Amherst College showed why it is the fifth-ranked team in Division III basketball on Friday night.
Anna Fox connected for 20 points as the Mammoths stormed out to a 20-point halftime advantage on the way to a 66-45 victory over Husson University of Bangor in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Amherst, Mass.
Amherst, the two-time defending Division III national champion, advances to face Geneseo, a 74-55 winner over Vassar on Friday, in Saturday’s second-round game.
Coach Kissy Walker’s Eagles, who won their fourth straight North Atlantic Conference championship last week, finished the season at 19-9.
Fox finished with a team-leading 23 points, hitting five 3-pointers, to pace Amherst (24-3). She also added five rebounds and four assists.
Madeline Eck tossed in 14 points and Courtney Resch provided eight points and six rebounds for the Mammoths, who held the Eagles to 26 percent shooting (13-for-51) and scored 23 points off 16 Husson turnovers. Amherst also won the rebounding battle 45-40.
Kenzie Worcester of Washburn closed out a stellar career at Husson with a game-high 26 points and also grabbed seven rebounds. She was among few Husson players who were able to get good, open looks at the basket on a consistent basis.
Megan Peach registered a double-double for the Eagles with 10 points and 11 rebounds, while Joan Overman chipped in with five points and seven rebounds.
Husson managed only four assists on its 13 field goals, but did outscored Amherst 16-4 from the foul line.
Amherst established itself early with stingy player-to-player defense that limited Husson to 20 percent shooting in the first half. The Mammoths also came up with six steals among 11 turnovers by the Eagles, which led directly to 18 points for the hosts.
Fox netted 14 points to help Amherst build a 21-10 lead through the first 10 minutes as the Mammoths pushed the ball in transition and demonstrated excellent ball movement to get open 3-point shots against Husson’s 2-3 zone defense.