By Danny Priest
SPRINGFIELD — Consecutive three-pointers, a steal and a layup. Eight quick points. That was the way the Western New England women’s basketball team started off the second half of their game Tuesday evening against the Springfield College Pride.
The run extended the Golden Bears lead to 37-23 and although it was a short stretch of the game, that sequence of plays was a reflective encapsulation of the night for the Pride. They were a step slow defensively and had a few too many missed shots offensively, all of which resulted in a 58-49 loss to Western New England.
In the first quarter Springfield shot just 4-for-13 from the field and 1-for-4 from the three point line, and the ball was sticking on the offensive end. A lack of player and ball movement made it tough for them to score.
On the other end, things were no better. They allowed WNE to shoot 9-for-14 from the field and 4-for-6 from three en route to a 23-12 deficit after the first quarter.
The team lacked energy from the start, according to head coach Naomi Graves.
“We weren’t ready. We didn’t come out ready, they came out ready,” she said. “No hole, they just came more prepared to play than we did.”
As the game progressed, Springfield did pick up their energy and level of play, but they never could cut the deficit completely down. The Pride outscored the Golden Bears in both the third and fourth quarters, and with eight minutes left in the game they trailed by just three.
After that, the team could not hold onto the ball. They commited 20 turnovers in the game and six of them came in that final quarter.
The fight was there in spurts according to Graves, but never consistently.
“At parts. At the end of the game, you’re down by three or four and you start throwing the ball to the other team. We had 20 turnovers. I liked the effort, I didn’t like the execution.”
The loss drops Springfield to 1-1 now on the season. Emily Jacques tallied a team high 14 points on the night and right behind her was Chelsea McAllister with 13 and Taylor Hall with 11.
Still, the Pride could not overcome their shooting woes. They finished the game shooting just 34 percent from the field, 20 percent from deep, and 62.5 percent at the line.
Graves will look to use the loss as a building block going forward.
“Absolutely. I think we needed this loss. In some ways we needed to be woken up, I think there’s some folks that needed a wake up call and I think it worked.”
The Pride will return to action on Friday where they will face Tufts University in the Middlebury Tip-Off Classic. That game will begin at 6 p.m.
Featured photo courtesy of Jack Margaros