By Amro El-Adle '13, Managing Sports Editor
The women’s basketball team put the finishing touch on their first perfect regular season in Amherst basketball history over the weekend in a fashion befitting their performance thus far — dominant.

On Friday night, the Jeffs renewed their rivalry with Williams College at LeFrak Gymnasium in a game that featured a fight for the No. 1 overall seed in this weekend’s NESCAC Tournament. In front of a gym brimming with eager fans, the Jeffs did not disappoint.

In what has been characteristic of their performances all year, the Jeffs came out with energy and throttled a Williams team that simply did not show up. By the 13:11 mark, the Jeffs had taken complete control with 18-2 run, driven largely by one of the best scoring defenses in Div. III. Williams committed five turnovers during that stretch and missed all eight of the shots that they attempted, with their only points coming off a successful trip to the line early on. The only real concern for Amherst were the two fouls that sophomore Lem Atanga McCormick picked up early on, and eventually a third foul that she picked up in the frame. For the half, the Jeffs held their counterparts to 8-27 shooting from the floor, forced them to commit 14 turnovers and out-rebounded the Ephs 20-16. They went into the locker room with a 39-25 advantage.

To their credit, the Ephs came out of the break determined, as they churned out an 8-3 run to cut the deficit to 42-33 with 15:30 to go. But sophomore Caroline Stedman shot right back with a three-pointer to push the lead to double digits, where it remained for the rest of the game. Amherst shot a sizzling 9-16 from downtown in the second frame, to cap an 86-52 thrashing of the Ephs. Seven Amherst players passed the seven-point mark, with sophomore Shannon Finucane, junior Kristyn Dunleavy, Stedman, junior co-captain Sarah Leyman and sophomore Jackie Renner all tapping into double-digits. Renner also chipped in with four blocks, three steals and a career-high 14 boards in what was essentially a showcase of the Jeffs’ depth and talent. Furthermore, the Jeffs were playing without junior co-captain and inside presence Jaci Daigneault. “I believe that what makes our team so difficult to play is that we have a different person stepping up each night,” said Stedman. “Our opponents can’t just hone in on one person because there are four other girls on the court who are going to step up.”

In what was their final game of their regular season, the Jeffs waxed the Middlebury Panthers 79-46 to finish 24-0, including 9-0 in the NESCAC.

The Jeffs, as usual, flew off the starting blocks, with McCormick netting seven points on outside points to propel Amherst to an 11-2 edge about three minutes into the game. The Panthers responded with a quick six-point spurt to dice the Amherst advantage down to three.

Issue 15, Submitted 2010-02-24 15:21:13