesy of Amherst Athletics

AMHERST, MA - The top-ranked Amherst College women's basketball team opened up play in the 2010 NCAA Division III Tournament this evening in front of a packed crowd at LeFrak Gymnasium against the visiting Trailblazers of MCLA. Amherst stretched a seven point halftime lead into a 68-47 win to advance to tomorrow's Second Round. The Lord Jeffs (29-0) will face Southern Maine tomorrow at 5 p.m. for a spot in the Sectional Semifinals.

Amherst scored the first five points of the game, before MCLA got on the board with a pair of free throws from Jen Wehner. A put-back from Lem Atanga McCormick (Chicago, IL) with 16:39 left in the half put Amherst up 8-2, before MCLA's Jade Prickett buried a jumper. With 15:17 remaining, NESCAC Player of the Year Caroline Stedman (Walpole, MA) drove for a score, before hitting a transition three on the next possession.

A Sarah Leyman (Cincinnati, OH) post score and an Atanga McCormick layup put Amherst up 17-6 with 12:18 left in the half. After a miss by Shannon Finucane (Cortland, NY), MCLA's Alie Dobrovolc took the ball the distance for a tough runner. Leyman answered right back with a high bank off the glass. Just before the midpoint, Lucy Tremblay cut Amherst's lead to 19-10 finishing off a drive to the right.

Neither team scored for nearly four minutes of game play, before Stedman hit a layup at the 6:33 mark. Wehner answered with a jumper, and after a score from NESCAC Rookie of the Year Marcia Voigt (Skillman, NJ), Wehner completed a three-point play the old fashioned way to close the gap to 23-15. Wehner had a block on the defensive end, and then scored again on MCLA's next possession.

A three from MCLA's Lucy Tremblay with 1:26 to play left Amherst up 29-21, before a 1-for-2 trip to the free throw line with just under a minute to play closed the gap to seven points. Stedman made a pair at the line with 47 seconds showing, before Wehner found Tremblay on a back door cut for a response. Amherst got three shots off on its final possession of the half, but came up empty to head into the break leading 31-24.

At the break, Amherst was shooting just 35% from the field and 1-of-11 from beyond the arc. Wehner led all players with 11 points for the Trailblazers, while Stedman paced the Jeffs with nine points. Renner and Leyman each scored seven for Amherst, while Atanga McCormick had six points and six rebounds.

After nearly five minutes of second-half action, Amherst was able to add just one point to its lead at 36-28. With 13:11 remaining, Finucane turned a steal by Leyman into three points for Amherst with a deep triple from the right wing. The three put Amherst up 42-30 and forced an MCLA timeout.

Just before the midpoint of the half, MCLA's Molly Broda banked in threes on back-to-back possessions, but Amherst answered with a triple by Kristyn Dunleavy (E. Setauket, NY) and a bucket by Leyman. Jackie Renner (Newton, MA) made a three to put Amherst up 53-40 and force another MCLA timeout.

Wehner converted a three-point play with 5:42 showing on the clock, shaving a few off what had become a 20-point Amherst lead, but MCLA never got any closer. Down the stretch, Amherst head coach G.P. Gromacki was able to rest his starters in anticipation of tomorrow's Second Round matchup against Southern Maine. Neither team scored in the final 1:23 of the game, with Amherst taking home a 68-47 win.

Amherst was led by 15 points from each Stedman and Leyman, while Renner and Atanga McCormick finished with 10 points apiece. Wehner ended the night with a game-high 18 points and nine rebounds, adding four assists and three blocks. While Amherst improves to 29-0 on the year, MCLA's season comes to an end at 18-10 with the loss.