Women's basketball falls in semis
Aarika Richie '12 takes a running shot as she drives by a defender from Husson university. The women's team finished its season with a 19-7 record.
On Jan. 21, the Colby women’s basketball team held Amherst College to 51 points, the Lord Jeffs’ second-lowest total of the year. The one-point margin of victory was also the lowest such margin during Amherst’s undefeated season. This past Saturday, Feb. 25, however, the Mules were not able to replicate that stellar defense, and fell to Amherst in the second round of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) tournament, 66-52.
The task was daunting for the Mules. After defeating Williams in a close and exciting game the week prior, Colby was primed to face an Amherst squad that has won 62 games in a row at home and 45 overall. To say that Amherst was riding a wave of momentum would be a colossal understatement. The Lord Jeffs sat atop the Division III rankings the entire year. This dominance carried over into the first half of the game against Colby. Amherst opened up the game scoring the first nine points of the contest. Colby did not score until the 13:50 mark of the first half, at which point Amherst scored another 10 unanswered points to take a 19-2 lead. At the end of the half, the score was Amherst 35, Colby 17.
The second half turned out to be a much better period for the Mules and they even outscored Amherst, 35-31. The 17-point halftime deficit was too much to overcome, however, and the Mules finished the game 13 points back.
The NCAA Division III tournament bracket was released on Monday. Despite an excellent 19-7 overall record, some high-quality wins and an off-the-charts strength of schedule, Colby did not make it into the field of 64.
The Mules’ snub signals the end of the 2011-12 season, and for Rachael Mack ’12, Kelly Potvin ’12, Aarika Ritchie ’12 and Jil Vaughan ’12 the end of a very successful Colby career. Vaughan and Mack, in particular, excelled in their final game as they have so many times before. Vaughan recorded a game-high 19 points on 16 attempts in 20 minutes, in addition to nine rebounds. Her rebound total was second only to Mack’s, who contributed 10 boards and 11 points for a double-double. As a team, Colby performed uncharacteristically poorly at the free-throw line, converting on only seven of their 19 attempts. The Mules’ 35.1 percent field-goal percentage was also below their season average. On the whole, however, the strong second-half performance brought most of Colby’s team statistics very close to Amherst’s, point total notwithstanding.
The Mules will return next year full of promise with a solid crew of nine returning players, including two returning starters and a pair of six-footers in the class of 2015.