Seeded No. 3, the Springfield College women’s basketball team defeated No. 6 seed Clark University with a final score of 66-44. The Pride now advance to the NEWMAC Tournament Semifinals for the first time in three years. The team will take on No. 2 seed Smith College on the road at 7 p.m.
After defeating Clark University just three days ago in the regular season 68-58, the Pride set out to do it again- but this time, in the NEWMAC Tournament Quarterfinals.
And they did.
It was day No. 128 for the Posse, as they took the court of Blake Arena, after 26 days of preseason, 99 days of regular season, and on their third day of the postseason. Yet, the team looked as energized as they did on day No. 1.
The Pride played tight defense throughout the entire first half, limiting the Cougars to scoring a mere five points each quarter. Leading 32-10 at halftime, Springfield had not given Clark a single opportunity at the free-throw line. This was vastly different than the defense from three days prior, which put Clark at the line 35 times by the end of the game.
“I thought our defense in the first and second periods was outstanding,” said Graves.
Though, the second half would be a slightly different story.
Clark came out determined in the third quarter, scoring 20 points. The Cougars doubled what they had produced in the entire first half, in just 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, Springfield had three turnovers on their first three possessions of the quarter. The team was unable to score until junior Alex Goslin hit a deep jump shot with 6:30 remaining.
“I thought we came out flat in the third,” Graves said. “We had some mental breakdowns, but overall I’m really happy. I thought we played great.”
But Springfield fought back.
The Pride put up 17 points in the third quarter, led by Goslin with five. The point guard would finish the night with 18 points, 10 rebounds, six steals, and four assists.
“Even when they started to go on a run, we stuck with it,” said Goslin. “And then we bounced back.”
In the end, Springfield’s focus and determination pulled through. The team looked cool, calm, and collected throughout the majority of the game and controlled the momentum for nearly the entire night.
This is largely due to the junior-senior leadership that Graves had said would be the determining factor for making it past the NEWMAC Tournament Quarterfinals.
The team was determined to put an end to the trend that developed over the last two seasons: losing to lower-seeded teams in the NEWMAC Tournament first round.
Last season, the Pride entered the NEWMAC Tournament as the No. 4 seed and lost to No. 5 seed MIT in NEWMAC Quarterfinals 55-66, after defeating MIT in the regular season. In the 2016-2017 season, the Pride entered the NEWMAC Tournament as the No. 2 seed, and lost to No. 7 seed Clark in NEWMAC Quarterfinals 65-54, after defeating Clark twice in the regular season.
But not this year. And Goslin and Graves both agree, “It feels so good!”
“For the longest time we would always go, like I would never even think that we wouldn’t make it past it [Quarterfinals], and then the conference got stronger, so the 4 v. 5 [seeded] matchup was brutal,” Graves explained. “I was actually praying that we would take care of business, so that we would get this team [Clark], because Emerson is playing MIT and both those teams could be two or three in our conference.”
“Anyone could beat anyone, on any given day,” Goslin added.
Tonight, that included Springfield beating Clark. With contributions across the board, the entire starting lineup stepped up.
In addition to Goslin, juniors Emily Jacques and Taylor Hall had big nights for the Pride. Jacques finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds, two steals, one assist, and one block. Hall produced 11 points, five rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
Meanwhile, seniors Chelsea McAllister and Gracie Restituyo shined in different lights. McAllister finished with 10 points, followed with three rebounds, two assists, and one steal. Restituyo produced 13 rebounds, followed with seven points, two assists, and one steal.
Looking ahead, the Pride advance to the NEWMAC Tournament Semifinals, which will be held on Thursday, February 21 at Smith College. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.