Saturday women: Wait, is that a final?

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There weren't many open looks for either team in No. 2 Amherst's 36-35 win over No. 1 Tufts on Saturday.
Photo by Pat Cordeiro, Tufts athletics

One of the most anticipated games of the 2016-17 season will also be one of its lowest scoring games. No. 2 Amherst scratched past No. 1 Tufts 36-35 as the teams shot a combined 28 percent from the field.

Senior Day ended in disappointment for No. 1 Tufts as the Jumbos fell 36-35 to No. 2 Amherst in showdown between the two teams that started the season ranked 1-2 in the Top 25.  Tufts jumped out to an early lead, starting the game 7-0.  Amherst won the second quarter 10-3, narrowing the lead, but were unable to catch up until a Hannah Hackley three-point play put Amherst in front 36-35 with 1:18 left. Tufts had two chances to reclaim the lead that ended in a missed jumper and a turnover.

Both teams struggled on offense with Amherst shooting 10-for-39 and Tufts 13-for-44. The teams even struggled from the foul line where Amherst went 13-for-21 and Tufts 7-for-14. Ali Doswell scored 17 points for Amherst (22-0, 8-0 NESCAC) while Melissa Baptista had 12 points for the Jumbos (21-8, 8-1 NESCAC) before fouling out midway through the fourth. 

Because the NESCAC plays a single round robin, this is the only meeting between the two teams in the regular season. Amherst will have a chance to secure hosting rights throughout the NESCAC playoffs with a win against Middlebury or Hamilton next weekend.

The Tufts-Amherst game was the first regular season meeting between the top two teams in the Top 25 rankings since DePauw beat Washington U. in December 2013. Meetings between the top two teams during the regular season are very rare as shown below.

Date Result
Feb. 4, 2017 No. 2 Amherst 36, No. 1 Tufts 35 
Dec. 13, 2013 No. 1 DePauw 74, No. 2 Wash U. 62
March 15, 2008 No. 2 Howard Payne 53, No. 1 Hope 49
March 12, 2005 No. 1 Scranton 49, No. 2 Bowdoin 43
Nov. 30, 2004 No. 1 Bowdoin 63, No. 2 Southern Me. 55
March 12, 2004 No. 1 Bowdoin 59, No. 2 Southern Me. 55
March 15, 2003 No. 1 UW-Eau Claire 74, No. 2 Hope 56
Jan. 21, 2001 No. 1 Wash U. 72, No. 2 NYU 37
March 2000 No. 1 Wash U. 81, No. 2 UW-Eau Claire 63

No. 12 Trinity (Texas) edged Texas Lutheran 74-71 to split the season series with the Bulldogs and move a half-game up in the SCAC standings. Savannah Hight scored 10 of her 26 points in a two-minutes span to pull Texas Lutheran within one point of the Tigers with a minute to play, and the Bulldogs had a shot to take the lead with 12 seconds left but couldn't convert. Micah Weaver tallied 21 points and nine rebounds for Trinity (20-1, 9-1 SCAC). Box score

No. 15 Montclair State dominated Stockton 79-53 in their second meeting in six days. Katie Tobie notched 17 points and 10 assists and Katie Sire tallied 24 points and eight rebounds for the Red Hawks (20-2, 13-2 NJAC). Recap

Muskingum hung tough with No. 6 Ohio Northern before the Polar Bears used an 18-9 third quarter to pull away from the Muskies, 86-78. Six Ohio Northern players scored double-figures and Amy Bullimore posted a double-double (16 points, 14 rebounds) for the Polar Bears (21-0, 14-0 OAC). Ohio Northern, which has a four-game lead and the tiebreaker advantages over Baldwin Wallace and Wilmington, secured the top seed in the OAC playoffs. Box score

The WIAC produced the biggest surprise of the day as UW-Stout whacked No. 19 UW-Whitewater, 70-50. Jenna Goldsmith scored 23 points for the Blue Devils (7-14, 3-7 WIAC) who built a 35-19 halftime lead and outscored the Warhawks 38-12 in the paint. Recap

Trine turned the MIAA into a two-horse race by surging past Calvin, 54-46. The Thunder outscored the Knights 23-12 in the fourth quarter, giving Trine a season sweep of Calvin. Trine (18-2, 11-1 MIAA) remains tied with No. 10 Hope, which was idle today.

FDU-Florham rode the strong play of seniors Alyssa McDonough and Rachel Groom to an 84-81 win at DeSales. McDonough tallied 26 points, 12 rebounds and five assists while Groom had 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Blue Devils, who swept the regular season series with the Bulldogs. Megan Baird scored 27 points off the bench for DeSales. Box score

Camille McPherson stayed hot and so did Moravian, as the Greyhounds' forward posted another double-double (25 points, 14 rebounds) in Moravian's 66-61 win over Elizabethtown. Moravian (16-5, 8-2 Landmark), which has won five straight, remains two games behind No. 25 Catholic (69-39 winners at Drew) and a game in front of No. 14 Scranton (76-62 winners at Juniata).