MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Despite a strong second half performance, the Wesleyan University women's basketball team couldn't overcome a halftime deficit as the Cardinals lost to the defending national champions and nationally-ranked No. 1 Amherst College, 66-51.
Wesleyan outscored the Mammoths 28-26 in the final 20 minutes of regulation but came up short to fall to 9-5 overall and 1-3 in the NESCAC. Amherst remains perfect on the season and is now 16-0 overall and 3-0 in league play.
FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- Similar to last night's game, the Cardinals came out hot and hit their first two jumpers to take a 5-0 lead just 36 seconds in.
- However, the Mammoths responded with a 13-4 run capped off by a three from Madeline Eck at the 4:42 mark.
- Chynna Bailey '19 hit one from behind-the-arc to even the score at 14-14 shortly after, but Amherst scored nine unanswered as Maeve McNamara hit a buzzer-beater from three to give the visitor's a 23-14 lead at the end of the first.
- A jumper by Tara Berger '19 followed by a three from Olivia Gorman '19 in the opening seconds of the second quarter cut the deficit to four.
- With 3:15 remaining in the half, Eck put the Mammoths up by 10 off a put-back layup.
- Amherst closed out the first half with an 8-0 run to claim a 40-23 halftime lead.
- Eck and Gorman led all scorers at the break with 13 points each. Gorman was a perfect 3-of-3 from downtown and Eck was 5-of-6 from the floor.
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- It was all Amherst early in the third quarter as the visitors took a commanding 52-28 lead following a three-pointer from Hannah Fox.
- However, freshman Katy O'Connor gave the Cardinals a spark off the bench with two three-pointers in the closing minutes of the third as Wesleyan outscored Amherst 10-2 in the final 3:17.
- Wesleyan didn't back down and slowly cut into the deficit with its stingy defense.
- With 3:09 to play in regulation, Baily grabbed an offensive rebound and went right back up for the layup to get the Cardinals within 12 (61-49).
- However, that proved to be the closest Wesleyan would get the rest of the way as Amherst held off a late scare to claim the 15-point win.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Gorman was held scoreless in the second half but finished as the team's leading scorer with 13. Bailey added nine points, five rebounds and three assists, and Maddie Bledsoe '18 scored seven points with a game-high nine boards. Berger added five points, four rebounds, three assists, two blocks and one steal.
- Four players scored in double-figures for Amherst led by Eck's game-high 15. She also pulled in seven rebounds. Fox finished with 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting from downtown, Emma McCarthy dropped 13 points and Hannah Hackley finished with 11.
- Wesleyan's bench outscored Amherst's, 19-10.
- The Cardinals have a short turnaround as they return to Silloway Gym Monday night to host non-conference foe Springfield. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.