Hartford, Conn. - The Trinity College women's basketball team, which finished the 2017-18 regular season with a 15-9 overall record and tied Colby for eighth place in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) with a 3-7 league mark, has qualified for the NESCAC Championship Tournament for the 12th time but the first time in four seasons. The Bantams are the No. 8 seed, qualifying on the head-to-head tiebreaker due to a win over Colby, and will visit the top-seeded Amherst College Mammoths in the quarterfinals on Saturday, February 17 at 2 p.m. No. 2-seeded Bowdoin (23-1, 9-1) plays No. 7-seeded Williams (12-12, 4-6), No. 3-seeded Tufts (21-3, 8-2) hosts No. 6-seeded Connecticut College (15-8, 4-6), and No. 4-seeded Middlebury (17-7, 6-4) hosts No. 5-seeded Wesleyan (16-7, 5-5) in the other first round games on Saturday. The highest remaining seed after the quarterfinal round will host the semifinal and final rounds on February 24 and 25.
Trinity started the year with a 9-2 record and finished the regular season winning two of their last three games. Amherst is 24-0 and 10-0 in the NESCAC after completing the regular season with a perfect record for the second straight year. The two-time defending champions will host a quarterfinal round for the 11th consecutive season. The Mammoths are 3-0 against Trinity in the NESCAC Championship series. The teams last met in the 2013 quarterfinals with Amherst posting an 80-34 victory. A Bantam victory would mark Trinity’s first trip to the semifinals since 2014 in its quest for its first NESCAC title. Trinity trailed, 17-15, at halftime on the road against Amherst on January 5, before falling, 49-31, due to a horrific 3-for-19 field-goal shooting effort in the final two quarters. The Bantams closes the regular season with a 2-43 record over their final six games.
Bantam junior forward Erin Cunningham (Wilton, Conn.) leads all of NCAA Division III with a .557 three-point, field-goal percentage, ranks second in the league in total three–pointers with 54 in 97 attempts, and is third in field-goal percentage at .542. Sophomore G/F Peace Kabari (Manchester, N.H.) ranks among the league’s best in steals with 2.1 per game (6th), assists with 3.0 per game, and free-throw percentage at .717 (9th), while junior center Courtney Erickson (Everett, Mass.) ranks 10th in the NESCAC in scoring with 12.3 ppg. Cunningham and Kabari are both averaging in double figures in scoring with 10.5 ppg and 10.2 ppg, respectively, while Kabari leads Trinity on the boards with 6.3 per contest and Erickson averages 6.1 rebounds per game. Erickson had 12 points and six rebounds against Amherst during the regular season.
Amherst, coached by G.P. Gromacki, is 19-5 and ranked No. 1 in the nation and has not lost a game since the 2015-16 NCAA Finals (57 games). Amherst is the top defensive team in the league, allowing 39.4 points per game and holding opponents to 28.4 percent shooting from the floor. Sophomore guard Madeline Eck (Rye, N.Y.) leads the Mammoths in scoring with 11.7 ppg, while sophomore guard Hannah Fox (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) adds 11.2 ppg. Junior F/C Emma McCarthy (Shelton, Conn.) is Amherst’s top rebounder with 7.2 per contest and senior C/F Hannah Hackley (Westford, Mass.) adds a team-high 3.3 assists per game. McCarthy had 13 points and Eck grabbed nine boards and blocked four shots in the regular-season meeting between the Mammoths and the Bantams.