HOLLAND, Mich. -- Saturday provided some satisfying solace for the Williams College women's basketball team.
The Ephs capped their first trip to the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship by taking third place with a 57-53 win against rival Amherst at Hope College.
Williams finished with a 27-6 record, including two wins against the NESCAC champion Lord Jeffs in four games this season.
"It was sweet to beat your rival, but we really wanted to go out feeling good about ourselves," Williams senior forward Danny Rainer said.
Rainer led the Ephs with 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds in her final game. Senior guard Jennie Harding added 12 points.
Baecher, who became the Ephs' 15th 1,000-point scorer earlier this season, chipped in eight points and eight rebounds against Amherst. Rehnquist scored seven points, while Cook totaled six.
Ranier, Harding, Claire Baecher, Grace Rehnquist, Jen Borderud and Stephanie Browne formed a senior class that set school records for wins in a single season and career for a single class with 87.
Williams ended Amherst's 22-game conference win streak on Feb. 10. It was the Lord Jeffs' only regular-season defeat.
"I am so happy for our seniors to get out with a win like this. ... against a team that's kind of owned us," Williams coach Pat Manning said. "We talked about how this was going to be a mental toughness game [after close semifinal losses for both
The Ephs held off Amherst (30-3) by making their final 15 free throws. Williams hit 83.3 percent of its foul shots, going 25 of 30.
Williams, which trailed 24-21 at halftime, took the lead for good on two Ranier free throws with 6 minutes, 5 remaining.
Amherst pulled within twice during the final 27 seconds. An Ephs turnover with nine seconds gave the Jeffs a chance, but Amherst guard Marcia Voigt committed a turnover.
Williams sophomore Ellen Cook then sank two free throws with three seconds remaining for the game's final margin.
Manning was proud of her team's resiliency, especially during a physical and defensive first half.
"Even though it was low-scoring and they were killing us on the boards, we were still hanging in there," Manning said.
"I think everyone really wanted to have fun playing basketball," Harding said. "This was our last game together."