Women's basketball falls in Amherst Tourney

The Amherst College Lord Jeffs opened the 2009 Amherst Classic last Friday against the RPI women’s basketball team. The Engineers drew first blood with a bucket from junior guard Allison Connor in the first minute, but Amherst responded well to take a 5-3 lead before the game turned sloppy for both teams.

Both the Engineers and the Lord Jeffs turned the ball over a total of 10 times in the first seven minutes of play, though Amherst fared better and led 12-3 with under 12 minutes left in the half. With a relentless attack, the Lord Jeffs furthered their lead to nearly 20 before veteran graduate student Whitney Coleman made RPI’s second field goal of the half and brought the score to 23-11 with help from Connor.

Coleman eventually finished with 14 points on the game, leading all players, while Connor closed with 12. However, both players’ efforts were not enough as the Lord Jeffs led 32-17 before the break. Even after the intermission, Amherst had not cooled off, and with a quick strike off a turnover extended their lead to 23—the highest up to that point. However, Amherst did not stay content with a 23-point lead and built it to 38 when time expired.

With the win, the No. 2 ranked Amherst College improved to 5-0 on the season as RPI dropped their third of the year, falling to 1-3 going into the second day of the Amherst Classic.

Although RPI had a tough loss the day before, it came out of the gates strong against the Trinity College Bantams in a tough and well-contested match. The Engineers played well, earning a 10-8 run to dig themselves out of a hole and take a 20-12 lead with a layup from senior forward Amanda Brophy. However, the Bantams played hard against the strong RPI defense and finished the half with 16-7 points to go up 28-27.

In the second half, the Bantams continued what they started in the first half despite RPI’s solid play down the stretch. With less than three minutes left in the half, Rensselaer saw itself facing a 20-point deficit, but did not give up. With three forced turnovers, Coleman and sophomore guard Laura Easterling closed the gap to bring the score to 76-69—failing to complete their late rally.

Notably, Coleman finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Easterling put up 10 points of her own. However, with the loss, RPI fell to 1-4 on the season.

Tuesday night, Rensselaer hosted its first home opener against Liberty League rival Williams College on Tuesday night at the East Campus Arena. The Engineers dropped the home opener 78-59, bringing their record to 1-5, while the Ephs improved to 7-1 on the year.

Coleman recorded a game-high five assists along with three steals, while Connor added 11 points and seven rebounds. In addition, sophomores Hilary McKinley and Nicole Monroe each had eight points.

The Ephs were led by a 16-point effort from freshman Jennie Harding, who also went four-of-five from beyond the arc and six-of-nine from the field.

The Engineers look to hit the court this upcoming week with a pair of home games at ECAV. Thursday night, RPI takes on the Utica College Pioneers at 7 pm, followed by a 2 pm match against the Paul Smith College Bobcats on Saturday.