AMHERST, Mass. (WROC) — After defeating Rhode Island College in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Championship, the nationally-ranked St. John Fisher College women’s basketball team saw its historic season come to an end after falling to nationally-ranked Amherst College, 56-48, Saturday evening. With the loss, the Cardinals finish their season with a record of 26-3 and as the 20th ranked team in the nation per D3hoops.com’s national poll, while No. 8 Amherst College moves to 23-3 and will advance to the Sweet 16 to take on Tufts University.

The Cardinals opened the first quarter with two forced turnovers leading to a Kaitlyn Walker layup and a Leah Koonmen three-pointer to take an early 5-0 lead. The Mammoths answered quickly with a pair of baskets of their own to cut the lead to one.

After six straight points from Amherst, Lauren Nawojski came off the bench and found herself a layup off a Miranda Lynch assist, to make the score 9-10 with three minutes to play in the first.

The Cardinals only managed to score two more points in the quarter as Katie Moravec drove to the hoop for a layup, while the Mammoths were able to score five more to take a 15-11 lead after 10 minutes of action.

The Mammoths continued their home court momentum with a 10-0 run dating back to the first quarter to take a 21-11 lead. Walker was able to end a 5-minute scoring drought for Fisher with a layup, before a pair of free throws by Amherst grew the lead to 11 with just 3:30 to play in the half.

Trailing 24-13, head coach Melissa Kuberka put her trust in Moravec to get her team back in the game as the freshman managed to score six of the Cardinals’ last eight points of the half and cut the Mammoth lead to just six as the Cardinals went into the half trailing 27-21.

Following the intermission, the Cardinals created a 5-1 run after a Walker and-one layup to cut the lead down to just three. After an Amherst three-pointer and a steal-and-score layup, the Mammoth lead jumped back up to eight with 6:30 remaining in the third.

From there, a Koonmen steal led to a Nawojski jumper to cut the lead back down to six with just over 5:30 minutes to play. After a pair of buckets by Amherst, the Mammoths managed to finish the frame leading 39-32 with one quarter to play.

With only 10 minutes left in the season and trailing by seven, Kuberka’s squad needed to find a way to get back in the game. Moravec managed to drive to the hoop for a shooting foul and make both free throws to cut the deficit down to five. After two baskets from Amherst, it seemed as if the homecourt advantage was too much as the Mammoths led 44-34 with under 8 minutes to play.

Freshman Sidney Tomasso started a run for the Cardinals after following her own miss with a tip-in layup to cut the Mammoth lead back to eight. From there, a Walker layup and a pair of free throws from Claire Kruszka cut the lead to four with just over 6:30 to play.

With five minutes to play, Moravec and Koonmen each went 1-for-2 from the free-throw line to make it a two-point game. After an Amherst basket moved the lead back up to four, both teams traded free throws to make it a 47-43 game.

With only one minute remaining in the game, Amherst found its way to the free-throw stripe and knocked down both shots to move the lead back up to six. After a Tomasso missed three, Amherst was able to make its free throws down the stretch and take the victory 56-48.

Walker led the offense for the Cardinals with 15 points, followed by Moravec with 11. Tomasso finished with a team-high six rebounds, while Koonmen and Walker each grabbed five of their own.

As a team, Fisher shot 17-of-51 (.333) from the floor and 3-for-14 (.214) from three. Defensively, the Cardinals forced 15 turnovers and tallied eight steals.