The women’s basketball team traveled to Williamstown, Mass. to challenge the Ephs in the NESCAC quarterfinal on Saturday, Feb. 16. Following victories over Bowdoin and Colby the previous weekend, the sixth-seeded Cardinals hoped to keep their momentum going against a talented Little Three rival, who entered the game with a 8-1 record. However, the powerful Williams offense proved to be too much for the Cards, as they fell by a score of 72-43.
Wesleyan and Williams appeared evenly matched in the early goings of the game, as neither team had much offensive success. Six minutes into the contest, the home team held a slim 8-4 lead, but the Ephs soon found their stride and scored 18 unanswered points in the last 10 minutes of the first half to take a 34-10 lead into the break. Unfortunately for Wesleyan, the second half brought more of the same. By the end of the first seven minutes of the frame, Williams had established a 51-14 advantage, all but putting an end to the Cardinals’ hopes of advancing in the NESCAC tournament.
However, the Cards managed to not only show signs of life, but also to pull themselves within striking distance of their rivals on the strength of an 18-point unanswered run of their own. Amber Wessells ’14 sank a free throw at 12:08, which was followed by two more from Karly Finison ’16 less than 10 seconds later and then a Dreisen Heath ’15 layup and free throw less than a half minute later. Following an unsuccessful three-point attempt by Williams, Heath pulled down a defensive rebound and got the ball to KellyAnn Rooney ’14, who proceeded to sink a three-pointer. Rooney then proceeded to score on the subsequent four Wesleyan possessions, putting down another trey, a couple of frees, and then two layups, narrowing the score to 54-32 with nine minutes left on the clock.
Wesleyan was unable to sustain the momentum, as the Ephs regained their footing with several more unanswered baskets of their own. Ultimately, the large deficit proved insurmountable, and Williams maintained a sizeable lead as time expired.
Although their NESCAC championship bid has come to a close along with their 2012-13 campaign, the Cardinals can take pride in the fact that they showed heart right up until the very end. Against one of the most talented Division III teams in New England, this year’s iteration of Wesleyan women’s basketball refused to fold even when things looked bleak. As the team bids farewell to only one senior, captain Kendra Harris, the near future of the program looks bright.