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Williams 59, Tufts 57

At Williamstown, MA
Friday, January 15, 2009

Game Statistics

Colleen Hart was five for eight on three-pointers and finished with a game-high 20 points

WILLIAMSTOWN -- With the game knotted at 57-57, Williams College junior Chessie Jackson and first-year Claire Baecher teamed up for a perfect give-and-go play on the final offensive possession of the game to defeat the 11th ranked Tufts Jumbos in the NESCAC opener for both squads on Friday night.

Baecher ended up in a trap in the corner, but using her 6'3" frame, she managed to pass the ball to Jackson on the left wing. Jackson found her teammate running along the baseline for a back-door pass. Baacher finished with a reverse lay up with 0.7 seconds left on the clock for the winning basket. Williams (12-4, 1-0 NESCAC) halted Tufts' 12-game win streak, which had tied the school record. The Jumbos fell to 12-2 overall and 0-1 in the league.

In the first half, Williams' defensive intensity gave them an edge. The Ephs opened the game with an 8-0 run while Tufts could not buy a basket at the other end. The Jumbos scored their first field goal after 7:13 had ticked off the clock. Senior Julia Baily (Farmington, CT) shot a successful jumper from the right elbow to bring the scored to 12-6.

Williams continued to thwart Tufts' offense as the first half progressed. The Ephs led by as many 16 points at 27-11 with 6:00 on the clock, but the Jumbos narrowed the margin to 13 points at the break and headed to the locker room down 31-18 to the home team. The Ephs kept Tufts to just five field goals in the first half, as the Jumbos shot 17.9 percent from the floor. Williams was dominant on the glass in the opening 20 minutes as well, out-rebounding the opposition 26-17.

Tufts came out of the break a different team, and charged back into contention almost immediately. Junior Colleen Hart (Needham, MA) began to get hot from behind the arc for the Jumbos, and she nailed a three to bring her squad within four points of the lead at 40-36 with 13:42 to play. Hart would drain another three-pointer to get within three points just two minutes later. The all-time leader in threes at Tufts would finish the night shooting five of eight from three-point range.

The Jumbos continued to inch their way closer. Junior Lindsay Weiner (Rockville, MD) scored a runner in the lane, bringing the tally to 44-43 at the mid-way point of the second period. Hart scored a three-pointer at the top of the key to tie the game at 46 apiece with 7:30 left in regulation. Tufts managed to tie the game, but never took the lead as the Ephs continued to score in the critical moments.

The game became a back-and-forth contest for the next five minutes. Ahead 52-50 with four minutes to play, Williams made a defensive stop on Tufts' next possession that swung momentum back in their favor. Jill Greenberg had a pull-up jumper for the Ephs to bring the lead to four, while Chessie Jackson scored
with a strong post move on the Ephs' following offensive possession to give Williams a six-point lead with 2:38 on the clock.

Tufts called a time-out to regroup. The Jumbos forced a turnover and scored to bring the score to 56-52, but committed a foul in the paint to put the Ephs on
the line. Lisa Jaris made the back end of her free throws to give the Ephs a 57-52 advantage with 1:28 to play. The Ephs forced a shot clock violation by Tufts,
and looked to be headed for the win.

Williams struggled in the final minute at the line. Both Greenberg and Jaris went to the charity stripe, but couldn't connect on the front end of the one-and-ones. Tufts was fouled on their next possession and was successful on both their free throws to bring the score to 57-54. Hart nailed another three to tie the game
once more at 57-57 as Williams turned the ball over.

Despite being shaky from the line and turning the ball over on the previous possession, the Ephs collected themselves under pressure in the final seconds as
Baecher scored to give the Ephs the win.

Hart finished the game with a game-high 20 points for the Jumbos. Baily added 14 points, while sophomore guard Tiffany Kornegay (Carver, MA) contributed nine points and seven boards.

Jackson led all Ephs scorers with 16 points and had six rebounds. Jaris scored 15 points and grabbed six boards, while Greenberg was strong with 10 points. Baecher added eight points, six boards, and two blocks.

The Jumbos will look to get back tomorrow at Middlebury, a game that begins at 2:00 pm. Williams will look to build off this win tomorrow against Bates. Game time is set for 2:00 pm in Chandler Gymnasium.

Game release courtesy of Williams College.