Amherst women fall to rival Williams in NCAA basketball consolation game
HOLLAND, Mich. — Marcia Voigt plans to attend medical school after a decorated basketball career at Amherst College, but she is not quite done with the Jeffs yet.
The guard plans to work out with her underclassmen teammates, hoping they can continue their streak of five straight NCAA Division III Final Four appearances and improve on back-to-back fourth-place finishes.
“I’m going to be working with them in the offseason,” Voigt said after her team’s 57-53 loss to rival Williams College in Saturday’s third-place game at Hope College. “It’s just going to be the way it is, whether they like it or not.”
Voigt was named to the all-tournament team after leading Amherst with a game-high 26 points and eight rebounds.
The championship was won by No. 1 DePauw (34-0) 69-51 over the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (26-7).
The Jeffs (30-3) are winless at the Final Four since claiming a 2011 national title.
“This is not the outcome we wanted this weekend,” Amherst coach G.P. Gromacki said. “We came here to get two wins. But I learned more about this team this weekend than from getting two wins. These guys stuck together and fought through every minute tonight.”
Voigt, who matched former teammate Shannon Finucane for the Division III record with her 131st career game, nearly single-handedly carried Amherst to some consolation on Saturday. Voigt was 7-of-20 from the field and 12-of-13 from the free-throw line.
“She’s been everything to us,” Gromacki said. “She’s a program-maker. She’s gone down as one of the best players to play at Amherst. She did everything we could ask her to do.”
The NCAA record for games played “says a lot right there,” he added. “Especially this year, she really carried the load, distributing the ball and scoring for us. She did it at the highest level.”
No one else scored in double figures for the Jeffs, who had their first losing streak of the season. Savannah Holness added nine points off the bench, while guard Jasmine Hardy had seven in her final game.
Amherst shot just 24.3 percent (17-70) from the field.
The loss to the Ephs (27-6) was the second in four games they played this season. They shared the New England Small College Athletic Conference title with Tufts University, and the Jeffs won the NESCAC Tournament.
Williams held off Amherst by making its final 15 free throws. Overall, the Ephs hit 83.3 percent (25-of-30) of their foul shots.
“It was sweet to beat your rival, but we really wanted to go out feeling good about ourselves,” Williams senior forward Danny Rainer said.
Rainer led the Ephs with 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Senior guard Jennie Harding added 12 points.
“I am so happy for our seniors to get out with a win like this . . . against a team that’s kind of owned us,” Williams coach Pat Manning said. “We talked about how this was going to be a mental toughness game (after close semifinal losses for both teams). Everybody was playing for the seniors.”
Voigt said she wanted the weekend to go differently, but is proud to play for the Jeffs.
“It means everything in the world to me to play for Amherst,” Voigt said. “Four great teams. I couldn’t ask for any different teammates. They were just amazing.”