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No. 1-Ranked Amherst Defeats Women's Basketball, 69-49, Despite Murphy's 25

Kelly Murphy Box Score

Amherst, Mass. -- December 14, 2010 -- Despite a yeoman's effort by Pride junior guard Kelly Murphy who scored a career-high 25 points, the nation's top-ranked team, Amherst College, defeated the Springfield College women's basketball team, 69-49, at LeFrak Gymnasium tonight. With the win, the Lord Jeffs improve to 11-0, while SC falls to 3-6.

Murphy, who hails from Mechanicville, N.Y., was immense as she finished 9-for-16 from the floor, including 6-for-10 from 3-point range. Junior forward Kelly Slattery (Somers, Conn.) was next in scoring for the Pride with seven points, followed by reserve freshman guard Laurie Bonano (Springfield, Mass.) with five points.

With the win, Amherst stretched its program-record home win streak to 35 games.

Amherst was led offensively by 13 points from senior Kristyn Dunleavy (E. Setauket, N.Y.), 12 points from senior Jaci Daigneault (Guilford, Conn.) and 10 points and 10 rebounds by senior Sarah Leyman (Cincinnati, Ohio).

Amherst got off to its slowest start of the season, scoring just one basket in the first four and a half minutes. Dunleavy and junior Lem Atanga McCormick (Chicago, Ill.) came off the bench to provide a spark, though, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers for the Jeffs. After a score by Muphy, Kim Fiorentino (Holmdel, N.J.) hit a straight-away triple to open up an 11-5 lead for Amherst.

Amherst’s lead sat at 14-7 with 9:35 to play as head coach G.P. Gromacki called for a timeout to get his offense going. The Jeffs responded to the stoppage, going on an 8-1 run to stretch the lead to double-digits. Murphy answered right back for the Pride, nailing a deep three from the right wing.

The Lord Jeff lead grew as large as 13 points with 2:42 remaining in the half, but a triple at the buzzer from Murphy closed the gap to 32-22 heading into the break. At the half, Murphy led all players with 11 points for the Pride, while Daigneault, Fiorentino and Dunleavy each scored seven points for Amherst.

Daigneault made a three and knocked down a pair of free throws to start the second half on her own 5-0 run. Springfield was unable to slow the Amherst offense until Murphy made her third three of the game with 11:49 to play. Dunleavy responded on the next Amherst possession, making a long triple of her own. The exchange left Amherst up 49-29.

With seven and a half minutes remaining, Amherst’s lead grew to 57-35 on a baseline jumper by Fiorentino. Four straight points from Leyman brought the lead to 26 points. The co-captain went to the bench with four minutes to play, recording another double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, including five on the offensive end.

The Pride will not hit the courts again until January 2, 2011 when it takes on RPI at 5:30 pm in the Hampton Inn/Naismith Classic.

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Naomi Graves Entering her 23rd season as head coach in 2013-14, Naomi Graves has directed her squads to an impressive 323-261 record (.553 winning percentage). Since joining the Division III ranks in 1995, Graves has led the Pride to 12 post-season bids in the past 18 years, including five berths in the NCAA Division III Tournament. Read more.

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