Women’s Basketball has started off strong this season, and kept up their stellar play during the Thanksgiving Break. Led by Anling Vera ’25, who was named NESCAC Player of the Week last week for her performance, Amherst put together a 2-0 stretch, with wins over Gordon College and Bates College in non-conference bouts.
The Fighting Scots gave Amherst all they could handle in the first half, as the Mammoths started the game trailing 11-6 before battling back to take a 13-12 lead at the end of the first quarter. Gabrielle Zaffiro ’22 led the comeback effort, scoring 11 of the Mammoths’ 13 first-quarter points. In the second quarter, the Mammoths widened their lead to 29-21, paced by two three-pointers points from Vera, who hit two of her three shots from behind the arc.
It wasn’t until the third quarter that the Mammoths were able to take firm control of the game. Amherst outscored Gordon 17-12 in the third quarter, led by five points from Vera and four points each from Zaffiro, Lauren Pelosi ’22 and Jade DuVal ’22. They also held Gordon to 36 percent shooting in the third quarter as they took a 13-point lead into the fourth.
DuVal, Pelosi and the defense led the way in the final quarter. DuVal led the Mammoths with eight points in the quarter, with Pelosi close behind with four points. Nevertheless, defense was the key to the Mammoths outscoring the Fighting Scots 17-6 in the final quarter. Gordon was held to 27.3 percent from the floor and zero percent from three in the final quarter as Amherst was able to blow open the game en route to a 63-39 win. Zaffiro finished the game with 17 points, DuVal had 16, Vera had 11 and Pelosi had 10. DuVal also recorded 13 rebounds in the contest, including nine on the offensive end, to notch the first double-double of her career.
While the Gordon win was lopsided in favor of the Mammoths, Amherst had to battle to squeak out a win on Nov. 21 against Bates College. The Mammoths were able to get by the Bobcats, winning the game 60-54 on the back of Vera’s first career triple-double.
The matchup was close from the beginning, as Amherst was led only 16-15 at the end of the first quarter, led by Vera’s seven points, five points from Pelosi off the bench and four points from Courtney Resch ’22. The Mammoths expanded their lead to six with a 15-10 edge in the second quarter, with big contributions by Zaffiro, Vera and Reeya Patel ’24, chipping in five, four, and four points, respectively.
The fast-paced affair continued after halftime, with both teams combining to score 47 points in the third quarter. Amherst was able to edge out the Bobcats, 25-22 in the quarter, led by Patel, Vera and Resch. Patel recorded seven points, and Vera and Resch each had five to help the Mammoths widen the score to 56-47 and take a nine-point lead into the fourth quarter.
However, the fourth quarter tightened up the game again, as both teams found it difficult to score. Amherst only managed to score four points in the quarter, with Patel and Zaffiro scoring for the Mammoths. Nevertheless, the team’s defense showed up in the clutch. The Bobcats were also stymied on offense, only scoring seven points in the quarter, allowing Amherst to keep a six-point lead and hold for a 60-54 win. Vera was undeniably the game’s MVP, finishing with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists and a triple-double. Patel and Resch had 13 and 11 points respectively. Other key contributors were Zaffiro with nine points, Pelosi with seven and Dani Valdez ’22 with four points in the win.