In an exciting week for women’s basketball, the Mammoths extended their unbeaten run to seven games, including a gutsy win against Emmanuel College on Tuesday, Nov. 30 and a more comfortable victory against Wesleyan University on Friday, Dec. 3.
On Tuesday, Nov. 30, the Mammoths headed to Beantown to take on the Saints. The home team put the first points on the board; however, AnLing Vera ’25 switched the momentum with two successful free throws six minutes into the game. The two teams battled for dominance throughout the rest of the quarter, the Mammoths coming out of the first quarter on top with 10 points to the Saints’ seven. The two teams remained pretty evenly matched in the second quarter. Following a three-pointer by Courtney Resch ’22 halfway through the quarter, Emmanuel pushed the Mammoths on the defensive, adding seven consecutive points to their tally to end the half 17-16 in favor of the Mammoths.
With the possibility of extinction hanging over the Mammoths, purple took to the court with a renewed energy and drive. Dani Valdez ’22 got the ball rolling — only metaphorically, of course — and put two more points on the board. But it was Reeya Patel ’24 who kept up the heat: her seven points in the frame brought the score to 35-25 by the end of the third quarter. Not ready to surrender just yet, the Saints came back, trailing the Mammoths by just two points with five minutes left in the game. Spurred by a three-pointer from Lauren Pelosi ’22, Amherst began to dominate once again, finishing the game on a 9-1 run that the Saints couldn’t redeem. The Saints may have outscored the Mammoths in the fourth quarter 23-21, but purple still handed Emmanuel their first loss of the season, with the final score standing at 56-48.
With the 21 rebounds she brought down throughout the game, Jade Duval ’22 matched Amherst’s rebound record set in 1993 by Sam Ince ’97. Valdez also contributed to the Mammoths’ 54-34 rebound advantage over Emmanuel with 10 of her own. Pelosi scored a career-high 14 points in the game, and Vera, who was named NESCAC Player of the Week on Nov. 22, just a few games into her collegiate career, recorded seven assists.
On Wednesday, Dec. 3, the Mammoths traveled to Middletown, Conn., to face off against Little Three rival Wesleyan University. Patel was ready from the get-go, hitting a two-pointer just 15 seconds into the game. A jump shot by Gabrielle Zaffiro ’22 put the Mammoths up 4-0, where they stayed until a three-pointer by the Cardinals four minutes in brought Wesleyan into the game. Determined to keep Wesleyan on the defensive, the Mammoths retaliated with two three-pointers by Patel. The quarter ended with a score of 13-4 favoring Amherst, as Vera and Pelosi each contributed two points of their own to end the period. The pattern continued in the second: once again, the Mammoths were the first to score in the quarter when Resch put a layup through the nylon less than a minute in. The Cardinals then got their first points of the quarter, bringing the score to 17-6 — but it moved to 20-6 just six seconds later, thanks to Pelosi. Buckets by Patel, Pelosi, Duval, and Resch resulted in a 33-17 Mammoth lead at the end of the half.
Sticklers for tradition, the Mammoths scored just seconds into the third quarter off another jumpshot by Zaffiro. The two teams then went back and forth for the next three minutes until Patel regained the team’s scoring momentum with six points in the span of less than a minute. Despite falling behind the Mammoths by 20 points in the previous quarter, the Cardinals outscored purple 19-14 to clip the Amherst lead to 47-36 by the time the buzzer sounded.
Wesleyan was first to score in the final quarter, but Zaffiro quickly followed with a layup a few seconds later. In the third minute, a three-pointer for Wesleyan had the Cardinals trailing by just six points; however, Vera’s three-point play, followed by Duval’s jumper, pushed the Mammoths to an 11-point lead. From that point on, the outcome of the game was clear, and Amherst took home their second win of the week by a final score of 78-61.
Patel’s performance in the game was exceptional, as she scored a career-high 27 points and went three for three from beyond the arc. Vera also racked up the stats with 18 points, six rebounds, and three steals that had Swiper the Fox reeling in jealousy. The Mammoths’ record now stands at 7-0 so far, and they will get ready to take the court in Nevada on Dec. 28 for the Las Vegas Tournament. Their first game of the tournament against Whittier College will tip off at 2 p.m.