Women's basketball starts strong

Led by junior forward Katie Latham, the girls jumped to a 28-18 start after the first half of game one and never looked back. First-year forward Matia Kostakis and first-year guard Shaina Pollack each had quite the premiere, putting in a notable eight and seven points respectively, while Latham collected 15 points of her own.

The Falcons saw little scoreboard action in the second half, as the Jeffs stifling defense held them to a shooting percentage of 23 from the field (seven of 30). Senior co-captain guard Kate Herlihy dropped in three three-pointers, giving her a total of nine points for the game; first-year guard Stefanie Reiff also had nine points, hitting 4-4 in only 13 minutes.

Coming off of a season-opening win, the Jeffs couldn’t quite repeat their performance against the tournament’s host, Colby-Sawyer, in the championship game. Even with only six of 26 shooting in the first half (23.1 percent), Amherst only trailed by one point at halftime, 23-22.

With Colby-Sawyer’s All-Tournament star Jaime Peterman out for most of the second half, the Jeffs weren’t able to generate enough offense to push past the Chargers, who only hit nine of 24 shots.

Pollack was the high scorer for the Jeffs with 12 points. Classmate Kostakis and sophomore guard Jenny Muller each put in 10, but it wasn’t enough to top Colby-Sawyer. Latham, with a team-high 11 rebounds, was chosen to the All-Tournament Team along with Pollack.

Bouncing back on Tuesday on their home court, the women handily beat Mt. Holyoke College in a non-league tussle by a score of 67-51. All five starters scored in the double-digits, with junior co-captain guard Krissy Morin making her first career double-double and tying a school record with 10 assists.

In the first 10 minutes, Amherst broke out with an intense 22-4 run in which Morin dished out five assists and Pollack hit two three-pointers. Mt. Holyoke made a slight comeback in the second half, stepping up its defense and closing the gap to 11 points but it wasn’t enough to stop the Jeffs, who pushed the lead to 19 with an 8-0 run sparked by suave passing from Latham and Kostakis.

Kostakis also led the Amherst defense with 11 rebounds and one block, while Latham notched another five boards and Morin added three more steals. Latham led the team in points, with 15. Not far behind as well were fellow starters Muller with 11, and Morin, Kostakis and Pollack with 10 each. Adding her name to the Amherst record book with 10 assists, Morin joins Sara Berzog ’03, who accomplished the feat on Dec. 9, 2000, in a 69-45 win over Clark University.

The victory over Mt. Holyoke is an encouraging sign this early in the season. “Mt. Holyoke is historically one of the stronger teams in the area, so that was a great win heading into the next few weeks,” said Herlihy.

Given the Jeffs’ performance in their first three games, Herlihy is optimistic about the team’s potential for the season. “We’re off to a great start,” said Herlihy. “We’re a young team, and we’re going to see improvement each game, as we start to come together and learn how each other plays.”

The Jeffs have a slew of non-league games remaining before their NESCAC opener against the archrival Williams College Ephs on Saturday, Jan. 8. So far, young talent has helped the team gain momentum despite losing four key players to graduation. Kim Glazier ’07 is optimistic about the upcoming schedule. “We’ve started off the season on a strong note with a winning record and we hope to continue to build on our successes and win all three games on the road this week,” she said. “That would improve our record thereby increasing our record to 5-1 which would be a huge accomplishment.”

If the new faces continue to perform throughout the season as they have in the first few games, Glazier’s optimism will be justified. Amherst opens its road trip at Keene State College tonight at 7 p.m. on the Owls’ court. The Jeffs will look to repeat last year’s narrow victory with another win, but they will face some tough competition as the Owls have yet to lose a game, winning by at least 29 points in each of their first three contests.