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Contact: William Sodoma
Date: February 28, 2010
AMHERST, Mass. --- With Rachael Mack out because of illness and facing the number one team in the country, the Colby College women's basketball team had to settle for runner-up in the New England Small College Athletic Conference after falling 69-54 to top-seeded Amherst College in the league title game Sunday.
Colby stands at 23-4 overall and will likely get an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. The pairings will be announced on Monday at 12:30 p.m. and the bracket will be on www.NCAA.com at approximately 1 p.m. Amherst, the top-ranked team in both national polls, gets the automatic bid to the NCAA tourney and will head into play with a 27-0 record.
"We don't want our season to end and hope we have a chance to continue playing in the NCAA Tournament," Colby head coach Lori Gear McBride said. "I feel confident that our resume warrants that and I hope the selection committee agrees. We have been careful not to look too far ahead."
Despite three 9-0 runs by Amherst during the course of the game, second-seeded Colby battled hard and only trailed 52-46 with 5:17 to play. The Lord Jeffs used one of those three 9-0 runs, though, to take a 61-46 margin with 1:52 to play. The Lord Jeffs spent most of the final two minutes shooting free throws and killing time off the clock.
Colby played without Mack, who had the flu and could not go after scoring 15 points in a semifinal win over Bowdoin College on Saturday. Mack is second on the team in scoring (10.3), second in rebounding (6.7), first in blocked shots (36), first in free throw percentage (.861), and first in field goal percentage (.507).
Colby held its lone lead of the game at 8-6 when Samantha Allen drained a 3-point shot with 15:48 to play in the first half. Amherst's first 9-0 run over the next 1:48 of play put the Lord Jeffs up 15-8. The Mules fought back and got within 20-17 when Jil Vaughan scored an inside basket, but once again Amherst had a 9-0 run to go up 29-17 with 6:34 to halftime. Colby cut into the lead by four points and trailed 34-26 at intermission.
The Mules scored the first four points of the half to trail just 34-30. With the Lord Jeffs leading 39-33 with 11:45 to play, Amherst went on an 11-3 run to go up 50-36. Colby followed with a 10-2 run to trail just 52-46 before the third 9-0 run by Amherst helped them pull away.
"I couldn't be more proud of the effort and tenacity we displayed today," Gear McBride said. "Amherst is an amazingly talented team and we gave them a real challenge today. We tired at the end but played with them every step of the way."
Alison Cappelloni had 14 points and moved over 1,200 points in her career. She has 1,203 points and continues to rank sixth on Colby's all-time scoring list. Aarika Ritchie finished with 10 points and three assists, while Allen had eight points. Julianne Kowalski added six points, 10 rebounds, three steals, and two blocked shots. Kowalski, a junior, went over 700 career points and has totals of 704 points and 526 rebounds.
Shannon Finucane paced Amherst with a game-high 21 points and Caroline Stedman had 12 points. The Lord Jeffs had a 45-37 rebounding advantage and blocked nine shots in the game.
The Mules shot well from the foul line (21-for-26) and from 3-point range (7-for-12) but struggled overall from the field (13-for-57). The Lord Jeffs made 23 of their 25 free throw attempts in earning their second league title in the past three years. Colby was playing in its first NESCAC title game in women's basketball.
"My goal has been to build a program that represents Colby in a first class manner and is on par with the excellence that permeates other areas of the campus," Gear McBride said. "This group of young ladies represents everything good about Colby and the success they have achieved reflects that."
AMHERST COLLEGE 69, COLBY 54
COLBY (23-4 (7-2))
Alison Cappelloni 3-9 6-8 14; Aarika Ritchie 3-10 3-4 10; Samantha Allen
2-11 2-2 8; Julianne Kowalski 1-9 4-6 6; Jil Vaughan 2-4 0-0 5; Kelly Potvin
1-4 2-2 4; Diana Manduca 0-8 4-4 4; Jacky McLaughlin 1-1 0-0 3; Jayde
Bennett 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 13-57 21-26 54.
AMHERST COLLEGE (27-0 (9-0))
Shannon Finucane 5-6 8-8 21; Caroline Stedman 3-13 4-4 12; Marcia Voigt 5-9
0-0 11; Sarah Leyman 4-8 2-2 10; Lem Atanga McCormick 3-11 3-4 9; Jackie
Renner 0-4 6-7 6; Kim Fiorentino 0-1 0-0 0; Kristyn Dunleavy 0-3 0-0 0.
Totals 20-55 23-25 69.
Colby......................... 26 28 - 54
Amherst College............... 34 35 - 69
3-point goals--Colby 7-12 (Alison Cappelloni 2-2; Samantha Allen 2-5; Jil
Vaughan 1-1; Jacky McLaughlin 1-1; Aarika Ritchie 1-2; Diana Manduca 0-1),
Amherst College 6-18 (Shannon Finucane 3-3; Caroline Stedman 2-6; Marcia
Voigt 1-4; Jackie Renner 0-1; Kristyn Dunleavy 0-1; Lem Atanga McCormick
0-3). Fouled out--Colby-Diana Manduca, Amherst College-None. Rebounds--Colby
37 (Julianne Kowalski 10), Amherst College 45 (Lem Atanga McCormick 10).
Assists--Colby 7 (Aarika Ritchie 3), Amherst College 6 (Caroline Stedman 2;
Jackie Renner 2). Total fouls--Colby 21, Amherst College 18. Technical
fouls--Colby-None, Amherst College-None. A-450