Women’s basketball clinches NEWMAC playoff spot

Emerson+beat+Wheaton+to+clinch+a+playoff+berth+Wednesday+night.+Photo%3A+Kyle+Bray%2FBeacon+Staff

Emerson beat Wheaton to clinch a playoff berth Wednesday night. Photo: Kyle Bray/Beacon Staff

By Matt Couture

Emerson’s women’s basketball team celebrated Valentine’s Day with a playoff-clinching win over Wheaton College.

The 75-50 victory secured the women’s basketball team’s first playoff berth since 2015, when the Lions lost to Wheaton in the quarterfinals. The team is the first to clinch a playoff spot in the 2017-2018 season for Emerson athletics.

Head coach Bill Gould said he’s focused on his team’s play and not worried about which opponent the Lions draw.

“It’s more about how we play and what we’re doing,” Gould said. “Obviously there’s some matchups that maybe we would prefer over another, but overall it doesn’t matter who we play … if we play well then we’ll give ourselves a chance to win.”

Emerson occupies the sixth seed in the NEWMAC standings, and would play third-seeded Worcester Polytechnic Institute if the standings hold. The Lions are set to meet the Engineers in their regular season finale on Saturday.

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There is room for movement in the standings, with Babson College (13-3), Smith College (12-3), WPI (12-3), and Springfield College (11-4) competing for the top slots in the bracket.

Emerson beat Smith 83-76 on Jan. 6 at home before losing 65-50 to the Pioneers on the road earlier this month. Babson beat the Lions 78-48 in Boston in January, and Springfield is 2-0 against Emerson on the season.

The NEWMAC quarterfinal games are scheduled for next Wednesday, Feb. 21.