By Jake Desautels
The Springfield College women’s basketball team killed eleven birds with one stone en route to their fifth straight win to start the season on Wednesday night at Blake Arena, soaring past the Endicott Gulls by a score of 74-52.
Guard Sidney Wentland led the way for the Pride, scoring a team-high 22 points on 10-for-17 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds and 4 assists. Springfield also got big nights from forward Sam Hourihan and guard Rachel Vinton, who scored 17 and 14 points, respectively. Hourihan shot 7-for-18 from the field and 3-for-7 from beyond the arc, while also grabbing 6 rebounds and blocking 4 shots. Meanwhile, Vinton shot 7-for-14 while getting 8 rebounds.
Guard Grace Dzindolet was a big contributor as well, scoring 13 points on 4-for-11 shooting and knocking down 5-out-of-6 free throws. She also showed off her playmaking with a team high of 5 assists. On the other end of the court, Endicott was led by forward Sarah Dempsey, who scored a team-high of 14 points on 6-for-11 shooting.
The Gulls seemed lost as the Pride got off to a hot start in the first quarter, going on a 12-2 run until Endicott called a timeout at 6:30. By the end of the quarter, Springfield was up 13 points, leading the Gulls 30-17 on Hourihan’s 7 points on 2-for-2 shooting and Wentland’s 6 points and 4 assists.
Despite slowing down in the second quarter, the Pride still led 43-29 by halftime. However, there were a couple injury scares for Springfield, as guard Stephanie Lyons appeared to be in a lot of pain after being poked in the eye with 3:12 left, while Dzindolet went down with a leg injury as time expired. Though Dzindolet walked out on her own power and returned in the third quarter, Lyons was out for the rest of the game. It was two scary moments for a team that has already lost players to injury so early in the season.
The Pride outscored Endicott 18-13 in the third quarter, and went on a 9-2 run to close it out. The fourth quarter was where they really shined. Defense was the name of the game for the Pride all night, and they were really showing it in the final ten minutes. Endicott scored only 10 points.
Though they didn’t force many turnovers in that time, the Pride made it as hard as possible for the Gulls to score and build momentum. They were contesting shots and clogging up the passing lane like it was second nature.
Head coach Naomi Graves praised her players’ performances on the night, “I thought the kids were just gutsy today. They were tired, we’re down to nine healthy people”, she remarked. The Pride forced 22 turnovers, grabbed 43 total rebounds, and had 7 blocks and 8 steals altogether.
Despite her team’s successes, Coach Graves still had some ideas on how her players could improve. “I think we do need to work on our half court defense”, Graves said. “We could take care of the ball a little better, but we’ve got improvements around the corner, so I’m really proud of them.”
The Pride will host the Vassar College Brewers at 1:00 PM on Nov. 20 at Blake Arena in their next game. After that they’ll have two road games against Williams College and Westfield State, before returning to Blake on December 7 to face Worcester State at 5:30 PM.