Whitman rally falls short in Elite Eight

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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Whitman’s dream came to an end here Saturday in the Elite Eight of the women’s NCAA Division III tournament.

The Missionaries dug themselves a 41-22 halftime deficit and could not come all the way back, falling to Williams 63-53 after pulling to within seven in the second half.

The loss sends the Ephs to the Final Four and sends the Missionaries home with a 23-6 record after their first trip to the tournament in program history.

Williams, playing on its home floor, came out firing on all cylinders as the Ephs raced to a 13-2 lead to open the game.

The Missionaries had no answer.

“They were on fire in the first half,” Missionary coach Michelle Ferenz said. “They hit five of their first six shots. They are a long team and good shot blockers. We got out of our game plan and panicked a little.”

Danny Rainer was the key to the Ephs attack. Rainer hit 10-of-17 shots from the field and finished with a game- and career-high 22 points, including 13 in the first half to lead the Ephs to the insurmountable 41-22 advantage at the break.

“Rainer propelled them in the first half,” Ferenz said.

The Missionaries, who defeated Emory 67-62 Friday to earn their spot in the Elite Eight, were not going away as they outscored Williams 31-22 in the second half.

“We knew we weren’t playing our game (in the first half),” Ferenz said. “We settled down and got back after them and made a great run.”

Heather Johns’ pull-up jumper got Whitman within 50-43 at the seven minute mark, but the Missionaries could not cut into that seven point lead as Williams fought the Missionary charge off.

A Sarah Anderegg putback with 2:33 to play pulled Whitman within 58-50, but again the Missionaries couldn’t get closer.

“We pressured them and got some turn overs in our press,” Ferenz said of the Missionary second half. “We went back and forth from seven down to nine down and just couldn’t get over the hump.”

Rainer blocked a Missionary shot and converted 1-of-2 free throws for a 61-50 Williams lead with 1:34 to go.

Anderegg, who led Whitman with 18 points, hit a 3 with 1:13 left to cut the lead to 61-53. The Missionaries had to foul and Grace Rehnquist drained a pair of free throws with :43 to go to ice the 63-53 win and send the Ephs, 26-2, to Holland, Mich., and the Final Four.

Johns finished with a double-double as she scored 14 and grabbed 10 rebounds. Megan White scored six and also grabbed 10 boards as the Missionaries outrebounded the Ephs 47-37.

“It’s been a great run,” Ferenz said of the team’s first 20-win season. “This team has played so well. I am proud of the way we responded. We just couldn’t get enough stops and ran out of time.”

Emilie Gilbert and Mary Madden wrapped up their Missionary careers with the elite eight appearance, but Whitman returns the remainder of its roster.

“They (Gilbert and Madden) have been just great,” Ferenz said. “They have been good leaders. We have a good core coming back and are excited (about the future).

WHITMAN 67, EMORY 62

On Friday at Williams College, the Missionaries trailed Emory for 39 minutes, but gritted out a 67-62 win to send them to the Elite Eight and Saturday’s date with Williams.

The Missionaries took the lead for the first time with 38 seconds left when Johns hit two free throws to push Whitman to a 63-62 lead. After a missed 3-pointer by the Eagles, Madden grabbed the rebound and was promptly fouled. Madden hit two from the line to give the Missionaries a 65-62 cushion.

After another Emory miss, Anderegg sank two more from the charity stripe with 16 seconds remaining to seal the victory.

“I thought our kids did a great job of staying in the game and giving ourselves a chance,” Ferenz said. “That has been our character all year.”

The Missionaries connected on 26-of-51 shots from the field, 51 percent, hit 11-of-12 free throws, and outrebounded the Eagles 36-20.

Anderegg led Whitman with 16 (5-for-7 from the field and 6-for-7 from the line) to go along with seven rebounds and two blocks. Johns finished with 13, all in the second half. Madden also tallied 13. Meghan White grabbed a game-high nine boards.

WILLIAMS 63, WHITMAN 53

WHITMAN (53) SEmD Johns 6-18 2-2 14, Traver 2-11 0-0 5, White 3-10 0-0 6, Madden 2-6 0-0 4, Anderegg 6-13 5-6 18, Buse 0-2 0-0 0, Maine 1-3 1-2 3, Lovelace 1-6 0-0 2, Maeda 0-2 1-2 1. Totals 21-71 9-12 53.

WILLIAMS (63) SEmD Baecher 2-5 3-4 7, Rainer 10-17 2-4 22, Macdonald 2-9 0-0 4, Harding 2-4 2-2 7, Cook 5-11 0-0 12, Borderud 1-2 0-0 2, Litman 1-1 0-0 2, Rehnquist 2-8 2-2 7. Totals 25-57 9-12 63.

Halftime — Williams 41-22. 3-point goals — WHTM 2-9 (Johns 0-2, Traver 1-2, White 0-1, Madden 0-1, Anderegg 1-1, Buse 0-2), Will 4-17 (Baecher 0-2, Macdonald 0-2, Harding 1-3, Cook 2-4, Borderud 0-1, Rehnquist 1-5). Total fouls — WHTM 10, Will 11. Fouled out — none. Technical fouls — none. Rebounds — WHTM 47 (White 10, Johns 10), Will 37 (Baecher 9). Turnovers — WHTM 12, Will 13. Assists — WHTM 6 (Traver 2, White 2), Will 13 (Cook 3, Rehnquist 3).

WHITMAN 67, EMORY 62

EMORY (62) SEmD Morgan 7-15 1-1 17, Lilly 2-7 0-0 6, Jackson 6-10 1-2 13, Castillo 5-8 2-2 15, Landry 4-8 0-0 8, Tsao 0-3 0-0 0, Arington 0-1 0-0 0, Sayyid 0-2 0-0 0, Oraedu 1-2 1-2 3. Totals 22-56 5-7 62.

WHITMAN (67) SEmD Madden 5-8 2-2 13, Anderegg 5-7 6-7 16, White 3-6 0-0 6, Johns 5-11 2-2 13, Traver 2-7 0-0 5, Buse 1-3 0-0 3, Maine 2-3 0-0 4, Lovelace 2-5 1-1 5, Maeda 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 26-51 11-12 67.

Halftime score — Emory 37-31. 3-point goals SEmD EM 7-15 (Morgan 2-3, Lilly 2-6, Castillo 3-5, Tsao 0-1), WHTM 4-9 (Madden 1-3, Johns 1-1, Traver 1-4, Buse 1-1). Total fouls — EM 15, WHTM 12. Fouled out — none. Technical fouls — none. Rebounds — EM 20 (Jackson 6), WHTM 36 (White 9). Turnovers — EM 13, WHTM 20. Assists — EM 10 (Morgan 5), WHTM 10 (Johns 3).

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