The Springfield College women’s basketball team came up big against NEWMAC competitor Wellesley, earning a 53-38 victory. The Pride are now 14-7 overall, and have a NEWMAC record of 10-2.
Posse took the court of Blake Arena determined to play for something much bigger than their stats, their team, or even their season. And it started in warmups. The Pride donned pink warmup shirts in honor of breast cancer awareness, supporting the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
This is a subject close to the hearts of the Springfield women’s basketball program, as head coach Naomi Graves is a breast cancer survivor. The team honored her with flowers at the start of the game, and a win by the end of the game.
The Pride were off to a strong start with energy, but initially had trouble finding the basket. Just minutes into the game, Springfield had five offensive rebounds off one possession, four of which were from Gracie Restituyo, and one by Taylor Hall.
But the Pride would find the basket before the quarter ended.
About five minutes into the game, both teams came alive with back and forth scoring on five consecutive possessions between Wellesley and Springfield. Leading the way for the Pride was freshman Grace Dzindolet, who kicked it off by racing the length of the court and driving to the basket, followed by two 3-pointers.
Springfield carried the momentum into the second quarter, holding the Blue to just two points, which Wellesley’s No. 22 Laura McGeary notched in the first 20 seconds. Meanwhile for the Pride, freshman Amanda Carr drained a 3-pointer on the team’s first possession. Springfield would go on an 11-point run throughout the remainder of the half, taking the lead 24-16.
Of Springfield’s 24 points at the half, 16 came from the bench, with Dzindolet leading the way with 10, followed by Amanda Carr with four. The Pride utilized their bench early, with 10 of the team’s 13 players seeing time in the first two quarters.
These numbers would only continue to increase.
Springfield went on another run in the third quarter, this time worth nine points, five of which were from junior Lauren Rudolph off the bench. The Pride’s intense defensive effort is largely responsible for their successful runs. Junior Emily Jacques and Carr became a blocking team, earning three and one block respectively, in the quarter.
“I’m always that defensive-minded coach, which actually looks a little boring when you watch a game. But our defense I thought looked really good, especially when we added the pressure, the two-two-one press got them out of their rhythm,” said Graves. “I think that made a big difference in their shooting percentage in the second and third quarters.”
The Pride were off to an electric start in the fourth quarter, going on a seven-point run in the first three minutes. But once the Blue put a stop to it, they came back, putting up seven points of their own in just under a minute and a half.
However, Carr would seal out the victory with a baseline jump shot, giving the Pride a final score of 53-38. After a loss to Smith just three days prior, the entire team was thrilled by the victory.
“I just am really excited about our bench. Our bench scored 30 points for this win!” Graves said. “I always have said to our team, ‘In February, often it’s not your first five. It’s your second five or six that are going to come in and do the job for you, because your first five have gotten you where you are,’ and that’s exactly what happened tonight.”
She added, “Amanda has done a tremendous job in this game, I thought she just shined.” Carr finished the night with 10 points and five rebounds.
In the end, it was a starter who led the Pride, as Restituyo came up with 12 points and 14 rebounds, eight of which were offensive. This marks her ninth double double of the season.
Next, the Pride take on Emerson on the road at 7 p.m.
Today’s game was played in support of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, which was founded by Kay Yow, the former head women’s basketball coach at NC State University, who lost her battle with Breast Cancer after battling for 22 years. The Kay Yow Cancer Fund preaches starting every day with one focus – ending women’s cancers.
For more information on the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, visit their website.