The women’s basketball team kicked off the 2014-15 season this weekend in the Eastern Connecticut State Tip-Off Tournament. Wesleyan split its opening two games, dropping its first 55-37 to Framingham State University but bounced back to a decisive win over a shorthanded Newbury College Nighthawks team 72-35.
In the opening game of the tournament, the Cardinals found themselves leading for only 17 seconds throughout the entire game. Wesleyan was stifled by poor shooting, hitting a meager 22.6 percent from the field and being unable to convert any of their 19 attempts from behind the arc. Despite its inability to put the ball in the basket efficiently, Wes only trailed by seven points, following a four-point run to close out the first half.
Captain Jess Cherenza ’15, who tallied eight points and nine rebounds, described the team’s performance plainly in an email to The Argus.
“This past Saturday we failed to show up offensively,” she wrote. “We did our job on defense and worked together, holding Framingham State to a low field goal percentage.”
Despite holding Framingham State to 38.9 percent shooting, Wes was not able to turn around their offense in the second half. The Rams were able to build a comfortable double-digit lead with 15 minutes left in the second half. Wesleyan never was able to narrow the gap, losing by a game-high 18-point margin.
Captain Miller Hartsoe ’15 tried to look toward the positives of the season-opening loss.
“Obviously we’re disappointed that we lost Saturday’s game, but overall it was exciting to get back on the court and see the depth and talent we have as a team this year and to see glimpses of things to come this season,” Hartsoe wrote in an email to The Argus.
With a tilt against the Newbury College Nighthawks coming the next afternoon, a positive and optimistic outlook like this was imperative to notching the first win of the season.
“We needed to just focus on playing our own game rather than letting the opposing team control the pace of the game,” Cherenza wrote. “On Sunday we made the change and executed our offensive sets with patience and poise.”
Sunday’s game was night and day from Saturday’s. Wesleyan dominated the game with an early 12-0 run during the first six minutes of the game to jump out to a 15-4 lead. They didn’t look back from there, leading by 25 points at half and closing out the victory by 37 points. A theme of the game was Wesleyan’s ability to rebound, as the Birds owned a 47-28 margin. All 12 players that saw the court played at least 12 minutes and were able to score. While it was a team win, the Redbirds were led by forward Brenna Diggins ’17, who put up a double-double, with 15 points and 15 boards. Diggins’ dominant performance coupled with a strong 12 points and eight rebounds in the season opener placed her on the All-Tournament team.
Despite this strong second performance, with an upcoming game on Friday and Saturday, Wesleyan is already looking forward toward this weekend’s Courtyard by Marriott Tournament.
“We’ve been working very hard in practice this week and I’m confident in my teammates’ ability to carry our poise and effort into this weekend’s tournament,” wrote Diggins. “I can’t wait to play on our home court and look forward to a great tournament!”
Wesleyan’s home opener is against the same Newbury College Nighthawks that the Cardinals easily dispatched.
“This weekend we need to focus on ourselves,” Cherkira Lashley ’15 wrote in an email to The Argus. “We’ve already beaten the team we’ll play on Friday, so we need to make sure we don’t get cocky and stay focused, humble, and competitive.”