The women’s basketball team finished the regular season with a sweep of the William Smith College Herons on Friday evening and the Hamilton College Continentals on Saturday at the East Campus Arena. The Engineers finish the year 15-10 overall and 10-4 in the Liberty League, good for the third seed in the conference tournament. William Smith, on the other hand, drops to 7-16 overall and 3-10 in the league. Hamilton finishes the season 15-9 overall, and 8-6 when facing Liberty League opponents.
Less than four minutes into the game on Friday, RPI gained the lead, 8-4. However, the Herons bounced back to take control of the game 14-13 at 13:09 of the first half off a three-pointer from junior Molly Danahy. Three minutes later, Danahy added another lay-up to bring the Herons up 21-13, their largest lead of the night. William Smith controlled much of the first half, until sophomore Laura Easterling knocked home a three-pointer to pull the score to 32-39.
Rensselaer kept the game close throughout the second half, never trailing by more than six points. Junior Allison Connor eventually pulled the Engineers ahead with a three-pointer at 10:49, bringing the score to 40-38. The game was close-fought to the finish, with Connor adding three more points, only to be countered by an eight-point run with 7:34 remaining in the game. Consecutive baskets by graduate student Whitney Coleman, sophomore Nicole Monroe, and Connor pulled RPI into a 10-point lead, 57-47. Junior Jen Greenwood nailed a pair of free-throws in the final seconds to seal the win for the Engineers.
Leading Rensselaer was Coleman, who netted a game-high 22 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, three blocked shots, and four steals. Senior Amanda Brophy collected nine points on the night, while Connor and Monroe each added eight. Coleman is now RPI’s second all-time leading scorer and is a mere 40 points behind the top spot.
The following afternoon, RPI faced the Hamilton Continentals in the final regular season game for both teams. Despite the loss, Hamilton earned the fourth-seed in the Liberty League and will play No. 1 seed Skidmore College next weekend. RPI, the third seed, will face No. 2 St. Lawrence University.
The Engineers held a commanding 58-47 lead with less than two minutes in the second half, but saw a last minute surge by the Continentals and a nine-point run to bring Hamilton within two. Easterling buried one of two free-throws with six seconds remaining in the game to preserve RPI’s win.
Brophy netted a game-high 15 points, capitalizing on all of her seven field goal attempts and a free-throw. In addition, Brophy collected four rebounds. Coleman added a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds, as well as a game-high six assists, two blocks, and a steal. Following the game, graduate student Ellen High, Brophy, and Coleman were recognized for their commitment to the basketball program over the last four seasons of play.
The Liberty League recognized Coleman as the women’s basketball Guard of the Week following her stellar performance in both games over the weekend. Over three games last week, Coleman averaged a double-double of 17.7 points and 11 rebounds as the Engineers went 2-1 in the final stretch of the season. Coleman leads in the league in average points-per-game with 17.6, is second in the league in rebounding with an average of nine per game, and also has recorded 10 double-doubles this year. This season, Coleman leads the team in assists with 99, steals with 58, and is second in blocks with 29, and average minutes played (33.2). Currently, Coleman has 1,478 career points over 101 games, only 29 points behind all-time leader Kaitlyn Saunders ’05.