Sports Women's Sports

Springfield College women’s basketball seniors Chelsea McAllister and Gracie Restituyo play final game

Gabby Guerard
Features Editor

Springfield College women’s basketball seniors stepped off the court of Blake Arena for one last time on Saturday, February 23. Following a 66-50 loss in the NEWMAC Tournament Championship to MIT, their hearts were heavy.

McAllister, a 5-foot-7 guard from Baltimore, Vt., has worked her way through the program. As a freshman, the Recreation Management major played in 20 game, averaging 10 minutes. By junior year, McAllister started all 29 games, averaging 31 minutes.

As a starter of two years, she brought a great deal of experience and leadership to the court. McAllister finished her senior season averaging eight points, three rebounds, and nearly two assists per game.

Looking back on her experience, she couldn’t help but smile.

“There’s no words, it’s an incredible feeling. Going from freshman year, I’m just a little freshman kid, I don’t really know what I’m doing, coach is always yipping and yapping at us, but now we get to this point: senior year NEWMAC championship, I mean, you can’t ask for anything better,” said McAllister. “We’ll always have ‘Posse’ on our back.”

Restituyo, a 5-foot-10 forward from Barrington, R.I., has become a force in the paint over the last four years. As a freshman, the Sports Biology major played in 19 games, averaging about seven and a half minutes. After starting all but just eight games as a sophomore, she earned a permanent spot in the starting lineup for her final two seasons, averaging 26.5 minutes.

Restituyo put together a senior season to remember. She earned 12 double doubles, averaging 11.4 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. Additionally, Restituyo was named a three-time NEWMAC Defensive Athlete of the Week this season alone.

However, it’s not the statistics that she’ll remember the most. It’s the experience.

“Being a part of this team means everything to me. Just from freshman year to now, you really just see how you progress and how you can progress people,” she said. “It really means the entire world to me to have the opportunity to even just be out there and to wear the uniform, and just be lucky enough to play, and be with such a great group of people over these four years. It’s been really unreal.”

Following the NEWMAC Championship loss, the women’s basketball head coach Naomi Graves reminded both McAllister and Restituyo of the impact that they’ve had on the program.

“I told them at the end, I always say to the seniors, ‘You’re leaving your legacy.’ The legacy that this senior group left is we got further than we did last year, and now we’re in the Championship round,” Graves said. “Both of them have committed a lot of time and energy to making this program better, and their leadership has been great.”

But, they haven’t just contributed via wins or points. They’ve been instrumental to the entire team dynamic.

“I think both of them have, on a regular basis, demonstrated the things that are set up for our program to be successful. And they talk about how important the family unit is and the culture,” said Graves. “I think both of them have really worked hard for me for four years and it doesn’t always go the way you want it to go, but I think in the end, they still worked hard for me, and they’ll be part of our legacy with the Posse.”

With the help of McAllister and Restituyo, the Pride finished their season 18-10. The team also made its first NEWMAC Championship appearance for the first time in five years. There, Springfield claimed second place in the NEWMAC Tournament.

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