(ROCHESTER, Minn.) – The third-ranked Thomas More College women's basketball team's season came to an end tonight (Friday, March 16, 2018) as it fell, 66-48, to top-ranked Amherst College in a NCAA Division IIII National Semifinal game at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, Minnesota.
With the loss, the Saints end the season at 30-2. With the win, the Mammoths improve to 32-0 and advance to the national championship game where they will play either second-ranked Wartburg College or fifth-ranked Bowdoin College on Saturday.
Thomas More jumped out to an early 5-0 lead when senior forward Nikki Kiernan (Cold Spring, Ky./Newport Central Catholic) made a lay-up with 8:20 to play in the first quarter. Amherst answered with a 13-0 run capped by an Emma McCarthy three pointer to give the Mammoths as 13-5 lead with 3:20 to play in the opening quarter. The Mammoths would extend the lead to as many as 12 points before Kiernan made a lay-up with 23-seconds to play in the first quarter to cut Amherst's lead to 21-11 after one quarter.
The Saints scored the first four points in the second quarter to cut the lead to 21-15 when junior forward Shelby Rupp (Milan, Ind./Batesville) made a lay-up with 9:04 to play in the quarter. Amherst responded with a 6-0 run to increase the lead to 27-15 with 4:05 to play in the second quarter when McCarthy made a lay-up. Thomas More closed out the quarter on a 5-2 run to cut the lead to 29-20 at halftime when Kiernan made one-of-two free-throws.
Thomas More used a 19-11 run in the third quarter to cut the Mammoths' lead to 40-39 with 16-seconds to play in the fourth quarter when junior guard Madison Temple (Cincinnati, Ohio/Anderson) made a three-pointer. Amherst's Cam Hendricks made a three-pointer at the buzzer to give Amherst a 43-39 lead after three quarters.
Amherst out-scored the Saints 23-9 in the fourth quarter to post the 66-48 victory.
Temple led the Saints in scoring with 14 points. Sophomore guard Taylor Jolly (Alexandria, Ky./Campbell County) just missed double digits as she scored nine points and Kiernan added seven. Temple led the team on the boards with seven rebounds, while Kiernan pulled down six and Rupp tallied six boards. Temple led the Saints in assists also with three, while Kiernan led the team in blocks with two and steals with two.