Pride women’s basketball took on the Western New England Golden Bears in its first game of the regular season in Blake Arena Wednesday night. The game marked the third consecutive year that the Pride have taken on the Golden Bears in its season opener. Last year’s contest went into double overtime and the Pride outlasted the Golden Bears, 83-75.
The Pride made it back to back wins against the Golden Bears by defeating the team 71-31 to start their season on a high note. A strong defensive effort from the Pride as well as a second half offensive surge led the team to the win. Senior Heather King recorded a double double with 13 points and 11 rebounds and sophomore Alex Goslin finished with 13 points and seven assists.
The Pride and the Golden Bears come into the game in similar situations as both have young squads featuring only one senior. For the Golden Bears, its lone senior is guard Dorothy O’Neal, who came into the game on a mission right from tip-off.
O’Neal scored the first five points for the Golden Bears and assisted on the seventh. After a timeout, the Golden Bears scored again putting them up 10-2 early on the Pride.
Springfield rallied back from the early deficit. Big threes from Emily Jacques and Chelsea McAllister got the Pride back into the game and the women eventually took the lead and went into the second quarter leading 17-12.
In the second quarter the Pride began to pull away, the team scored 14 points to go up 31-21 and went into the half with the momentum on its side.
For the Golden Bears, O’Neal did not get discouraged as she kept her team in the game by scoring 13 of the Golden Bears 21 second quarter points.
The second half was all Springfield. The women came out looking like a different team with an offensive explosion led by the Pride’s dynamic duo of King and Goslin.
Springfield head coach Naomi Graves said she didn’t say much to the players but highlighted one thing.
“We were being pushed around in the first two periods and I told them they needed to fight more.”
Along with the amazing offense the women put together a great half defensively. The Pride adjusted into a 1-2-2 zone that confused the Golden Bears and only managed to score two points to Springfield’s 16 in the third quarter.
“I thought what you (Coach Graves) said fired me up,” said King. “We also talked at halftime about what we needed to change and we actually changed it and adjusted well.”
The women switched out of this zone to man to man in the fourth but continued to play stifling defense and held the Golden Bears to only eight points in the final period.
The game showed the potential that the Pride has when all of the players are on the same page. If the Pride can find a way to focus like it did in the second half for an entire game, the team will be a scary opponent for any team this season.
Next up the the women will take on Farmingdale State this Saturday at Amherst College.