AMHERST, Mass. – The No. 1/1 Amherst College women's basketball team defeated UMass Dartmouth, 73-33 in Saturday evening's NCAA Division III Championship Sectional Final to advance to the program's second straight NCAA Final Four and the seventh in program history.
With the win, Amherst improves to 31-0 on the season, while UMass Dartmouth concludes its historic campaign 25-6 overall. The Purple & White will square off against Ohio Northern University/Christopher Newport University on Friday, March 17 at Van Noord Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Amherst hit the floor running in the first quarter, jumping out to an early 13-0 lead as Jaimie Renner '17 canned a trey while Emma McCarthy '19 netted four points during the run. Alicia Kutil hit UMass Dartmouth's first basket of the game at the 3:01 mark as the Purple & White rolled to a 22-2 lead after 10 minutes of action.
Renner struck again from three-point range to start the second quarter For Amherst, before the Corsairs went on a 9-0 run. Nakira Examond started the stretch with a mid-range jumper and Chelsea Houlihan cashed in a trey to help pull the visitors to within 14 and 25-11 with 5:22 to play. Ali Doswell '17 halted the UMass Dartmouth run with a triple, and Madeline Eck '20 powered in three consecutive layups to make it 34-11 with 3:23 on the clock. A pair of swishes from beyond-the-arc by Ali and Meredith Doswell helped Amherst extend the cushion to 40-11 before Rybecca Gonzalez canned a trey of her won to make it 40-14. Eck scored her eighth point of the quarter to give Amherst a 42-14 lead at intermission.
In the third quarter, Amherst used four points from Hannah Hackley '18, three each from Meredith Doswell and McCarthy, and two apiece from Maeve McNamara '19 and Natalie Nardella '20 to help the Purple & White run its lead to 56-25.
McNamara and Hannah Fox '20 provided five points each including a three-pointer each, while Eck added a triple to lead the hosts in the final stanza. JJ Daniell '19 and Jenna Schumacher '19 chipped in two points each as Amherst cruised to the 73-33 victory.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Ali Doswell and Eck led all scorers with 11 points each, while Renner and Meredith Doswell finished with 10 points each in the winning effort.
- Meredith Doswell was terrific on the glass, picking up a double-double with 10 rebounds and also chipped in six assists. Renner added four assists and five rebounds, while Jackie Nagle '18 picked up eight boards in reserve.
- McCarthy and McNamara finished with seven points each, while Nardella pulled down six rebounds.
- Hackley and Ali Doswell combined for nine of Amherst's 16 steals in the win.
- The Purple & White shot 42.2% from the floor and 36% from three-point range while limiting the Corsairs to 26% shooting from the field, 20% from beyond-the-arc and 45.5% from the free throw line.
- UMass Dartmouth was led by 10 points each from Examond and Kutil, while Houlihan and Rachel McCarron followed with six and four points respectively.
- Examond was also the team-leader in rebounds with five, while Kutil contributed four boards in the losing effort.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- Amherst has now advanced to the national semifinals for the second time in a row, and seventh time in program history, including five straight appearances between 2009 and 2013, and highlighted by a national championship in 2011. The Purple & White enter semifinal action with a 37-11 overall record in NCAA postseason play.
- Against the potential Final Four field, Amherst is 1-0 against its NESCAC rival Tufts University, having defeated the Jumbos, 47-42 in NCAA Third Round play in 2013.
- Against Washington-St. Louis, Amherst is 1-2, having lost semifinal games in 2009 (65-49), and 86-75 (ot) in 2010, before defeating the Bears, 64-55 to win its national crown in 2011.
- The Purple & White also defeated Christopher Newport, 69-59 in the semifinals of the 2011 championship season.