Even with a 19-6 overall record, the Colby College women’s basketball team still drew undefeated Amherst in the New England Small College Athletic Conference semifinals.

Amherst — 25-0 and ranked first in Division III in both national polls — will host the Mules at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Colby nearly knocked off Amherst on Jan. 21, but lost 51-50 in Waterville. Amherst starting forward Lem Atanga McCormick did not play in that game. McCormick has returned to the floor, although she did not play when the Lord Jeffs defeated Trinity 94-59 in the quarterfinals.

Caroline Stedman, Shannon Finucane and McCormick have each scored 1,000 career points for Amherst. The Jeffs were ninth in the country in scoring offense (75.6 points per game) and fourth in scoring defense (45.6 ppg).

“We kind of have to have the same focus that we had the first time we played them, which is control them in transition,” Colby coach Julie Veilleux said. “They really have the ability to have one run that puts them up 10-15 points.”

It will be tough for the Mules to hold Amherst to 51 points again, and Veilleux said she is shooting to keep the Lord Jeffs from approaching 80.

“Low 50s is, I think, aiming at the lowest you can probably go,” Veilleux said. “I don’t anticipate it being possibly that low this time, especially with them being home. They also were without a starter the last time we played them. So it’d be great if that could happen, but I don’t know if low 50s is the most realistic.”

What’s heartening to Veilleux and the Mules is that they have shown the ability lately to still score points, even as teams have gone out of their way to limit the inside play of 6-foot-3 senior Jil Vaughan (13.0 ppg, 8.6 rebounds per game) and 6-2 Rachael Mack (12.9 ppg, 7.2 rpg).

Colby had beaten Williams with post play earlier this month, so Williams took that away when the teams met in the NESCAC quarterfinals. But guards Jayde Bennett (13), Aarika Ritchie (12) and Jacky McLaughlin (eight) combined for 33 points, and the Mules advanced with a 61-59 win.

“I think we feel pretty good about that, because I still think we feel good about our inside game,” Veilleux said.

Veilleux points out that the NCAA Division III tournament usually takes four NESCAC teams, so Colby should still be in line for a tournament bid — unless, of course, there is a rash of upsets in other conference tournaments.

For live stats during the game, go to www.amherst.edu/athletics/jeffcast/jeffcast2.

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The University of Maine at Farmington men’s basketball team also still has a shot at a conference championship, and will take on Colby-Sawyer at 8 tonight in Castleton, Vt., in the North Atlantic Conference semifinals.

UMF (16-10 overall, 14-4 NAC) has two wins this season against the Chargers (19-7, 15-3). The first was Dec. 10 in New London, N.H., a game in which UMF fell behind by 17 points but stormed back to win 77-74 in overtime. In the second game, Feb. 3 in Farmington, the Beavers used a plus-17 edge in rebounds to take a 73-65 victory.

Maranacook graduate Will Bardaglio (14.4 ppg) is the top scorer for the Chargers, followed by Koang Thok at 14.1 points per game. Colby-Sawyer makes nearly 10 3-pointers per game and has scored at least 80 points 13 different times this season.

“I think they’re a team that could certainly win the conference,” UMF coach Dick Meader said. “They’re playing very well of late. They’re a dangerous team offensively. They’re mobile, and they do a good job of getting the ball to different spots.”

Maranacook graduate Ben Johnson, a sophomore center, leads UMF in scoring (16.0 ppg) and rebounding (10.2 rpg). Pet Sumner checks in at 14.0 points per game, and another Maranacook alum — senior forward Kevin Leary — is at 10.0 points per game.

Johnson and Dan Kane have missed time with injuries this season, but in an 85-72 victory over New England College in the quarterfinals, Johnson had 14 points and nine rebounds, and Kane played 32 minutes and dished out six assists.

“We’re as healthy as we’ve been in a while, probably,” Meader said.

Meader added that he feels UMF will likely have to win the conference tournament to earn a spot in the NCAA tournament field.

“I think everybody’s thought is, you’ve got to win the conference to move on,” he said. “There’s no wiggle room there.”

Live stats during the game will be available at http://livestats.prestosports.com/nacathletics/

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Thomas College senior Karin Bird missed the end of the season due to injury, but still led the nation in scoring for NCAA Division III women’s basketball. Bird scored 490 points in 20 games, an average of 24.5 points per night. She scored at least 14 points in every game this season and had a high of 36 against New England College.

Maranacook graduate Ryan Martin finished the regular season as the NCAA Division III men’s basketball leader in free-throw percentage. Martin, now at Keene State, made 97 of his 106 attempts for a 91.5 percent rate, just edging out Tyler Schmidt of Augsburg, who shot 91.1 percent from the line.

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

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