By Ian Carrano
Behind Grace Dzindolet’s 19- point performance off the bench, the Springfield College women’s basketball team defeated Clarke 85-60 in dominating fashion to improve to 13-6 on the season.
The Pride got off to a strong start with Alex Goslin leading the way with her emphasis on playmaking and pushing the ball. Answering an early three pointer by Clark, Goslin made her first three- point attempt of the night just one minute into the game. That was the first of five three-pointers made by the Pride in the opening period, which was just the beginning of their strong performance behind the arc. Understanding the importance of getting off to a fast start at home, head coach Naomi Graves gave credit to one of her team’s best three-point shooting performances of the season.
“We came out, set the tone really early, shot the ball really well. I thought we did the best three- point shooting I’ve seen our team do all season and I thought we ran really well in the beginning,” said Graves.
A lot of the credit to the team’s three-point shooting can be given to Goslin’s playmaking (7 assists) and her team’s unselfishness. On 16 made shots in the first-half, 14 of those shots were assisted on. Wanting to increase ball movement on offense, Dzindolet explained her team’s emphasis on playmaking.
“I think when the ball moves that well against a defense, it just kind of comes naturally. I think we worked a lot on it the past two days just a concern on offense to get us to move the ball a lot more.”
Along with their strong start to the game, the Pride’s stifling defense held Clark to score 13 points each in the first and second quarters. Despite allowing some early three- point shots, Springfield’s defense held their own throughout the first half with their full-court press applying pressure throughout. Forcing 17 turnovers in the first two quarters, the Pride’s stifling defense only allowed a total of 26 points on only 35.7% shooting.
With a focus on defense prior to the game, Graves stressed the importance of their defensive effort on Wednesday night. “We mixed it up. We pressed, we zoned, we manned, we mixed up our defenses a lot in the first two periods,” said Graves. “We talked about it early yesterday in particular about how our defense is going to get us to where we need to go so no matter who we play we need to make sure to take our defense seriously.”
Although Clark was able to shoot over 50% from the field in the two periods, Springfield still held their own offensively. Continuing to get her teammates involved, Goslin helped direct Springfield’s offense to making all four of their threes in the third quarter. Although Goslin struggled shooting from the field, Graves still noticed how important she was to her team in all aspects of the game.
“Alex’s impact on our team is amazing to me and she sets the tone with her intensity. She doesn’t ever take a possession off. We’re going to miss her terribly, but I still have her so I’m excited… She was looking for a lot of other people tonight,” said Graves. “I think she’s a really unselfish player and a great leader for our program. She builds confidence in a lot of members of our team when it gets crazy. “
After setting up Stephanie Lyons for an open left corner three towards the end of the third quarter, Dzindolet made her first points of the second half with a three of her own. She followed that up with another shot beyond the arc, which extended Springfield’s lead even further.
The Pride held off Clark in the final period, allowing only 13 points, and secured their 13th victory of the season.
Finishing with 40 bench points, and a strong performance from Dzindolet, Graves acknowledged the luxury of having depth on her roster this season despite some injuries.
“Last year we didn’t have depth. We brought in more depth and we got more experience. Having Grace come off the bench and score 19 how good is that? That’s what you want and we actually have two starting lineups in my opinion. I have a second group that could start on some teams. But this team is actually bought in”, said Graves. We’ve just got a bench this year that’s just amazing and when Emily [Jacques] comes back I just think it’s going to be even more amazing. You can go five and five, it’s just fun.”
The Pride will look to build off their victory Wednesday night when they face off against Emerson on the road Saturday.
Photo courtesy of Joe Arruda