NEW LONDON, Conn. – Junior Sami Ashton (Clinton, Conn.) scored 26 points and freshman Emily O'Sullivan (North Reading, Mass.) drilled two clutch shots down the stretch to help lift the Connecticut College women's basketball team to a 71-64 victory over Williams at the Charles B. Luce Field House on Saturday afternoon.
The teams headed into the fourth quarter in a 54-54 deadlock in a game that would feature five ties and 10 lead changes. Connecticut College, however, had four different players connect from downtown to move ahead. Junior Ashley Howe (Saco, Maine) broke the tie at the 7:15 mark and then later found O'Sullivan for a trey from the left arc to give the Camels a 66-60 advantage with 3:40 left. After the Ephs missed a 3-point attempt on the other end, O'Sullivan came through with another clutch basket by converting a turnaround jumper to give the hosts an eight-point cushion.
Williams (7-6, NESCAC 1-1) did not go away quietly and sliced the lead in half when Katie Brule converted a layup to make it 68-64 with 1:50 remaining. The visitors continued to attempt to rally and had the ball underneath with 14 seconds left after missing four consecutive shots, but Ashton came away with a key steal on the inbounds pass following an Ephs timeout. Senior Kylie Caouette (Ashburnham, Mass.) then made three free throws in the waning seconds when the visitors were forced to foul, and the Camels hung on for the seven-point win.
Both teams started the game on fire offensively by combining to hit 13 of the 15 shots attempted between them in the contest. Connecticut College canned its first seven, which was capped by an Ashton layup at the midway point which gave the hosts a 16-13 edge at the time. Williams tied the score on a 3-pointer that came off the hands of Maggie Meegan, but the Camels ended the quarter on an 8-4 run to keep the lead it earned on a Howe trifecta that was set up by Ashton.
Connecticut College (10-4, NESCAC 1-1) only fell behind for a few minutes in a tightly-contested second quarter, as the Ephs went ahead by a 30-28 score on a Meehan 3-pointer despite falling behind by eight. The Camels, however, got a trey from sophomore Casey Walsh (Phoenixville, Pa.) as the shot clock was expiring to regain the upper hand, 33-30, with 1:51 on the click and eventually took a 38-36 lead into the recess.
Ashton scored a game-high 26 points by shooting 8-of-12 from the floor, including 3-of-4 from long range, and a perfect 7-of-7 at the line to lead the way for Connecticut College. She also grabbed seven rebounds and had a key steal down the stretch with the Ephs threatening to even the score. Senior Margaret Corcoran (Milton, Mass.) and Howe contributed 11 points apiece, while O'Sullivan added 10 points with half of them coming in clutch moments during the fourth quarter.
Emily Chang paced three Williams players in twin figures with 18 points and most notably hit five of her seven attempts from downtown. Meehan finished with 17 points to go along with five assists, and Lauren Vostal netted 11. Katie Brule just missed a double-double by ending the game with nine points and 10 boards.
Connecticut College continues NESCAC play on the road when it visits Amherst, which has won two straight national championships, on Friday evening at 7 p.m.