AMHERST, Mass. – January 12, 2009 - The fourth-ranked Amherst College women’s basketball team played host to Springfield College at LeFrak Gymnasium in the Lord Jeffs’ final non-conference game before opening NESCAC play this weekend and improved to 14-0 on the season after pulling away for a 73-51 win.
Amherst started the game with a triple from sophomore Courtney Long and ran out to a 19-9 lead on another three from first-year Shannon Finucane at the 12:49 mark.
Sophomore Sarah Leyman’s lay-up with 5:39 to play in the first half gave the Jeffs their largest lead of the frame, up a dozen points at 27-15. Over the final portion of the stanza, Springfield traded baskets with the Jeffs, leaving Amherst up 36-25 at the break.
Early in the second half, Finucane made a runner on the left baseline to keep Amherst up 11 points at 39-28. On the next possession, the rookie point guard made a three from the left wing, forcing Pride coach Naomi Graves to use a timeout.
With just over 12 minutes to play in the second half, Amherst opened up a 50-32 lead on back-to-back baskets from first-year Lem Atanga McCormick. After a 1-for-2 trip to the line for the Pride, Lauren O’Connor pulled down an offensive rebound and finished off a nice hook shot en route to a three-point play.
The lead dropped down to 53-41 midway through the half, before Atanga McCormick had a nice score and then blocked a Pride shot on the ensuing possession. The Amherst advantage grew to 60-43 on a pair of Leyman free throws with 6:51 to play.
Amherst took a 71-49 lead on consecutive threes by senior co-captain Amanda Otieno late in the game.
The final whistle blew with Amherst up 73-51 for the Lord Jeffs 14th straight win to start the season. Springfield falls below .500 with the defeat, dropping to 6-7. Finucane led all players with a career-high 17 points, while Daigneault added 13 points and nine rebounds for the Jeffs. Corey Finch paced the Pride with 13 points, while O’Connor and Kelly Murphy joined her in double-figures. O'Connor posted 12 points, while Murphy added 11 points. Cherelle Allen snagged a team-best eight boards to go along with three blocks and five points.