Women’s basketball’s season got underway at the Emerson Tip-Off Tournament in Boston, Mass., followed by one home game on Tuesday, Nov. 22, a game against Drew University on Nov. 27, and a game on Tuesday, Nov. 29 at Manhattanville College. At Emerson, the team started off strong with a 59-54 win against Suffolk University, but later fell to Emerson 57-53. The team also lost 56-30 against Amherst in a non-conference game. After Thanksgiving, the team lost 61-71 against Drew, and prevailed 57-50 against Manhattanville.
In the first game of their season on Saturday, Nov. 19, the team was able to establish a quick lead over Suffolk, with captain Maddie Bledsoe ’18 scoring the first basket. The Cardinals went on an 18-6 run in the first eight minutes of play. Wesleyan ended halftime with a 34-14 lead. Suffolk bounced back in the second half, entering the fourth quarter trailing Wesleyan by 4 points. The Rams closed the game well and forced an overtime, but Wesleyan held on, ending the game with a 59-54 win.
The Cards’ top scorers for the game were Maeve Vitale ’18 with 14 points, and captain Danielle Gervacio ’17 with 13 points. Another highlight for the team was their free throws, ending the game with 13 of 16 successful ones.
The next day, the Cards returned to play Emerson in a close game. The first half was hopeful for the Cards, with the Red and Black leading at the end of the first quarter 10-6, thanks to free throws by Gervacio and a three-pointer by Olivia Gorman ’19. However, the Lions were able to catch up in the second quarter and secure a 26-24 lead at the end of the first half.
After three-pointers from Vitale and a basket from Gervacio, the Cards led in the second half by a score of 35-28. However, the Cards were unable to maintain their advantage, eventually losing to the Lions by four, 57-53. The Cards’ top scorer was Gorman, with 11 points. Despite the loss, Wesleyan forced 21 turnovers in the contest, tallying 17 points from these extra possessions.
Despite their losses at the tournament, two Wesleyan players made the All-Tournament Team: Gervacio and Vitale.
On Tuesday, Wesleyan hosted Amherst in a non-conference game at 7 p.m. Amherst opened a wide lead in the first half, and when the clock hit zero, the score was 36-11 in favor of the visiting team. Though the Cardinals outscored Amherst in the second half, 20-19, the deficit was far too large to overcome, and the Cards ultimately fell 56 to 30 to their mascot-less opposition.
Chynna Bailey ’19 led the Cards in this game with five rebounds and three assists. The top scoring player was Ava Tompkins ’20, with just six points in the game.
On Sunday, Nov. 27, Gorman scored a career high 21 points, but the Cards were still unable to win. Drew established their lead early on in the game, jumping to a 14-4 lead in the first six minutes of play. Wesleyan caught up in the second quarter, thanks to a three-pointer by Vitale, ending the second half with a 31-28 lead. In the second half, Drew regained the lead, holding out and scoring 30 points to win the game 71-61.
Aside from Gorman, other strong players during the game were Tara Berger ’19 with nine rebounds and Bledsoe with six assists.
Tipping off at 6 p.m. against Manhattanville on Tuesday, Nov. 29, the Cards rallied from a first-quarter deficit. Manhattanville gained a 10-point lead within the first four minutes, but Wesleyan responded with an 11-0 run, entering halftime with a 28-16 lead. In the second half, both teams had no difficulty scoring as play went back and forth. Though the Valiants got six points within the last few seconds of the contest, the deficit was too much and the Cards held on for a 57-50 win.
The team’s top scoring player was Berger, with a season high of 21 points. Berger also grabbed nine rebounds, tying for a team high with Bailey.
The team will be back on the court on Friday, Dec. 2., hosting Worcester State University in the first day of the Courtyard Marriot Tournament. With a 2-3 record so far, the Cards are hoping to improve on their performance from last year with a quicker start.