By: Jon Santer
Assistant Sports Editor
This season has been less than ideal for head coach Naomi Graves and the Springfield College Women’s Basketball team. After winning their opening match-up against the Trinity College Bantams 54-50 at the Brandeis Invitational in mid-November, the Pride dropped seven straight games, including a tight battle with national-powerhouse Williams College that ended in a 12-point loss and a lackluster performance against Smith College, resulting in a 73-56 loss early in December.
With the start of a new year on their minds, the Pride decided to come back to school after a short winter break hungry and hoped to turn things around. It appeared as if Springfield were doing just that following an impressive 55-48 victory over a previously unbeaten Swarthmore College out of Swarthmore, P.A. in the Hampton Inn/Naismith Classic opening round. Following the win, the Pride dropped six straight games, giving them a record of 2-13 on the year.
After defeating Wheaton College in a tight-knit 41-39 victory, the Pride attempted to keep the momentum going into league-opponent Clark University but dropped a 67-56 decision, despite a double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds) from sophomore forward Jamie Bickelhaupt.
This brings us to Saturday, where the “Posse” is preparing to take on Wellesley College (9-6 [8-3]). Earlier in the season, the Pride traveled out to Wellesley, Mass. and fell to the Blue 60-46 even though Bickelhaupt dropped 12 points and recorded eight rebounds off the bench. Springfield had trouble slowing down senior guard Malia Maier, who netted 22 points in the victory, as well as 10 points from sophomore forward Meghan Sargent.
Maier has been the go-to-girl for head coach Jennifer Kroll this season, leading the Blue, averaging 10 points a game. Complimenting Maier is fellow guard Leslie Leong, and center Morgyne Weaver who are both averaging 9.1 points per game.
As for Springfield, the Pride have been led by freshman stand-out Heather Lewis as well as Bickelhaupt. Lewis, a graduate of Saratoga Springs High School in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., averages 9.6 points per game as well as 2.8 rebounds for Coach Graves. Complimenting Lewis in the paint is Bickelhaupt, who has posted an impressive 8.8 points per game, as well as 6.1 rebounds despite playing through injury as of late.
The two sides will square off Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. at Blake Arena.