WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – The Williams women's basketball team defeated the Bowdoin Polar Bears (16-6, 5-3 NESCAC) 67-55 today in Chandler Gymnasium. The Ephs (18-4, 5-3 NESCAC) were celebrating their seniors Jill Greenberg, Lisa Jaris, and Ana Rodriguez-Villa in their final regular-season contest at home. The trio has captained the Ephs with poise and stellar leadership on and off the court this season and has been a large part of the Ephs' success over the last four years.
The Polar Bears took the early lead. Behind a swooshed three from the top right from Amy Hackett and a pretty finish inside from Nicole Coombes, Bowdoin took the ten-point lead just under six minutes into the first half. The Ephs, however, went on an 8-0 run to get back in the game.
Danny Rainer was fouled going to the hoop and made both free throws. On the next Eph possession, Greenberg got hit as she drove in the lane. She made the lay-up and resulting free throw to convert the three-point play and make it a 14-9 game. A couple possessions later, Grace Rehnquist stole the ball and pushed it up the court. She gave a little pass to Greenberg, who threw the ball right back to Rehnquist at the top right of the key. She knocked down the hoop and forced Bowdoin's first timeout.
The two teams continued to swap baskets for the rest of the half, and the Ephs went into the locker room with the 32-30 lead.
Out of the break, the Polar Bears took back the lead behind a pair of free throws from Hackett and a pretty finish inside from Ellery Gould. The Ephs responded with a long ball from Greenberg. Rainer scored five straight points for the Ephs as she drop-stepped her defender in the lane for two. She then had a pretty finish down low and was fouled. She converted the three-point play. When Jennie Harding swooshed a three and went one-for-two from the line several possessions later, the Ephs took the double-digit lead at 44-34 just under five minutes into the second half.
The Polar Bears responded with a pretty finish inside from Coombes and a drive to the hoop from Sara Binkhorst. After a jumper for the Ephs from Greenberg, Jill Henrikson cut the lead to five with a long ball from the top right. Cook responded for the Ephs, though, with one of her own from the top left. Greenberg stole the ball on the next Bowdoin possession, and Cook made the Polar Bears pay with a baseline jumper that gave the Ephs the 51-41 lead with 12 left to play.
After the two teams traded several baskets, Bowdoin started to make a run at the Ephs. It culminated in a finish inside from Coombes with just over five minutes to play. She was fouled on the hoop but was unable to convert the three-point play. The bucket, however, cut the Ephs' lead to just 57-55. Down the other end, Rainer made two free throws for the Ephs.
After nearly three minutes without a point for either team, Greenberg took the ball to the hole for the Ephs and was fouled. She made the resulting free throw to give Williams the 62-55 lead with two minutes left to play.
The Polar Bears stayed in the game, however, with a steal from Alexa Barry with under a minute to play, but Bowdoin was unable to convert and was forced to start fouling the Ephs. Williams went five-for-six from the line down the stretch to secure the victory, and the Ephs received a standing ovation from the crowd for Greenberg, Jaris, and Rodriguez-Villa's final regular-season game in Chandler Gymnasium.
Leading the way today for Bowdoin was Henrikson, who posted a double double with ten rebounds and 25 points. Hackett was the only other player in double digits for the Polar Bears, who shot 30.0% from the field. She had twelve points on the day.
Greenberg led the Ephs with 19. Rainer added 15 and Cook ten for Williams, who shot 42.6% from the floor. Kellie Macdonald reeled in 11 boards for the Ephs.
Said Coach Manning after the game, "We really today wanted to [win] for our seniors… These seniors are incredible. They're so positive. They're such team [oriented] kids. The chemistry on this team is phenomenal, and everybody was determined. Even the first-years who have never experienced Senior Day [wanted it for the seniors] – they decorated the gym." She added, "Kellie and Ellen, I think really stepped up. Kellie had 11 rebounds and Ellen had ten points. Everybody wanted to do it for [the Seniors] because they mean so much to us."
She went on to comment on the keys to today's game: poise and rebounding. "They cut it to two, and no one panicked. Everyone stayed calm. I thought our rebounding down the stretch won the game for us. That had been our Achilles heel in different games, but today we really came through on that. I thought Kellie Macdonald was a big part of that with 11. Danny Rainer also had six. Lisa Jaris was crashing the boards, and Grace added seven."
To sum up the game, Manning said, "The little things we didn't do last night, we did today. I couldn't be prouder of them; it's a great day."
Williams returns to the court to take on rival Amherst for the second time this year on Friday at 6 PM. The game is away. The Polar Bears will take on Wesleyan on Friday at 6 PM as well.