Women’s basketball: Even NEWMAC record as break nears

by Matt Case / Beacon Staff • December 7, 2016

Emerson’s women’s basketball team is off to a mixed start after their first six games.

In their season opener against Western New England on Nov. 17, the Lions put up 35 first half points and were down by three after two quarters. But in the second half, they managed only 20 points while the Golden Bears scored 23 in the fourth, and won 70-55. In her new starting role, sophomore forward Charlie Boyle scored a team high 14, and freshman guard Quinn Madden, in her first collegiate game, pumped in a trio of shots from beyond the arc.

That weekend, Emerson hosted its annual four-team Tip Off Tournament from the Bobbi Brown and Steven Plofker Gym. On Saturday, the team put up 26 first quarter points against Simmons, but managed only 11 in the second, and trailed by one at the break. But then, a 40-29 tally in the second half gave Emerson the 77-67 victory and a spot in the tourney final. Junior forward Sierra Ducey put up 16 points, hauled in 18 boards, and added five assists, three steals, and three blocks.    

The next day, 10 ties and 18 lead changes made for a back-and-forth game between Emerson and Wesleyan. Ducey once again came alive and scored 10 third quarter points. She earned a game-high 19 on 8-of-14 shooting, and the Lions eventually came out on top, 57-53. The victory gave them their first Tip Off Tournament title in three years.

The women had 10 days off for Thanksgiving. In their first game back on Nov. 30, they took on MIT in their first NEWMAC action. They were ousted by the Engineers on the road 70-45, shooting 25 percent and making only one three on 14 attempts.

But the Lions came back three days later, shooting 48 percent and firing in 11 three-pointers for an 82-63 win over Clark, their first NEWMAC victory of the season. Ten of Boyle’s 20 points came in the third period, and she added 12 rebounds. Senior guard Elizabeth Horan, junior guard Eastin Ashby, and sophomore guard Natalie Busch all reached double digit points. The Lions are now 3-0 at home.

On Tuesday, Emerson grabbed its first road win, defeating nonconference opponent Connecticut College 63-57. The squad scored only 17 total points in the first half, losing by three, but turned the contest around with 33 points in the third quarter, and then held off a fourth quarter push by the Camels to win 63-57. Boyle went 10-of-13 for her second 20-point performance of the season, finishing with 21. Junior guard Maya Savino added 13 points with three perimeter shots in 38 minutes of play.

Though it is still early in the 2016-17 season, the Lions’ 1-1 conference and 4-2 overall record puts them in sixth in the NEWMAC standings. Of the 11 conference teams, Emerson is the fifth lowest scoring team and the third highest fouling team. But they also have the third most three-pointers, the fourth highest percentage from outside, and the third most assists.

Boyle is currently the only Lion averaging over 10 points per game. Her 13 per contest is tied for the seventh most in the NEWMAC, her 52 percent shooting is good for sixth, and she has made the fourth most field goals. Busch is ranked sixth with her 46 percent three-point percentage, and Savino is ninth with 44 percent. Busch has also yet to miss a free throw; she’s 6-for-6. Ducey is currently seventh with over seven rebounds per game, and is tied for sixth with 3.8 assists.

On defense, Ashby has the fourth most steals, and Boyle and Ducey are tied for ninth with nearly one block per game.   

Emerson takes on Gordon (3-4) tonight at 5:30 p.m. in Wenham, Massachusetts.