Women's Basketball Gets NESCAC 6th Seed after Sweep of Maine Rivals Bowdoin & Colby - Falls to Williams in Playoffs
While visiting Colby had tremendous starts to both halves in its game at Wesleyan Sun., Feb. 10, the host had the better of it over the course of the periods and escaped with a 46-42 NESCAC victory. Wesleyan had defeated Bowdoin, 70-69, the night before to sweep its Maine rivals for only the second time since the 1995-96 season when the Cardinals began playing Bowdoin and Colby over the same weekend. The final NESCAC standings were in quite a log jam behind front runners
Amherst, Tufts and Williams, who tied for the top spot with 9-1
records. A random procedure seeeded Tufts #1, Amherst #2 and Williams
#3. With six teams tied for fourth with identical 4-6 marks, including
Wesleyan, the Cardinals ended up sixth after tie-breaking procedures
were invoked. As a result, the Cardinals travel to Williams for a
first-round playoff game Sat., Feb. 16. It will be the third meeting of the season for the two squads.
If the game against Colby was reduced to the opening four minutes of the first period and the first seven minutes of the second half, the Mules would have won, 18-0. But the Cardinals outscored the Mules, 46-24, over the other 29 minutes of the game. Wesleyan seemingly took charge in the first half after falling behind, 7-0. Wesleyan held Colby to five points over a span of more than 10 minutes while building a 22-12 advantage. As a result, the Cardinals took a 29-17 lead into intermission. But Colby began the second half on an 11-0 run to grab a 30-29 lead with 13:00 to go. Wesleyan responded with a 14-2 run of its own to regain a comfortable 43-32 lead with only 3:33 left on the clock. Colby was not done and clawed back to make it a 44-42 game in the closing seconds before Wesleyan got free throws from Amber Wessells '14 (#22, photo upper left) and Jess Cherenza '15 in the final five seconds to seal the win. Over the last 2:10 of the game, Wesleyan managed just 3-for-9 shooting at the line, opening the door for the Mules.
Kendra Harris '13 (#35, main photo) led the Cardinals with 10 points while Miller Hartsoe '15 (#12, photo insert lower left) added nine, all on three-pointers. Dreisen Heath '15 led Wesleyan with seven rebounds.
In the first game of the weekend Sat., Feb. 9 vs. Bowdoin, Wessells collared an offensive rebound and lofted a jumper from eight feet with :29.1 left to give Wesleyan a 70-69 lead. It proved to be the winner though Wessells was fouled on the play and came up empty at the line. Bowdoin committed a turnover on its final possession with :04.4 on the clock and Wesleyan got the ball inbounds and made two passes to run off the final seconds before Bowdoin could foul, sealing the win. It was only the fifth victory for the Cardinals over the Polar Bears in 33 all-time meetings.
Bowdoin jumped out to a 14-2 lead six minutes into the contest, but after trailing by a dozen points, Wesleyan quickly recovered and took its first lead of the game on a three-pointer by Cherkira Lashley '15 with 7:30 to go in the first half, 23-21. Lashley led Wesleyan in scoring with 11 points. Wesleyan carried a 40-37 lead into intermission. After Wesleyan gained its largest lead at 47-41 three minutes into the second half, Bowdoin ran off eight of the next 10 points to tie the score at 49-49 with 14:30 remaining. From that point, neither team led by more than four before the Cardinals secured the win.
Bowdoin was a remarkable 26-for-27 at the line after coming into the game hitting just 64.4 percent for the year.
Wesleyan got 10 points and a game-best 11 rebounds from Heath while Wessells also finished the game with 10 points and dished out eight assists.
In the tournament game at Williams, the Ephs got off to a fast start and never looked back en route to a 72-43 victory. KellyAnn Rooney '14 led Wesleyan with 14 points, making 4-for-8 shots from the field with two treys and a 4-for-4 effort at the line. Cherenza paced the team on the boards with eight as the Cardinals generated a 37-34 margin in rebounds. Williams hled a commanding 25-8 lead 12:30 into the game en route to a 34-10 halftime lead. The gap varied between 22 and 37 points over the fina 20 minutes.
Harris is the lone senior on the squad as the Cardinals will return 12 of 13 players from this year's 11-11 squad for the 2013-14 campaign. Harris averaged 7.5 points and 4.1 rebounds a game this year.