The women’s basketball team did something they haven’t done in eight years this past weekend ? they put together back-to-back wins in a weekend of University Athletic Association competition.
Ranked No. 23 in the country by the latest d3hoops.com national poll, UR opened up UAA competition in style in the Louis Alexander Palestra with a 55-53 win over Carnegie Mellon University Saturday afternoon.
UR brought their UAA record to 2-0 with a resounding 84-66 win over the visiting Eagles of Emory University in a matinee performance Monday .
The win against Emory brings UR’s overall record to 5-1 while halting a nine game losing streak against the Eagles that dates back almost five years.
The last time UR defeated Emory was Jan. 9, 1997, at UR.
After trailing for most of the opening 13 minutes of the first half, senior guard and co-captain Jen LaBuda hit a three to give the Yellowjackets a 27-25 lead, and UR never looked back.
By halftime, UR was up 42-32. Four minutes into the second half, they had secured a double-digit lead for good.
LaBuda led UR in scoring with 19 points, while sophomore forward Tanika Murphy had 12 points to go with eight rebounds and freshman forward Kelly Wescott had 10 to go with six boards.
In sum, 13 players scored for UR, with half of the team’s points coming from the bench.
“Our depth is definitely a strength,” head coach Jim Scheible said. “We [also] have great defensive ability ? we feel we can defend at a high level, and defense has been what’s won us a lot of early season games.”
While strong defense may be one of the team’s best assets, rebounding was what won them their UAA opener against CMU. Friday Dec. 1. Up 53-42 with 9:08 left in the game, UR allowed the Tartans to mount an 11-1 run that brought them within 54-53 with 2:19 to go.
UR got critical rebounds from Wescott and sophomore forward Shannon Higgins in the final seven seconds of the game to preserve the win after an onslaught of missed free throws.
Wescott recorded her first double-double of her college career with 10 points and 10 rebounds while sophomore guard and co-captain Tara Carrozza had 11 points to compliment her fellow captain’s 10.
“We played well at times, but we need to learn to play consistently for 40 minutes,” LaBuda said. “This was a great way to start the season. We’ve gotten some wins at home, but we have to learn to play well on the road too.”
Indeed, the difficulties of playing on the road came through last Wednesday, Nov. 28, as Hartwick College handed UR its first and only loss of the season in Oneonta.
The 57-50 loss broke a six-game winning streak for the Yellowjackets that dated back to the end of last season.
The unranked Hawks upset UR despite 11 points from Wescott and 10 from sophomore center Katie Harrington.
“Hartwick played a very good game against us,” Scheible said. “We lost to a good team on their home court.”
Scheible has been particularly impressed with the recent play of LaBuda and Wescott, as well as the leadership of Carrozza, who has “picked the team up and carried us at time.”
Heading into their final two games before New Year’s, Scheible is looking for his team to step up their offensive execution as they travel to Elmira College this Saturday, Dec. 8. The women will then host Buffalo State College Tuesday, Dec. 11.
“We’re still a young team,” Scheible said. “The next step is to improve our offensive execution and start shooting the ball better. You can tell that these players really like playing together, so they’ll work to get better together.”
Seferiadis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.