NCAA Tournament Sectional Semifinal Preview: Women's Basketball at No. 1 Amherst

NCAA Tournament Sectional Semifinal Preview: Women's Basketball at No. 1 Amherst

2017 NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament
Amherst Sectional—Sectional Semifinals
Women's Basketball at No. 1 Amherst
Friday, March 10—7 p.m.
LeFrak Gymnasium—Amherst, Mass.

NCAA TOURNAMENT BRACKET

NCAA TOURNAMENT PROGRAM


THE SERIES
Babson and Amherst will meet for the 29th time overall and second time this season on Friday night in a sectional semifinal. The Beavers are 7-21 in the all-time series but are one of just three teams along with No. 4 Tufts and No. 22 Mary Washington to stay within single digits of Amherst this season.

BABSON IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
The Beavers are making their seventh NCAA Tournament appearance in the last nine years and have advanced to the sectional semifinals for the fifth time in program history. Babson was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament by Amherst in four straight years from 2009-12, which includes national quarterfinal matchups in both 2010 and 2011. 

AMHERST IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
Amherst is making its 10th consecutive NCAA Tournament Sectional Semifinal appearance and has reached the Division III Final Four in six of the last nine years. The Purple and White, which won the 2011 national champinship, will also host the sectional round this weekend for the seventh time since 2009.
 
LAST MEETING
Senior Jaimie Renner scored nine of her game-high 17 points in the fourth quarter as then-second-ranked Amherst rallied to defeat Babson, 67-62, on November 20. Senior Giovanna Pickering scored 16 points and classmate Taylor Russell added 14 for the Beavers, who led by seven at the half and were deadlocked at 59-59 with 2:43 to go in the contest.

SCOUTING AMHERST
How they got here:
First Round – defeated Regis, 65-37; Second Round – defeated No. 22 Mary Washington, 60-51
No. 1 Amherst (29-0) got 18 points from Renner and 17 from senior Ali Doswell, and led by as many as 21 late in the third quarter of last Saturday's nine-point win over Mary Washington, to advance to the Sweet 16 for the 10th year in a row. Doswell is averaging 12.8 points and 4.8 rebounds, sophomore Emma McCarthy (9.7 pts, 6.3 reb) is shooting 50.2 percent from the floor and junior Hannah Hackley (8.3 pts, 4.1 reb, 2.7) reached double figures for the first time in 13 games on Saturday. Amherst leads the country in both scoring defense (40.3 points) and field goal percentage defense (28.8), and is second in Division III in scoring margin (30.0).

SCOUTING THE BEAVERS
How they got here:
First Round – defeated No. 21 Messiah, 59-53; Second Round – defeated No. 25 FDU-Florham, 62-61, in OT
Babson (24-5) earned its first Sweet 16 berth since 2011 on first-year Jacqueline Jozefick's layup with 5.9 seconds left in overtime on Saturday at FDU-Florham. Russell finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Beavers, who held a 26-2 edge in second-chance points. Pickering (19.0 pts, 5.9 reb, 4.0 ast, 2.5 steals) is averaging 22.3 points in four postseason games, Russell (12.4 pts, 6.3 reb) has connected on a team-high 31 three-pointers and senior Jennifer Narlee (6.0 pts, 11.3 reb, 2.5 steals) ranks 13th nationally in rebounds. The Green and White ranks sixth in Division III in rebounding margin (12.1) and 17th in defensive rebounds per game (30.0), and have allowed just 52.8 points over the last five contests.

DOMINATING THE GLASS
The Beavers pulled down 38 offensive rebounds and scored 44 second-chance points in their wins over Messiah and FDU-Florham last weekend in New Jersey. The Green and White also outrebounded Amherst, 49-35, back in November, which included pulling down 18 offensive boards.

SENSATIONAL SENIORS
Babson's senior trio of Pickering, Russell and Narlee combined to average 37.5 points, 30.5 rebounds, 10.5 assists and 8.5 steals in last weekend's first and second round wins. Pickering was selected as the NEWMAC Player of the Year, while Russell and Narlee both earned second-team all-conference honors.

ROAD TESTED
The Beavers have won 12 straight games away from home and are 13-1 in road and neutral contests this season. Their only loss was November's five-point setback at LeFrak Gymnasium.

LEAVING THEIR MARK
Pickering, who ranks first in career assists (374) and is sixth all-time in scoring with 1,534 points, enters the weekend ranked fourth on Babson's single-season scoring list with 531 points, and fifth on the single-season assist chart with 113 dimes. Additionally, Narlee's 327 rebounds are the third most in single-season history.

WORKING OVERTIME
The Green and White is now 4-0 in NCAA Tournament overtime games with each of the contests being decided by three points or less. This includes wins over Gettysburg (2010) and Bowdoin (2011) in the sectional semifinal round at Amherst.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS
The Beavers are 12-8 all-time in NCAA Tournament games away from home.

SURVIVE AND ADVANCE
The winner of Friday's game will take on either UMass Dartmouth or SUNY-New Paltz in a national quarterfinal matchup on Saturday at 6 p.m.

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