Basketball team’s season off to sluggish start

By Malcolm Luck
Staff Writer

Coming off a second round exit to the Rochester Institute of Technology in the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Championships last season, the College got a shot at revenge, opening its 2018-2019 season against Rochester Institute of Technology on Nov. 16.

However, the Lions fell victim to the same fate, losing at home by a final score of 64-51. Junior forward Jen Byrne and senior guard Sam Famulare led the team by contributing 11 points each.

The College was no match for RIT’s defense in the first quarter. The team mustered only five points in the first 10 minutes of regulation, finding themselves down 13 points before the start of the second quarter.

In the third quarter, the Lions made a brief run to close the gap and outscore RIT 20-13. The team entered the fourth trailing by only six points. The Lions could not hold on in the final quarter, however, and ultimately dropped the first game of the season.

The team returned to the court on Nov. 20, traveling to Pomona, New Jersey to battle Stockton University in its first New Jersey Athletic Conference game. An overall dominating performance on both sides of the court yielded an 82-54 victory, putting the Lions in the win column in the team’s second game.

Bryne scores 24 points against Stockton. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

Sophomore guard Elle Cimilluca put the first points on the board with a jump shot seven seconds into the contest. A flurry of three-pointers helped the Lions pull away just a few minutes later, beginning with senior guard Kate O’Leary who was followed by Byrne and Cimilluca on three consecutive possessions.

After leaving Stockton in the dust with a 20-8 margin in the first quarter, the victory-deprived Lions slipped defensively in the second quarter, allowing 23 points, but they bounced back in the second half.

The Lions dropped 42 points while holding their opponents to just 23. In the final quarter, the squad thwarted any attempt at a miraculous comeback.

Byrne opened the fourth quarter scoring for the Lions with buckets in three successive offensive series. Junior guards Cailey Gibson and Samantha Bialoblocki added three-pointers to stretch the Lions lead with 6:55 to play. All in all, the women’s team found themselves winning by 28 behind Byrne’s 24-point performance.

The West Coast did not treat the Lions well at the David Wells Classic in Claremont, California as the team suffered losses in both of the games it played.

The first was suffered at the hands of Pomona-Pitzer, which resulted in a final score of 60-71. Eighteen points from sophomore forward Shannon Devitt were not enough, as a shaky second and third quarter proved detrimental for the College.

Entering the second quarter up by two, the Lions added points from Famulare and junior guard Lauren Barlow to grab hold of an eight-point lead. The lead was short-lived as Pomona-Pitzer came roaring back in the last half of the quarter, sinking a three-pointer with 18 seconds left of the half to put the team up by four. The third quarter was more of the same as the Lions’ opponents found themselves ahead by 13 with 2:17 left. The Lions could not find their way out of the deficit, eventually falling to a 1-2 record.

Just a day later, the women returned to the court against Claremont McKenna College and lost by a score of 52-87 on the heels of a poor performance on both sides of the court. Offensively, the Lions’ lack of ball security generated 24 points off of turnovers for Claremont McKenna. Famulare was the only Lion who scored over 10 points, contributing 11 points as her team fell to 1-3.

The Lions hope to get back on track against a familiar opponent as they travel to Glassboro, New Jersey to take on Rowan University on Wednesday,  Nov. 28. The game is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

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