Wesleyan scored nine straight points in the final six minutes to break away from a 40-40 deadlock vs. Conn. College and go on to claim a valuable 51-43 NESCAC victory Sat., Jan.28. Wesleyan improved to 12-5 overall, 4-3 in the conference. Next was a meeting with undefeated, top-ranked Amherst Tues., Jan. 31 at home in a game that doesn't count in the NESCAC standings. Amherst won the encounter, 69-48.
After Conn scored 10 straight points to erase a 40-30 deficit and draw to a 40-40 tie, Wesleyan took the lead for good on a free throw by Amber Wessells '14 with 5:17 to play. Eileen Gaffney '12 (#30, photo insert upper left) followed with a basket at 3:36 for a 43-40 lead. She finished the game with a double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds) and was named co-Player of the Week in the NESCAC. Neither team scored for more than two minutes as Wessells canned the next bucket at 1:30 for a 45-40 edge. The Cardinals then sank four of their next six free throws to move ahead, 49-40, with just :24.6 to go. Conn failed to score for more than 5:30 during crunch time, going 0-for-9 with two turnovers over a span of nine possessions.
Neither team led by more than four points during the first half as Wesleyan went into the locker room clinging to a 24-23 advantage. Opening the second half with a 16-7 run, the Cardinals pulled out to a 40-30 lead, but a pair of treys, a basket and two free throws gave the Camels a 10-0 burst and a 40-40 tie.
Sam LaCroce '12 (#20, photo insert lower left), who had six of the Cardinals' 16 points to begin the second stanza, led all scorers with 14 points. Gaffney and KellyAnn Rooney '14 (#11, main photo) added 10 for Wesleyan, which defeated Conn for the 14th time in the last 15 meetings and leads the overall series, 30-25.
Amherst overcame a slow start and went on to extend its winning streak over a two-season stretch to 39 games. Amherst, now 3-0 in Little Three play this year, can clinch the Little Three crown when it hosts Williams Fri., Feb. 10. Williams is 2-1 in the Little Three while Wesleyan finished 0-4.
Over the opening 11:16 of the game, Amherst was held to 1-for-17 shooting by the Cardinals as Wesleyan built an early 8-1 edge and held an 11-4 margin heading into the final 8:44. The seven-point lead tied the largest held over Amherst this season. The Lord Jeffs closed out the period going 7-for-15 from the floor and took the lead for good with a three-pointer with 3:36 left in the first half, spotting the visitors an 18-17 edge. The Lord Jeffs ended the first half on a 23-8 run for a 27-19 lead at intermission.
Wesleyan, with 13 points and seven rebounds from Gaffney, 13 points from Jenna Klaes '14, who bagged three treys in the contest, and 10 points and nine rebounds from LaCroce, stayed with the Lord Jeffs to the 13:40 mark of the second period, trailing just 37-33. At that point, Amherst rattled off 16 unanswered points for a 53-33 edge with 8:35 to play.
This was the 18th time in Amherst's 20 outings this season that the Lord Jeffs have conquered their opposition by at least 21 points. Ahead for Wesleyan is a NESCAC meeting with Hamilton Sun., Feb. 5. The game will be webcast and can be viewed by clicking < here >.