Saturday women: Playoffs come into focus

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Sydney Jones and Bowdoin will be the top seed in next weekend’s NESCAC Tournament.
File photo by Brian Beard,

No. 12 Bowdoin seized first place in the upcoming NESCAC tournament with a lopsided win over Amherst while Willamette clinched the NWC’s top seed by sweeping Puget Sound. Elsewhere, no. 6 Hope won another MIAA crown, No. 21 Smith cleared his final major hurdle in the NEWMAC, and No. 16 Hardin-Simmons got help in the ASC.

No. 12 Bowdoin and Trinity (Conn.) secured the top seeds in the upcoming NESCAC tournament with lopsided home wins on Saturday afternoon.

Bowdoin will be seeded first in the NESCAC after shutting down Amherst, 67-33. The Polar Bears held the Mammoths to 18 percent shooting and fewer field goals (11) than turnovers (13). Sydney Jones poured in 32 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Bowdoin (22-2, 9-1) which will also likely be ranked first in the upcoming Region 1 rankings.

Trinity (Conn.) followed up Friday night’s win over No. 25 Bates dominated Tufts, 57-30. The Bantams held the Jumbos to two points in the first quarter and two in the third. Bria Fuller, Emma Wax and Reilly Campbell outscored Tufts on their own with 31 points.

The NEWMAC race isn’t over yet, but No. 21 Smith took a big step toward winning it with a 68-63 win over MIT. MIT guard Christina Antonakakis celebrated her Senior Day by scoring 28 points in 40 minutes, but that was not enough to overcome the Pioneers’ balanced attack. Four Smith starters scored double figures led by Jesse Ruffner who had 16 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists.

Smith is now tied with Springfield (65-53 winners at Babson) with two games remaining, but the Pioneers hold the tiebreaker over the Pride and play their final two games against opponents in the bottom half of the conference.

No. 6 Hope completed another MIAA title run with a 73-58 win at Trine. Hope guard Jada Gardner scored 11 of her 13 points in the fourth quarter in which the Flying Dutch outscored the Thunder, 25-13. Sidney Vis scored 20 points and Courtney Lee added a double-double off the bench for Hope (22-1, 14-0 MIAA), which will host the MIAA tournament.

No. 16 Hardin-Simmons took sole possession of first place in the ASC with a win and some help from the University of the Ozarks. The Cowgirls celebrated Senior Day with 33 points from Paris Kiser and a double-double from Parris Parmer in an 81-74 win over McMurry. Then, the Eagles knocked off No. 17 Mary Hardin-Baylor, 58-53, behind Naomi Smith’s 17 points. Hardin-Simmons now leads Mary Hardin-Baylor by one game in the standings. The Crusaders host Hardin-Simmons in the regular season finale next Saturday.

Willamette doubled up Puget Sound in the first half and held off the Loggers, 67-57, giving the Bearcats the top seed in the NWC tournament. Kaitlin Imai scored seven of her game-high 15 points in the second quarter for Willamette, and the Bearcats led Puget Sound 34-17 at halftime. Willamette now leads Puget Sound and Whitman by two games with two to play, and the Bearcats have already swept the Loggers and Blues.

UW-Stout hit seven of its first 10 three-point attempts and cruised to its largest-ever margin of victory against archrival UW-Eau Claire, as the Blue Devils turned the final War of 94 rivalry game to be played in Eau Claire’s Zorn Arena into a blowout within the first 10 minutes before going on to win 96-64.

UW-Stout (16-7, 6-6 WIAC) went on a 12-0 run in the first quarter and led by 14 or more the rest of the way. The Blue Devils secured themselves in fourth place in the WIAC standings after its win and a loss by UW-River Falls to UW-Oshkosh.

Stout’s win was just the 10th win for the Blue Devils in Zorn Arena, in 50 games between the two schools in the building. The two schools are separated by just 28 miles on I-94 in western Wisconsin. Raegen Sorenson scored a game-high 35 points on 13-for-24 shooting, while Lexi Wagner added 17 points, shooting 5-for-7 from three-point range. Eau Claire fell to 10-13, 4-8 in WIAC play.

The 28th time was the charm for Oberlin, as the Yeowomen beat DePauw, 55-50, for the program’s first ever win over the Tigers. Alyson Jefferson gave Oberlin a late 51-50 lead with a three-point play and then, after an empty DePauw possession, Camille Zinaich extended Oberlin’s lead with two free throws. DePauw now sits a half-game behind Ohio Wesleyan for first place in the NCAC. The Battling Bishops cruised past Hiram, 81-51, with 20 points apiece from Alyssa Griner and Kasey Schipfer.

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