The women’s basketball team continued their impressive start to the season on Tuesday, conquering Elmira College, 77-51, and advancing their record to 4-1.

“Our goals against Elmira were to attack them for 40 minutes and just play hard and together for the whole time,” head coach Jim Scheible said.

The ladies took the floor ready to compete. Led by the successful shooting of junior guard Helen Baroody and junior center Julie Marriott, and superb defense down the court by junior forward Alex Porter, the team took charge of the Palestra early.

“Elmira was an active team that really looks to pressure you the whole game and we had to come in ready to match their pressure. I think that is exactly what we did,” senior forward Jes Waddell said.

At halftime, the women hit the locker room with a 19-point lead and did not let down their forces in the second half.

“We came out and not only handled their defense but took them out of their comfort zone on offense,” Waddell said.

Porter closed out the game with 14 points and seven rebounds, and Marriott followed in suit scoring 14 points with four assists, while Baroody led the team in scoring with 15.

The Yellowjackets capitalized on opportunities throughout the game, shooting 50 percent from the field and scoring 36 points off of turnovers.

In their previous game, the ‘Jackets were commanding once again, overshadowing Ithaca College and coming away with a 77-49 win.

Porter led the team in scoring with a striking 17 points and nine rebounds, and Baroody continued executing well on offense, sinking 13 points.

Scheible is thrilled about the strong start and attributes it to the powerful dynamic of the team, made up of a group of strong returnees – Marriott, Porter, Baroody and Waddell – and eager freshmen ready to step up on the college court – forward Caroline Bernal-Silva, guard Melissa Alwardt and forward Courtney Donovan.

“We have very good depth and great practices because of it,” he said. “We are able to keep coming at teams with talented players off the bench. We have some very talented freshmen as well – Bernal-Silva and Alwardt have been impact players at the guard spot and Donovan has impacted us as a post player.”

Waddell described how the team’s loss in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament last season, in addition to the loss of five key players to graduation, motivated the team’s drive to work extra hard this year.

“After our lost in the tournament last season we knew we would be coming back to this season without four emotional leaders, not to mention excellent basketball players,” she said. “So we knew that along with usual off season workouts and lifting we knew that some people would have to step up in leadership positions because those seniors weren’t there anymore.”

The team has also adapted a new offense to accommodate the new players’ strengths.

“We have a new motion offense this year and it seems to be working really well with the personnel that we have on the court. We really pride ourselves in playing together and I feel that is exactly what we’ve done in the beginning of our season,” Waddell said.

The team has set a high standard for themselves this season, playing with the UAA and national championships in mind and in reach.

“We would like to be able to compete for the UAA Championship and have a chance to compete for the national championship,” Scheible said. “Those are consistently our team goals every year. As we compete for them, however, we want to make sure that we have fun in the process. Note we have had two tough injuries to date (sophomore Jess Mastronardi and freshman point guard Allison Reiman) but we have a very tough and talented team that will find a way to overcome these injuries.”

The women embark on a three-game road trip starting with their game next Tuesday, they travel to William Smith College to take on the undefeated Herons. For future home games, Scheible hopes that Yellowjacket fans will come out in numbers to support the successful squad.

“We really appreciate when we get our students to turn out at the games,” he said. “It makes the atmosphere that much more exciting for our players.”

Paret is a member of the class of 2008.

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