A five-game winning streak running just past New Year’s and then a trio of consecutive wins in the middle of January were important runs for the women’s basketball program this season. But, neither of those streaks are more important than the three-game streak the Pride currently have heading into the NEWMAC tournament.
Springfield’s winning streak has included blowout wins over Wellesley and Mount Holyoke as well as a a gritty 62-53 victory at Blake Arena over rival MIT. The grit-style game against MIT continued one last time this season as the fifthseeded Pride headed on the road to face the fourthseeded Engineers in a conference quarterfinal matchup on Wednesday night.
The Pride left Cambridge with a 57-48 win, and a trip to the semi-finals.
Emily Gins led the Pride with 14 points, while Heather Lewis added 13.
Allowing the third least amount of points per game in the conference at 54.8, the Pride have used their defense to help build the new momentum and create offense. During the three-game streak, Springfield has scored 60 points or more. When meeting or exceeding 60, the Pride are 13-3.
Playing a complete game has given Grave’s team the opportunity to play with any team they face.
“I think we have built confidence in ourselves and each other throughout the season, and now we are finally putting everything together,” said senior co-captain Heather Lewis.
Since their 62-46 loss on the road to the Engineers on January 16th, Springfield has finished the season 7-3 in their last 10 contests.
Lewis’s senior class member and co-captain Gins leads the team with 12.1 points per game. Gins has scored in double figures 14 times this season.
Ava Adamopoulos is second in scoring with 9.7 points per game and averages seven rebounds per contest along with Gins and sophomore Heather King.
Part of the reason for the Pride’s surging momentum is the improving depth that they have developed. King has provided a spark off the bench all season, scoring in double figures 10 times thus far.
The Brent sisters have stepped up in their sophomore seasons and proved that they too can be an immediate threat in the NEWMAC tournament. After not playing in seven straight games from December 11th to January 12th, Carli Brent has played in the last 12 games including making one start. Brent has averaged 13.8 minutes per game in the last six slates and 4.5 points per game. Her sister Christa has logged at least 11 minutes in each of the last eight contests.
Freshmen Gracie Restituyo has gradually proved herself as she had her best game in the 85-39 rout over Wellesley. The blank native had her first career double-double with a team-leading 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Along with regular starters Danielle Racette and Lexi Windwer who have started 24 games apiece, they can make a big impact on both ends of the floor. Windwer averages 7.2 points per game and can go on a hot streak from the perimeter at any moment. Racette is a very trustworthy floor general who averages three assists.
Graves is aware of all the options she has for weapons gearing up for this tournament, not just her leaders.
“I don’t think it has been just one or two people who have done it,” said Graves. “We are playing better together and are more consistent with our intensity, effort, and communication.”
Although the preparation may very well stay a constant this week, there is no hiding that the new momentum the Pride have carried has improved the team as a whole.
A 19-7 overall record last year and a semifinal loss to Babson was a successful season but the Pride’s appetite is hungrier for something more than what they had on their plate last year. The leaders of this team want to end this season in a special way for the entire team.