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Amherst 64, Tufts 62

At Medford, MA
Friday, January 18, 2008

Game Box Score

Jenna Gomez had 10 rebounds for Tufts as the Jumbos won the battle of the boards

MEDFORD -- Sophomore Samantha Swensen (Rockaway Park, NY) beat the buzzer with a lay-up on a dramatic in-bounds play that gave Amherst College a 64-62 victory over Tufts University in a battle of nationally ranked and unbeaten NESCAC women's basketball teams at Cousens Gym on Friday night.

With 2.4 seconds on the clock and the game tied at 62-62, Amherst's Sarah Leyman (Cincinatti, OH) heaved an in-bounds pass from half-court towards Swensen near the basket. Tufts senior co-captain Khalilah Ummah (Litchfield, ME) made a valiant effort on the play, but Swensen got the ball and converted a lay-up for the victory. Amherst, ranked 22nd in the poll this week, improved to 15-0 overall. The Jumbos, #14 nationally, dropped to 12-1. It was the conference opener for both teams.

After a sloppy start, the game reached a frenzied level in front of a near-capacity crowd at Cousens. After the eighth tie of the game (55-55) with four minutes remaining, Tufts scored six of the next seven points to lead 61-56 on a lay-up by Ummah at 2:14. Senior tri-captain Anne-Claire Roesch (Westport, CT) hit a huge three-pointer on the Lord Jeffs' next trip down the floor to make the score 61-59 Tufts.

The teams traded free throws, and then a lay-up by senior tri-captain Stefanie Reiff (Hinsdale, IL) tied the score for the ninth time at 62-62 with 30 seconds remaining. The Jumbos missed a shot, got the offensive rebound, but turned the ball over on a shot-clock violation, setting up the winning play.

A score of 4-4 five minutes into the game was not an indication of the excitement to come. Amherst turned that into a 13-4 advantage, and the visitors led by eight (26-18) after a lay-up by Swensen with three minutes to go in the half. Tufts scored the next eight points to tie the score at 26-26, and Amherst took a 28-26 lead into the locker room.

Roesch opened the half with a three-pointer for Amherst and a 31-26 lead. They went up by six (36-30) on a Swensen basket at 15:55. That would be the largest lead for either team the rest of the way. Tufts again spurted to tie it 36-36 on free throws by sophomore Julia Baily (Farmington, CT) at 14:48. The teams would be tied again at 48-48 before the Jumbos took their first lead of the game at 50-48 on a jumper by sophomore Casey Sullivan (Berlin, CT) with 6:50 left in the second half. The game went down to the last second dramatically from there.

Amherst, the second-ranked field goal shooting team in the nation playing against Tufts' third-in-the-nation field goal defense, shot 52 percent for the game (26/50). They were remarkably consistent, hitting 13 of 25 shots in each half. Reiff hit 7 of 9 shots and led Amherst with 17 points. Swensen added 13 points and Roesch had 12. Senior tri-captain Shaina Pollack (Great Neck, NY) finished with seven points, five assists and three steals.

Ummah led the Jumbos with 18 points, nine rebounds and two blocks. Fellow co-captain Jenna Gomez (Norfolk, MA) had 10 rebounds as the Jumbos earned a 37-25 advantage in that area. Junior Kim Moynihan (West Hartford, CT) was active with five points, five rebounds, six assists and three steals. Tufts did not make a three-pointer in the game for the first time since December 2006.