Women’s Basketball fell to host Amherst College in the Elite Eight on March 10 after defeating rival RIT in the Sweet 16 one day earlier.
Amherst, which went on to win its second straight championship, proved to be a more formidable opponent than RIT, which only lost 59-55 to the ‘Jackets. The defending champs had completed their second straight undefeated season and dominated UR 62–38. Notably, star senior forward Al Leslie was held to zero points.
In the first quarter, the ‘Jackets grabbed a quick 6–2 lead, but the Mammoths responded with a 12–3 run, putting them up 14–9 to end the quarter.
After the Mammoths widened their lead to 11 early Early in the second quarter, the ‘Jackets managed to stay even with Amherst for the remainder of the quarter with a 10–10 run. The score heading into halftime was 35–24.
The ‘Jackets opened the second quarter with a 7–2 streak, but the Mammoths responded with a 16–3 run of their own. The ‘Jackets trailed 51–34 heading into the fourth quarter.
Amherst’s defense proved too dominant for the ‘Jackets. The game marked the lowest number of points scored by the ‘Jackets on the season. Amherst recorded nine steals and three blocks and forced almost twice as many fouls as they committed.
In the Sweet 16 matchup, RIT pulled ahead to an early lead. At no point in the first quarter were the ‘Jackets leading. A 10–3 run in the middle of the quarter helped put the Tigers up 22–15 at the end of the quarter.
In the second quarter, the ‘Jackets had a much stronger showing. The Tigers could not get their shots to land, and the ‘Jackets outrebounded them, allowing the ‘Jackets to outscore the Tigers, 15–4. At the end of the first half, the ‘Jackets had pulled ahead, 30–26.
In the third quarter, the ‘Jackets maintained their lead, outscoring the Tigers 15–12, putting them up 45–38 heading into the fourth.
To start the fourth quarter, the ‘Jackets widened their lead to as much as 10 points, but the Tigers went on a 13–4 run, putting them within one point of the ‘Jackets with just over a minute left. However, the Tigers were forced to foul to stop the ‘Jackets from taking time off the clock, and the ‘Jackets won, 59–55.
The key to the success of the ‘Jackets was their strong rebounding. RIT recorded 40 rebounds in the game, whereas the ‘Jackets grabbed 56. The strong rebounding provided an advantage on both sides of the floor, and gave the ‘Jackets the edge.
In both games, the ‘Jackets had some fantastic performances. Against RIT, Leslie pulled in 21 rebounds, her most of the season. She also scored 17 points and three steals in 34 minutes.
She also had six rebounds, and three steals, and three assists against Amherst. After the game, Leslie was named a D3Hoops.com All-American for the third straight year and was named an All-American for her fourth straight year by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.
Senior forward Lauren Deming grabbed nine boards and 17 points against RIT. Against Amherst, Deming got eight rebounds and 15 points, but Amherst’s powerful defense proved to be problematic for her, as she gave up six turnovers. Deming was also named Second Team All-East region by D3hoops.com. Her strong performance against RIT and Amherst earned her the final University Athletic Association Player of the Week Award for this season of women’s basketball.
Junior Guard Lena Ethington put up good numbers against both teams. Against RIT, Ethington scored 10 points and pulled in eight rebounds. She also scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds against Amherst.
This was the second time in three years that the ‘Jackets made it to the Elite Eight. However, with significant senior contributors leaving, the team will rely on head coach Jim Scheible to make a smooth transition next season.