Claire Baecher and Williams got past Ithaca.
Claire Baecher and Williams got past Ithaca. (New England Newspapers)
Saturday March 9, 2013

WILLIAMSTOWN -- Kathryn Campbell converted a Williams turnover into a hoop to start overtime and give Ithaca a 2-point lead. On this Friday night however, the Williams College women's basketball team would not be denied.

Kellie Macdonald's jumper with 1:43 left in overtime broke a tie and Danny Rainer iced the victory with a drive to the basket in the final 16 seconds as the Ephs beat Ithaca 64-60 in the second half of a Sweet 16 doubleheader in the NCAA Division III women's basketball tournament at Chandler Gym.

"I don't think any of us thought we would be able to play another game at Chandler," said senior guard Jennie Harding. "Now, we get to play two."

Harding's 3-point basket with 50.8 seconds left in overtime put Williams up by 5 points, making it a two-possession game. Mary Kate Tierney answered Harding's trey with one of her own with 39 seconds left. But Rainer's drive to the hoop sent the Ephs to the Elite Eight.

‘That was one of the best games we've ever played," said Manning. "It was tremendous back and forth. I'm so proud of my team, especially at the end of regulation to get the defensive stops."

Harding and Claire Baecher had 19 points each to lead the Ephs. Baecher had 10 rebounds and four blocked shots. She set a new record with those four blocks, as she now has 78. Baecher broke the record of Erin Duffy, who had 74 in 1999. Coincidentally, that was the last time Williams reached the Elite Eight.

Baecher also had 10 rebounds and five steals to go with those four blocks.

In the first game, Whitman rallied from an 11-point deficit to beat Emory 67-62.

There were 17 lead changes in the game, and the Bombers sent the game into overtime when Devin Shea made two foul shots to make it 53-all with 1:04 left. Kathryn Campbell, who had a game-high 22 points, gave Ithaca a two-point lead.

Williams took a two-point lead on four unanswered points. Shea was sent to the line for a pair of free throws with 2:14 left, tying the game at 57. The Ephs took the lead for keeps when Kellie Macdonald caught a pass from Rainer and scored to make it 59-57.

After trading 3-point baskets, the Ephs had the ball back with 20 seconds left. Rainer got the ball at the top of the key, and drove uncontested to the basket for her eighth and ninth points.

"A lot of times Claire gets double and triple-teamed. There are very few people that cover me," Rainer said with a laugh. "Jennie dished it off to me on a handoff. I turned the corner and saw a huge
opening."

In the opener, Whitman rallied from an 11-point deficit to earn the victory and get a return game with Williams tonight at 7 p.m.

Whitman lost 59-56 to the Ephs in the first round of the Williams Tournament in November, 2011.

Sarah Anderegg had 16 points for Whitman. Savannah Morgan, who had 13 points at halftime, finished with 17 for Emory.

To reach Howard Herman:
hherman@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6253.
On Twitter: @howardherman