Assistant Sports Editor
To the average fan’s eye, the Springfield College women’s basketball team is off to a mediocre start due to their 1-2 record through three games. Although head coach Naomi Graves is not particularly fond of the Pride’s record to begin the season, she is more than proud of the effort her team is leaving on the court.
“We are playing great defense,” said Graves. “Kids are working hard, and they’re not letting up. The chemistry, the work ethic, they don’t get down on themselves. They’re working hard, [and] good things are going to happen when you’re working as hard as we are working right now. Our cohesion on the court is evident on the court, and it’s not a lack of effort, but more a lack of execution.”
To kick the season off, the Pride took the floor at the Brandeis Invitational held at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. the weekend of Nov. 17-18. In the first game, the Pride defeated the Trinity College 54-50 on Saturday night. Led by sophomore Jamie Bickelhaupt with 15 points and three rebounds off the bench, Springfield outlasted the Bandits down the stretch to pick up their first victory of the 2012-2013 season.
Springfield returned to compete against host Brandeis in the tournament’s championship game, where the Pride fell to the Judges 50-38. Despite 10 rebounds from senior Emily Walker and as many points for junior forward Tamara Tribble, the Pride fell short of capturing a season-opening tournament victory.
Following the invitational, the Pride returned to Blake Arena to host nationally-ranked Williams College. Although holding the Ephs to 43 points, Springfield struggled to find offense and dropped the decision 43-31. Senior Megan Biondolillo led the way for the Pride with 10 points, while being complemented by sophomore guard Andi Moschetta with eight of her own. Walker collected a season high of 12 rebounds in the game.
Against Williams, freshman Emily Taylor saw her first action as a starter for the Pride. Taylor, a local from West Springfield, Mass. picked up four points and four assists in the contest. Through three games, the first year Physical Education major has averaged 29 minutes a game, as well as 5.3 points and 2.7 assists for Springfield.
“The reason she has been starting is because of her consistency and performance,” comments Graves on her freshman guard. “She held the best player on Williams to eight points. She doubled in on every pass that came into their top player. Emily looks to score, which is one of her roles. She is the reason we beat Trinity. She shows great poise early on this season.”
Taylor is just one of seven newcomers for the Pride, who Graves will look to for early playing time, as well as the base of support for the future of the Springfield College women’s basketball program.
“In many ways, this freshman group is making a change in the right direction for our program,” said Graves. “We have another good class coming in next year. They’re young, and you have to be patient with young [players]. Most of our players are in really hard academic programs, and they’re doing well both academically [and athletically], and getting better every day. These new players are doing great for me.”
Taylor, Graves and the rest of the Pride will look to even their record at 2-2 when they open up their NEWMAC play this Wednesday at Clark University.