The women’s basketball team has now won three games in a row, with only one loss this season. The latest was a 48-43 conference win over Wellesley College on Wednesday night, which the Lions also beat last year as one of their three conference wins. At 4-1, coach Bill Gould said his team has found success in a balanced team dynamic.
“We’re heading in the right direction; we have good depth and good balance, outside and inside,” said Gould. “We always need to get better at a lot of areas, but I feel pretty good about what we’re doing.”
The Lions, who were 3-3 at this point last year, have one player averaging double digit points in freshman guard Eastin Ashby. Four other players are averaging between six and nine points per game. Their team assists, field goal percentage, and points per game are all up significantly from last year.
Trip to U.S. Virgin Islands
The women’s basketball team will leave for St. Thomas, one of the U.S. Virgin Islands, on Dec. 17 on a self-funded trip for some national competition and, potentially, volunteer work.
While there, the Lions will play in a non-conference tournament against two teams, Randolph-Macon College and Virginia Wesleyan College, on Dec. 18 and Dec. 19, respectively.
“Three out of my four years at Emerson, we have done some kind of trip,” said Kristin Brice, a senior forward. “Sophomore year, we went to Los Angeles, which the school helped organize to visit the Emerson LA program. So last year, coach Gould was sort of just brainstorming a new kind of trip with new playing competition.”
Gould said he sees the trip as an opportunity for his team to get out of its comfort zone.
“The company that sets up the tournament sent out an invitation to a bunch of different teams asking if anyone was interested, and they set everything up,” Gould said. “I talked to our team about it last year, asked them if they were interested, and they said yes.”
The team is raising money to offset trip costs using the higher education crowdfunding site Useed. As of press time, it has raised $4,255 of its $6,500 goal. The fundraising page lists the team’s total budget for the trip as $20,725.
“They knew this was going to be a self-funded tournament,” Gould said, “and they’ve done a great job [fundraising].”
Players also intend to do some community service, said senior forward Macy Day, but haven’t decided on any specific plans yet.
“We are hoping to volunteer at a local school and work with children who live on the island,” said Day, a marketing communication major. “The plan is to teach them a little bit about the game, shooting, passing, and working together on the court.”
Gould said he is excited for the competition, the prospect of doing volunteer work, and a chance for his team to relax with no classes in session.
“It gives them a good opportunity to hang out and bond together when they don’t have to worry about other stuff,” Gould said. “And I won’t lie—it’s nice to head to the 80 degree weather in December.”
The Lions’ matchup against Wellesley on Wednesday was an outlier on their schedule for being in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference so early in the season. The team has three non-conference games left this year—in the Virgin Islands tournament—and won’t pick up NEWMAC play again until a Jan. 3 matchup against Clark University.
From there, the Lions will play eight conference games in a row, a stretch that Gould said will define their season.
“If we want to end the season having made the conference playoffs with a good seeding,” Gould said, “then those are the games that we need to win.”
The Lions’ next opponent will be Lasell College on Dec. 6.