As the season dwindled down to a final weekend of play, women’s hoops had a chance to sneak into the NESCAC playoffs with a win over Hamilton. But on Friday, Feb. 13, Wes (9-12, 2-7 NESCAC) dropped a tough game to Hamilton (12-10, 3-6 NESCAC), 62-44, knocking them out of the NESCAC tournament. The following afternoon, Williams came into the Silloway Gymnasium and defeated Wes, 77-61, closing the conference schedule.
In the opening game against Hamilton, the Cardinals came in tied with their opponents for the eighth and final spot. The Cardinals were able to keep pace, trailing by just two points 10 minutes into the game. Hamilton closed the half on a 12-5 run to stretch the halftime lead to 33-24. Wesleyan just could not get anything going offensively in the second half, unable to come within six points of its opponents. Kaylie Williams ’16 was the only Cardinal to reach double digits, amassing 12 points. Hamilton went on to cruise to a 62-44 win, dashing Wesleyan’s playoff hopes.
The Cards relied on defense throughout the season, holding opponents to consistently low percentages from the field. Hamilton hit 40.7 percent from the floor, forcing Wes to turn up its offensive efficiency. The Cardinals committed 21 turnovers and shot just under 30 percent. The numbers were not a recipe for success.
The following afternoon presented a much tighter game despite Williams (19-5, 7-3 NESCAC) leading the whole game. It was a game of runs that saw Williams take multiple nine-point leads just for Wes to cut it to one. The first half ended 35-30 in favor of the Ephs. Wes never let the game get out of hand in the second half, keeping it to a six-point game with four and a half minutes left. Williams closed on a 12-2 run to take it 77-61.
Captain Jess Cherenza ’15, in her last conference game, posted a double-double with 10 points and 12 boards. Dreisen Heath ’15 put up a team high of 15 points. Brenna Diggins ’17 and Williams each dropped 11 points to help the cause. Ellen Cook led Williams with a monster game, scoring 33 points on 13-19 from the field including 5-8 from downtown. The next highest scorer for the Purple and Gold had 11 points.
The Cardinals again shot below 30 percent, which just was not good enough to get the win, while their opponents shot 47 percent from the field, including over 50 percent in the final half. The Ephs also held a 21-0 advantage in three-point field goals, with Wes going 0-13 from beyond the arc.
Danielle Gervacio ’17 summed up the weekend in an email to The Argus.
“There was a lot of growth this weekend and a lot riding on the first game against Hamilton,” she wrote. “We knew going into it that it was going to be a tough one, but we just came up short. Hamilton is a great team, but our team chemistry wasn’t there and we didn’t execute plays all the way through, which hurt us. There was a lot of effort and want, but it just wasn’t our day. However, on Saturday, I think everything was there: chemistry, execution, heart, but Williams has a great program, smart players and athletic. We fought and I wish we could have come out with a win (for the seniors especially) but I think that game was our response to how we played on Friday, and that felt like a win.”
Captain Miller Hartsoe ’15 had some words on behalf of the seniors as their season and careers are wrapping up.
“Our team played hard this weekend,” she said. “It was senior weekend, which brings a certain urgency for seniors. We were fortunate that our underclassmen teammates responded and played with a lot of energy for us. We focused on our offensive execution and [our] fast break, as well as a commitment to blocking out and rebounding. It’s disappointing that we didn’t qualify for the NESCAC tournament, but we’re fortunate that we get one final home game on Tuesday to finish out the season, and our careers.”
The Cardinals will lace it up for one more game against Little Three rival Amherst (21-2, 8-2 NESCAC) this Tuesday. The game won’t count toward the conference schedule, and serves as the final game that the seniors will play in Silloway.