AMHERST, MA – The University of Rochester women's basketball team saw its season come to an end with a 78-50 loss in the national quarterfinals to 4th ranked Amherst College on Saturday evening at LeFrak Gymnasium.
Rochester, ranked #16 in NCAA Division III, finishes its season with a 23-6 record, matching the fourth most wins in a single-season in program history. Amherst moves to 30-1 on the year and will take part in the NCAA Division III Final Four next weekend at Capital University.
The Final Four appearance is the sixth school history for Amherst and the first since 2012-13 season.
Amherst was led by all five starters who each scored in double figures and played at least 36 minutes. Junior Meredith Doswell led all scorers with 24 points, including six 3-pointers while her sister Ali was second on the team with 16 points, adding seven rebounds. Hannah Hackley scored 14 points while Jaimie Renner and Cheyenne Pritchard scored 12 and 10 points respectively.
The Yellowjackets had two players in double figures with sophomore Lauren Deming leading the way with 13 points and six rebounds. Sophomore Alexandra Leslie added 10 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists while classmate Jillian Silvestri scored nine points off the bench.
Making the final eight was UR's best postseason result since the team made the Final Four during the 2009-10 season.
"This season we accomplished a lot and hoped to re-emerge on the national scene," said UR head coach Jim Scheible. "Making the Elite Eight did that."
The Purple and White were able to shoot the ball well all night long, especially from long range, something the rest of UR's opponents this season were not able to do. Rochester came into the game ranked 5th in Division III in 3-point FG defense, allowing opponents to shoot just 22% from behind the arc. Amherst shot over 55% on Saturday, making 10-18 3-pointers.
Rochester was able to sink 50% of its threes, but only made five throughout the game against a tough Amherst defense. Overall, UR was 19-53 from the floor, a clip of about 36% and committed 19 turnovers which led to 25 Amherst points.
In the first quarter, both teams started out slow, with the pair scoring just five points combined through the first four minutes. After that, both teams finished out the quarter shooting well, ending with Amherst up 31-17 behind eight points each from the Doswell sisters. Rochester's Jill Silvestri provided a spark off the bench with five points, but UR's seven first period turnovers dug the visitors into a hole.
Early in the second, the Yellowjackets trailed by as many as 18 points, but used a 10-0 run to climb back within eight. Rochester's run was fueled by pounding the ball inside as four different players scored layups during the stretch. At the break, the Purple and White would lead by nine, 43-34.
"We played well in stretches I thought," said Scheible, "But whenever we had lapses, they were able to take advantage."
Fourth ranked Amherst really stepped on the gas in the third quarter, outscoring the Yellowjackets 26-10. During that 10 minutes, the Purple and White made 10-16 shots, including three 3-pointers compared to UR that made just 3-12 from the floor to go with six turnovers.
Entering Saturday's matchup, both teams had never lost in the Sectional Final round with Amherst sitting at a perfect 5-0 while Rochester was 3-0 in games deciding Final Four participants.
The two schools had met only once before in women's basketball, with Amherst winning by a score of 56-44 in the 3rd place game of the 2010 NCAA Tournament. That season was the last time Rochester had advanced to the Division III Final Four.
Following the loss, Scheible stated "We definitely have high expectations going forward, but we will really miss our four seniors, they provided great leadership this season and throughout their careers."