The Wesleyan University women's basketball team (14-10, 4-6 NESCAC) has earned the seventh-seed in the 2019 NESCAC Championships and will play at second-seeded Amherst College (22-2, 9-1 NESCAC) on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 4 p.m. The winner will advance to the semifinals on Feb. 23 at the highest remaining seed in the tournament, with the finals set for Feb. 24.
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Friday's game will mark the third meeting between the Little Three rivals this year and is a rematch of the 2018 NESCAC Semifinal game. Amherst won the previous two meetings this year, defeating the Cardinals 62-44 at home on Jan. 12 and 67-57 in Middletown on Jan. 21.
AT A GLANCE: WESLEYAN
- The Cardinals are coming off a strong showing at No. 1 Bowdoin in their regular-season finale, despite falling short, and have won two of their last three games entering the tournament.
- Wesleyan is 5-4 on the road this year and 1-2 in the month of February.
- The Cardinals are led by their three seniors, guards Chynna Bailey and Olivia Gorman, and forward Tara Berger.
- Bailey does a little bit of everything for Wesleyan, averaging 5.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.4 blocks per game.
- Gorman leads the team in scoring and ranks fourth in the NESCAC with 14.9 points per game, and recently became just the 12th player in Wesleyan women's basketball history to reach the 1,000-point milestone for her career.
- Berger has been impressive in the paint for the Cardinals and is averaging a double-double with 11.9 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. She leads the conference in rebounding (248), blocks (41), and total free throws made (90). Additionally, she has 10 double-doubles on the season.
- Wesleyan also has a strong freshman class which is guided by guard Caleigh Ryan. In her first year with the program, Ryan has started all 24 games and leads the squad in steals (1.6 spg), ranks second in rebounding (7.1 rpg), and is third in scoring (10.8 ppg), assists (1.5 apg) and blocks (0.5 bpg). She is also fifth in the NESCAC in rebounding (second in offensive rebounds with 92) and ninth in total steals (39).
- As a team, Wesleyan leads the league in rebounding (49.6 rpg) and opponents' 3-point percentage (25.6%), and is third in blocks per game (4.8). The Cardinals are averaging 66.0 points per game and allowing 60.5.
AT A GLANCE: NO. 4 AMHERST
- The Mammoths, ranked No. 4 nationally, are the two-time defending national champions and have won three-straight NESCAC crowns. They are tied with Bowdoin for the most conference titles with eight each, and have finished as the runner-up three times.
- Amherst enters the tournament having won five straight and are 8-1 at home this year, with the team's lone loss in LeFrak Gymnasium against Eastern Connecticut State (70-67) on Nov. 20.
- The team is guided by the two top scorers in the NESCAC, junior guards Madeline Eck and Hannah Fox. Eck averages 17.0 points per game and ranks fourth in the conference in field goal percentage (52.5). Fox is scoring 16.0 points per contest and leads the league in free throw percentage (88.1), while ranking fourth in total 3-pointers made (42), fifth in steals (42), sixth in defensive rebounds (114), and seventh in assists (77).
- The frontcourt is led by Cam Hendricks, who averages 7.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. She is also shooting 36.3% (33-91) from downtown.
- Amherst boasts a stingy defense that is holding opponents to 31.8% shooting from the floor, a league-best. The Mammoths also rank second in the conference in scoring defense (48.6 ppg) and blocks (5.0 bpg). Offensively, they are averaging 67.1 points per contest which is the fifth-highest in the league.