|Kate Barnosky, who played in four NCAA Tournaments for the Jumbos, concluded her career on Friday
AMHERST – Senior Bridget Crowley netted a team-high 10 points, including a pair of crucial free throws in the waning moments of regulation, to lead the Amherst women's basketball team to a tightly-contested 47-42 victory over Tufts in NCAA Sectional semi-final action at LeFrak Gymnasium Friday night.
With points at a premium, Amherst weathered a second-half dryspell that saw the Jeffs log just one field goal in the final 11:25 by holding Tufts to just 33.3 percent (16/48) from the floor and 0 for 6 from three-point range.
Also defeating the Jumbos 54-48 on Feb. 2, Amherst extended its win streak over its conference rival to 10 while improving to 29-1 on the season. With the victory, the Jeffs will host Widener University in the sectional finals on Saturday at 7:30 pm with a spot in the Final Four on the line.
Hitting on just two of 14 field goal attempts, senior Marcia Voigt found other ways to contribute, setting a new career-best with a game-high 10 rebounds and dishing out seven assists. Sophomore Megan Robertson and senior Jasmine Hardy each had nine points, combining for 12 boards, while sophomore Savannah Holness had eight points off the bench.
Sophomore Hayley Kanner (Scarsdale, NY) paced Tufts (25-3) with 12 points on six for 11 shooting and seven rebounds. Classmate Hannah Foley (Acton, MA) finished with 10 points and five boards. Graduate student Kate Barnosky (Huntington Station, NY) and sophomore Kelsey Morehead (Foster City, CA) chipped in with eight and seven points, respectively.
Opening up the scoring with a put-back after a Crowley miscue, Robertson staked the Jeffs to an early edge. Crowley extended the lead to four with a jumper from the left elbow before Voigt hit a turnaround in the lane. Barnosky answered with Tufts' first points at 14:05, but Robertson later connected on a three-pointer to make it 9-2.
Ducking underneath for a reverse layup inside of the 10-minute mark, Morehead recorded just the Jumbos' second basket, trimming the deficit to five. With Amherst extending its margin to eight on a Haley Zwecker triple from the left wing, junior Liz Moynihan (Storrs, CT) found Kanner down low for two, cutting it to 12-6.
Netting four straight points from the free throw line, Holness pushed the Jeff cushion to 10. Foley trimmed the lead to eight, going 2 for 2 from the charity stripe at 5:38, before Kanner scored in the paint to pull Tufts within six. With Tufts down 22-15 after a pair of Hardy free throws, Tufts first-year Emma Roberson (Arlington, MA) drove the lane for two, cutting the Jumbo deficit to five at the intermission.
Up 24-21 early in the second half, Hardy buried a trey from the right wing to put Amherst up six. Down eight after a pair of Crowley free throws, Tufts' Kanner connected on consecutive layups, pulling Tufts within four, but Voigt found a wide-open Cheyenne Pritchard spotted up at the three-point line, putting the Jeffs up 32-25. Looking to bring the Jumbos back, Kanner drew a foul before laying it in for two at 11:40.
With Kanner missing the ensuing free throw, Hardy drained a three while drawing contact, completing a four-point play and a five-point swing that had Amherst up 38-30. Battling back, Kanner struck again down low before a pair of Moynihan and Morehead buckets suddenly sliced the Jeff margin to two (38-36).
Hitting a jumper from the right elbow, Robertson put the home team back up 40-36. Getting a second chance off a Bre Dufault (Hampden, MA) offensive rebound, Foley stuck a long two from the right side to once again make it a one-possession game. Four-straight Crowley and Pritchard free throws stretched the Amherst margin to six before Foley laid it in at 2:12 to make it 44-40.
Needing a stop with under a minute to play, Voigt jumped into the passing lane, picking off a Morehead pass. Forcing a Voigt to her right following a time-out, Tufts looked to have a chance to get the ball back, but could not corral the rebound. Forced to foul Robertson after a held ball, the Jumbos saw Amherst's lead grow to just five with the center hitting just 1 of 2 from the stripe.
Drawing a foul on the other end, Foley knocked down a pair of free throws to make it 45-42, but Crowley did her part to stave off the visitors' comeback bid, hitting a pair from the line on the ensuing possession to seal the win.
Tufts 25 wins are the second most in school history, training just the 2007-08 team's 26 victories.
Game recap courtesy of Amherst College