Assistant Sports Editor
Devon Quattrocchi and Paulina Solis combined for 37 points as the Smith College Pioneers women’s basketball team trounced the hosting Springfield College Pride 73-56 Tuesday night at Blake Arena. The loss drops the Pride to 1-5 overall and 0-3 in NEWMAC action. The win however, brings Smith to 5-1 (3-0), appointing them first place in the league over Babson College.
Twenty seconds into the contest, Solis drained a wide open three-pointer in the left corner to kick off the scoring for the Pioneers, as they matched their points-per-game average of 73 on the season.
Smith College as a team would go on to hit six first-half three-pointers, including three from Quattrocchi, to give the Pioneers a solid lead heading into halftime.
Although their offense was strong, Smith College head coach Lynn Hersey was quick to credit her defense.
“We came out of the gates and played very strong defense,” reflected Hersey. “We doubled the ball with our guards and forced a lot of turnovers, which led to easy buckets to start off the game. Devon was great for us tonight. She is our engine up top, and that showed on both ends of the floor.”
The Pioneers scored 34 of their 73 points off of turnovers committed by Springfield. 19 of the 28 turnovers Springfield gave up in the contest were from the starters, who found themselves on the bench due to an unsatisfied coach Naomi Graves.
“What bothered me today was that the starters kind of laid down. They looked at the scoreboard, and they were losing, so they gave up,” commented Graves. “We did not meet our goals; we turned the ball over too many times, we didn’t get to the foul line, [and] we didn’t control the things we could control.”
The shining stars in a dismal game for the Pride came from the freshman class. Guard Jessie Klauer went 2-2 on the night with four points and three rebounds. Forward Heather Lewis led the way for Springfield, going 8-of-11 from the floor with 16 points, her career high.
“The positives were Jessie Klauer and Heather Lewis. They played great games,” said Graves of her first-year players. “Heather is a good player. She is going to be moving into the starting line-up; everybody knows that. She’s a great athlete, she played really well, we just need to build her up a little. I love watching her play.”
Lewis, a product out of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., has been introduced to collegiate basketball early on in her career, seeing action in all of Springfield’s first six games, averaging 13.1 minutes on the floor. Although at a different level, Lewis is adjusting quite well.
“In high school, I could just do whatever I wanted,” said the first year. “In college, the playing field has evened out. There are girls out there that are just as athletic as me and with a lot more experience. I am just trying to find my niche and control what I can control and just do my best.”
Moving forward, Lewis, Graves and the rest of the Pride will host NEWMAC foe WPI on Friday night at 7 p.m. back at Blake Arena.