Winter sports update: Men’s and women’s basketball chug along, milestones, and more


Sydney Ciardi

The women’s basketball team is 7-12 this season.

By Leo Kagan, Assistant Sports Editor

While the majority of Emerson’s student body wasn’t strolling on campus for the entirety of the winter holiday break, a few athletes stayed behind, continuing their seasons even in the absence of their peers. 

As the rest of us resettle into dorms and apartments that feel much colder than we remember them, let’s take a look at what we missed from our Lions while we were away. 

Search for new Athletic Director continues

Athletic Director Pat Nicol announced her retirement in October, scheduling her final day at the head of the college’s Athletics Department for Feb. 1. Though Nicol’s retirement is less than a week away, the department has yet to announce the next full-time director—though Stanford Nance, the senior associate director of athletics for external affairs who has been with the college for over a decade, has been named interim director. 

In Nicol’s nine years at the helm, Emerson athletics flourished, with impressive accomplishments made by student athletes on the field and in the classroom. She will end her tenure on a high note after a historic fall season that saw all three teams—women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer—qualify for the NEWMAC postseason. Men’s and women’s soccer each made the conference finals and women’s soccer even brought home a conference championship. 

The Beacon was unable to get a comment from the Athletic Department on the status of the search for Nicol’s replacement. 

Women’s basketball rebounds, collects first conference win

Before classes ended on Dec. 16, the women’s basketball team put together a 3-7 record. Then the Lions traveled to Puerto Rico, where despite losing to both Edgewood and Greensboro, Head Coach Bill Gould said the team started to turn things around. 

“We just played well,” he said. “Edgewood is a very good basketball team, and we lost, but we hung with them for most of the game. I think the kids felt good about how they played—the score was not indicative [of their performance].”

Since returning to the Boston campus, the Lions have gone 3-2, winning three straight games on the road. One of those games was a 69-47 win over NEWMAC rival Mount Holyoke, a victory Gould described as “hugely important.” 

“Mount Holyoke is not the strongest in our league,” he said. “But you still have to win that game because if you lose, you’re in trouble. Every single game gets you one step closer to making the conference playoffs.”

With just six regular season contests to go, the Lions will be ramping up their play to win as many of their remaining conference matchups as they can. The team hopes to make the NEWMAC postseason, where Gould believes the squad has a fighting chance. 

“It’s that old cliché,” he said. “Take your chances, do the best you can, and anything can happen. But you’ve got to get there first.”

Men’s basketball continues at steady pace in preparation for playoffs

Over the break and in the games since classes started up again, the men’s basketball team has been operating evenly, going 7-5 since Dec. 9. 

But more importantly, the club has won six of its eight conference games in that time, putting them just behind the undefeated WPI in the NEWMAC standings. Head Coach Bill Curley said this aligns well with the team’s goals. 

“[We want] to win every game,” he said. “But ultimately, [we’re trying to] prepare for the NEWMAC and the NCAA tournament. It’s about winning and preparing and getting better every game.”

Curley believes the team’s success has picked up alongside their coordination and attention to detail off the ball. 

“They’re starting to play together,” he said. “Early in the year, whether their guy had the ball or didn’t have the ball, they would just stand around and watch. Now they understand where they’re supposed to be and they’re working together and move with a purpose. They’re playing without the ball now.”

Though the team has performed well of late, Curley knows the season is far from over. For the Lions, hitting a high point as the playoffs begin will be ideal. 

“We’re not there yet,” he said. “There’s a lot of season left, and we’ve been in all these games, but we’re still striving and hoping we’ll peak at the right time.”

Milestones for men’s basketball players

In early January, within a week of each other, two men’s basketball players hit major career milestones. On Jan. 4, graduate guard Sean Coman collected his 1000th point and on Jan. 11, graduate center Jarred Houston recorded his 1000th rebound. 

Houston recorded his own 1000th point in February 2022—his 1000th rebound is just another milestone in a line of them. But Houston isn’t as concerned with individual accomplishments: he says his greatest accomplishments as a Lion are those he shares with his teammates. 

“When you look back on all the great success people have individually, none of that stuff really matters if the team isn’t doing well,” Houston said. “[I’m proud of] making the NCAA Tournament twice in my three seasons of play.”

Jordan Pagkalinawan and Jason Tulchin contributed reporting to this story.