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Women’s basketball dominates against Johnson and Wales

By Curtis Zunyu He

Section: Sports

January 19, 2015

Carrying the momentum of the two-game winning streak and a 5-1 record, the women’s basketball team went back into action on Saturday, Dec. 6, dominating against Johnson & Wales University with a 73-56 win. The Judges led the whole game, with 10 of 11 players seeing the court scoring points. Their record improved 6-1, their best start since the 2008-09 season, while Johnson & Wales fell to a 3-3 record.

“After advancing to a 6-1 record our team spirit is pretty good,” said Hannah Cain ’16 who scored 13 points and a game-high five steals in the victory. Confidence was flowing when the Judges came out with a quick start, a 10-0 run at the beginning of the game. The team’s top scorer Niki Laskaris ’16 was unstoppable with 11 early points in the first half with three of four from downtown. Her high efficiency along with the intensity of defense coming from Cain ’16 boosted the team over Johnson & Wales for the first half, leading 34 to 23. Three of Cain’s five steals were achieved during the first 20 minutes. “Defensively we always want to really pressure our opponents and make them uncomfortable. When all five of us are really pressuring the other team, then it forces them to make difficult passes,” Cain commented. She also shared some tips about her success in forcing the turnovers. “Our coaches have been emphasizing to play off intuition; they don’t want us second-guessing ourselves. So when I feel like I should jump a passing lane, I jump it.”

However, with the same amount of steals as the opponent, the Judges only managed to capitalize with eight points off Johnson & Wales’ turnovers, compared to 17 in the opponent’s pocket. “A portion of our turnovers come from the pace of our game because we play a very up-tempo game … which I think comes down to us making poor decisions with passing” said Cain. “We put an emphasis on taking care of the ball during practice and that translates to games. We really focus on being strong with the ball and making good passes.” Cain’s statements shows the team’s positivity in dealing with this loophole on the offensive end.

More positivity could be seen from the defensive end as the Judges out-rebounded the overall taller opponent with 42 boards to 35. And although 14 offensive rebounds were collected by Johnson & Wales, only four second-chance points were snatched by the opponent under the pressure of the defense in the Judges’ paint. “No matter the height of our opponents, we’re expected to do the same thing—when a shot goes up, find a body, box out and drive them back,” said Cain. Sydney Sodine ’17 was one of the best warriors that fulfilled this mission as she seized a game-high five offensive rebounds which earned more precious offensive chances for the team.

Center Olivia Shaw ’18 contributed 12 points with one three-pointer, showing her versatility. Six players in total were granted the chance to improve themselves through the match and hopefully their contribution to the team will add up with their experience in the future.

Hannah Cain stood for the team’s competitive intensity. “None of us ever really get too hung up on our record. Whether we win or lose we play the same way, practice the same way, carry ourselves the same way.” As Cain and the team are looking to continue the winning momentum, she also shared her own expectation for the new season, “In the short term our goal is to get better each day … In the long run, our goal is to win every single game the rest of the season and to make the NCAA tournament.”

The women’s basketball team went 2-3 over the break with wins against Gordon and Endicott. The men’s basketball team went 5-2 over the break, improving their record to 6-6 on the season. The men’s team finished the break with wins over Tufts, Amherst, Roger Williams, Curry and NYU. Both teams are back in action this Friday at Carnegie Mellon, with the women tipping off at 6 p.m. and the men at 8 p.m.

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