Amherst rolls past UMass Dartmouth, advances to women’s NCAA Division III Final Four

  • Amherst women’s basketball coach G.P. Gromacki reacts on the sideline during a NCAA Division III Elite Eight game against UMass Dartmouth, Saturday in Amherst. JAMIE CUSHMAN

  • Jaimie Renner looks to make a play against UMass Dartmouth during the NCAA Division III Elite Eight, Saturday in Amherst. JAMIE CUSHMAN

  • Maeve McNamara looks for a teammate against UMass Dartmouth during the NCAA Division III Elite Eight, Saturday in Amherst. JAMIE CUSHMAN

  • Emma McCarthy, front left, and the Amherst women’s basketball team take a break during a NCAA Division III Elite Eight game against UMass Dartmouth, Saturday in Amherst. JAMIE CUSHMAN

  • Jenna Schumacher cuts down the net following Amherst’s win over UMass Dartmouth during the NCAA Division III Elite Eight, Saturday in Amherst. JAMIE CUSHMAN

  • Twins Meredith, left, and Ali Doswell Jenna Schumacher celebrate during Amherst’s game against UMass Dartmouth during the NCAA Division III Elite Eight, Saturday in Amherst. JAMIE CUSHMAN

  • Emma McCarthy, center, drives against UMass Dartmouth during the NCAA Division III Elite Eight, Saturday in Amherst. JAMIE CUSHMAN

  • Ali Doswell looks to make a play against UMass Dartmouth during the NCAA Division III Elite Eight, Saturday in Amherst. JAMIE CUSHMAN

  • Jackie Nagle cuts down the net following Amherst’s win over UMass Dartmouth during the NCAA Division III Elite Eight, Saturday in Amherst. JAMIE CUSHMAN

  • Meredith Doswell cuts down the net following Amherst’s win over UMass Dartmouth during the NCAA Division III Elite Eight, Saturday in Amherst. JAMIE CUSHMAN

  • Hannah Hackley looks for a teammate against UMass Dartmouth during the NCAA Division III Elite Eight, Saturday in Amherst. JAMIE CUSHMAN

For the Gazettte
Published: 3/11/2017 11:21:13 PM

AMHERST — The Amherst College women’s basketball team jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back, rolling past UMass Dartmouth 73-33 on Saturday in the NCAA Division III Tournament Elite Eight matchup.

Top-ranked Amherst (31-0) heads back to the Final Four for a second-straight season where it will face Christopher Newport (29-2) at Van Noord Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Friday.

After a slow start to its game the night before, Amherst coach G.P. Gromacki was pleased to see his squad dominate the Corsairs right from the opening tip.

“I think we came out and set the tone early,” Gromacki said. “We’ve seen them jump on teams in their three previous games in the NCAA tournament, we didn’t want that to happen and we really got after it offensively and defensively and kind of just let it roll from there.”

Amherst’s defense sparked the strong start, recording six steals within the opening 5 minutes, 12 seconds, and adding two more steals before the end of the first quarter, all while holding UMass Dartmouth to just two points during the opening frame.

“I think we were just helping each other out and also just knowing individual assignments,” Jaimie Renner said. “We’ve been trying to focus on that all year and it kind of came together tonight a little bit in that first quarter.”

Leading 22-2 after one, Amherst didn’t slow down in the second quarter, taking a 42-14 lead at halftime.

The big lead allowed Amherst the luxury of resting its starters in the second half.

While the starting five of twins Ali and Meredith Doswell, Renner, Hannah Hackley and Emma McCarthy averaged 35 minutes each over the past two tournament games, none played more than 27 minutes against the Corsairs.

“It was great,” Gromacki said of the opportunity to use his bench more. “They played well and they just kept the game going in our favor and some people really played some solid minutes, so it was great to do that.”

There was no drop off between the starters and the bench as Amherst outscored UMass Dartmouth 17-8 over the final 10 minutes with the bench in for the whole quarter.

To illustrate just how much Amherst dominated this one, the Corsairs scored 33 points all game while Amherst reached the 34-point mark with 3:23 left in the first half.

“We had a good night,” Gromacki said. “Obviously it helps to play well. We took away some things that really helped make it easy and made some big plays early, got some steals and got some transition baskets.”

Ali Doswell and Madeline Eck led Amherst with 11 points each, while Doswell also tallied five steals.

Meredith Doswell earned a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, to go along with six assists.

Renner added 10 points, five rebounds and four assists.

With four of the five starters from last year’s Final Four team back for Amherst, Gromacki thought that experience would benefit the team on Friday.

“It’s great to have a large group back from last year. I think they know what to expect and it gives us a little fuel because it didn’t end the way we wanted it to,” Gromacki said.

Gromacki did not think Amherst would be intimidated facing a Christopher Newport team that knocked off previously undefeated Ohio Northern to earn a spot in the Final Four.

“I think we’ve been prepared all season for it because we faced some tough teams and we’ve been battle-tested and we’ve been able to pull through each time. I’m not worried about that, we’ll be ready,” Gromacki said.

Meredith Doswell was excited to return to the Final Four with her sister Ali and fellow-senior Renner.

“It feels pretty great,” Doswell said. “And this one too (pointing at Renner). We’ve been the Three Musketeers, so it’s been a fun ride and we’re excited to go back.”




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