Women's Hoops Historic Season Comes to an End Against Williams
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- The Missionaries historic season came to an end tonight at Williams College as the Ephs' length and early hot shooting proved to be too much in a 63 - 53 Williams' victory in the NCAA Tournament Regional Final at Chandler Gym on the Campus of Williams College.
Tiffani Traver, Jr.
Williams (26 - 5) blocked 20 Whitman shots -- which is close to an NCAA Division III Tournament record on their way to holding the Missionaries to just under 30 percent shooting from the field.
Whitman finishes the season at 22 - 6, the most wins in program history, and the Elite 8 appearance is also the deepest any Missionary basketball team has gone in the NCAA Tournament since the school became NCAA Divion III championships eligible in 1998.
"This team just brought it every night" said Coach Michelle Ferenz after the game. "They never put a ceiling on their effort. They never thought 'that is good enough.' They pushed each other to get better every day. They are probably the best practice team I have ever coached."
After trailing by more than 15 points most of the game, the Missionaries put together a 9 - 0 run that drew them within 7 with 6:55 to play in 2nd half -- the closest Whitman had been since the opening minutes of the contest. The blitz that put a jolt into the partisan Williams crowd was started by a Tiffani Traver (Jr., Oregon City, OR) straight-away three and capped by a Heather Johns' (So., W. Richland, WA) jumper. But ultimately Williams had answers as forward Danny Rainer hit three buckets-in-a-row to hold off the resilient Missionaries, keeping the Eph's margin at no less than 8 the rest of the way.
Mary Madden, Sr.
Whitman was led in scoring by junior post Sarah Anderegg (Redmond, WA) who tallied 18 to go with 6 rebounds. Johns added 14 and 10 rebounds and Meghan White (Jr., Huntington Beach, CA) also had 10 rebounds, scoring 6 inside baskets.
Ranier finished the game with 22 for Williams, to lead all scorers, along with 8 rebounds. Guard Ellen Cook tossed in 12.
The Whits won the war on the glass, 47 - 37, hauling down a gaudy 22 offensive boards, 6 of those by Johns and 5 from Anderegg.
Williams opened up the game shooting "lights out" and went onto hit 53 % from the field in the first half (44% for the game), while the Missionaries, who had good looks, could only convert 24 % in the opening stanza. The Ephs' hot shooting allowed them to get out to 13 - 2 lead. Williams saw leads of 19 twice in the first half, leading at intermission 41 - 22, and twice, again, in the second stanza, before Whitman made its furious run.
It was the final game for seniors Mary Madden (Huntington Beach, CA) and Emilie Gilbert (Bellevue, WA). After the game, both spoke to the press and talked about this special season that capped their Whitman careers.
"I have never been a part of a team that is more like a family than this one", said Madden. "I think what was special about this group was that we didn't have one big scorer. What made us dangerous this season was that on any night someone could go off for a big night. It was incredible to finally be able to come here (the NCAA tourmanent) for my senior year."
Gilbert told the pressroom, "To fight to the end against Emory (last night) and come back against Williams tonight in the second half; I think our team showed real resilience and did a great job representing Whitman in the NCAA Tournament. I think we've given a taste to our underclassmen and they will definitely try to be back."
Williams now faces DePauw in the Final Four next weekend in Holland, Michigan.
Whitman Sports Information Director