SPRINGFIELD — After losing in the NEWMAC Final last season, the Springfield College women’s basketball team came out strong in the 2019-20 home opener Saturday night, defeating MCLA 74-37.
The Pride were off to an explosive start in the opening 10 minutes, putting up 24 points, while holing MCLA to seven. Leading the way for Springfield was sophomore forward Amanda Carr. She finished the night with 15 points, six rebounds, four blocks, and one assist.
“I mean we really worked hard over the offseason and I just wanted to come back knowing I had to fill the role of the post that left last year, Gracie, and I had to step up with Taylor this year and I’m trying to pull Sam with me,” she said. “So overall just trying to get better on the post.”
But Carr wasn’t the only one who stepped up tonight.
Emily Jacques came up with 16 points, six rebounds, five blocks, two assists, and two steals. Meanwhile, Lauren Rudolph finished with 10 points, two rebounds, two assists, and one steal.
“I think our system is always making sure we have team balance on our offense and there’s a lot of people on our team that can score this year,” head coach Naomi Graves said. “What the nice thing is, is we have posts stepping out and shooting threes, which could be a dagger to our opponents I think, because they usually collapse pretty heavily inside.”
Two of the newest additions to the Pride’s versatile depth include first-year players Rachel Vinton and Sam Hourihan. Vinton finished with four points, three rebounds, two steals, one assist, and one block coming off the bench. Hourihan started, and produced nine points, 10 rebounds, and two assists.
“They’ll have more of a presence the more confident they get, the more they get used to college basketball, but I think both of them are going to be the impact kids down the road,” Graves said. “You can see it, and you can see that they’re learning, and they’re having some struggles a little bit, but that’s okay.
“Sam is just trying to figure it out in the paint and then Amanda has been a great leader, she’s going to be on our leadership team. And I think it’s working. We’re a better basketball team this year.”
Offensively, the Pride shot 35.1 percent from the field, and 29.6 percent from beyond the arc. Defensively, the team came up with 10 blocks and 15 steals.
Beyond the statistics, Springfield had a presence on the court — maintaining intensity throughout the entire game, while being patient swinging the ball around to find the open player offensively.
The team will look to carry this momentum into the next game against Western New England University (WNEU).
“It’s going to be a battle, they’re really good,” Graves said. “I think we’ve got to defend them. They’re a good team, and quite honestly I think they have the advantage this year. They’re returning a team that went to the NCAAs, which just makes me hungry. I like being the one that fights for the person at the top.”
According to Graves, one key looking ahead is simply being present.
“If we really want to be that team that we profess to be, then it’s about staying in the present possession, the present moment, the present time,” she said.
The Pride will host WNEU Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.