Sports Women's Sports

Springfield women’s basketball has new outlook after historic season

By Chris Gionta

The 2021-22 Springfield College women’s basketball team made its first Sweet 16 appearance in 17 years. After a season featuring the moments and success that it had, it would not be difficult to use last year as a standard bearer. Yet, the team is using the new season to create its own goals.

“We’re trying not to compare seasons,” said Springfield head coach Naomi Graves. “So as a coach, we’re really focused in on just taking it day-by-day — enjoying the journey together.”

However, knowing how good the tournament run felt will not be lost on Springfield’s coaches and upperclassmen, and can potentially be used as a motivator.

“Knowing how that feeling was is definitely something we want to get to again,” said senior forward Sam Hourihan.

The Pride only have two seniors this season, but they are two of the Posse’s most impactful contributors. Hourihan is coming off a year full of accolades and great moments. She nearly averaged a double-double with 16.5 points and 9.6 rebounds per game, and proved to be a force on defense with 2.2 blocks per game. This earned her a Women’s Basketball College Association All-American honorable mention.

She also had the moment of the year in the Round of 32 when she hit a game-winning buzzer-beater on a fadeaway jump shot. This came alongside 28 points and 14 rebounds in the victory.

Fellow senior Rachel Vinton will remain vital to the team at the point guard position. In 2021-22, she averaged 10.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 2.0 steals per game. What especially stood out was her 55.3 percent field goal percentage.

The Pride suffered some losses due to graduation and players running out of eligibility, most notably with Sidney Wentland, Grace Dzindolet, and Stephanie Lyons. Wentland came in as a graduate transfer with Division I and Division II experience, and went on to gather 12.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game last season.

Dzindolet was an effective guard who averaged over double-digits in the points column in 2021-22, and Lyons was a great perimeter defender who also posed a scoring threat.

Despite the departures, Springfield is confident that those roles will be filled successfully. Angela Czeremcha saw more and more minutes as last season went on. She took the role of the Pride’s sixth woman and had five double-doubles as a forward. With her entering her sophomore year, the Pride are excited for what she will continue to bring.

“Angie [Czeremcha] is going to be a big-time contributor,” Graves said. “She is such a big force inside.”

A pair of junior guards are also expected to take a step up for the Pride in 2022-23.

“Jaélan [Dubon] will take a new role, and so will Kayla Madden,” Graves said. “They’re playing great.”

The Pride enter 2022-23 with a No. 3 ranking in the NEWMAC preseason poll, with only Babson and Smith above them. They also rank No. 20 in the WBCA preseason national poll, as well as No. 16 in the country according to Springfield will begin action on Nov. 8 in Blake Arena against Western New England.

Photo: Springfield College Athletics

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