With only a few University Athletic Association games remaining, the playoffs are still a distant thought for the UR women’s basketball team.
‘We are not even thinking about potential postseason opportunities yet as we still have three tough games to go,” head coach Jim Scheible said.
The women turned in dominating performances over the weekend, beating two UAA foes and gaining confidence going into the final games of the year. In the first game on Friday night, the Yellowjackets cruised to an easy, 72-56, victory over Case Western Reserve University. Junior guard Melissa Alwardt gave UR its spark on Friday, scoring 18 points, grabbing nine rebounds and recording two steals. Sophomore center Jodie Luther and freshman center Amy Woods also chipped in 13 points each in the win.
Friday’s game against Case Western was UR’s first road win since beating New York University on Jan. 24.
‘This past weekend we came out and competed really hard against both teams,” Alwardt said. ‘We knew that both games were important if we wanted to make the postseason since we do not have a lot of road wins this season.”
Hot off her impressive performance on Friday, Alwardt took control of the offense on Sunday against Carnegie Mellon University, scoring a team-high 15 points and nine rebounds.
The Yellowjackets would go on to hold off a resilient CMU offense to win the game, 55-49.
‘This weekend was a good weekend for us because we finally won two tough games on the road,” senior guard Jessica Mastronardi said. ‘We hadn’t really played really well on the road yet, and we had two gutsy efforts despite some injuries and illnesses.”
The next three games are crucial for the Yellowjackets as they position themselves for the NCAA tournament.
‘We only have three games left, but each one is important if we want to make the NCAA tournament, so we are going to need complete focus by every player to pull out three wins,” Alwardt said.
The women sit at third in the UAA standings and will need to do well in the upcoming games to stay alive in a competitive conference.
‘For the rest of the season we really have to keep up our intensity on defense, because we are realizing that it really fuels our offense,” Mastronardi said. ‘If we win these next three games we will put ourselves in a pretty good position to make NCAAs.”
The Yellowjackets have had success in the postseason the last couple years they made it into the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament each of the last two seasons.
‘The postseason is different from league play because the teams do not know as much about you and the pressure of win-or-go-home is hard to deal with,” Alwardt said. ‘But we have done well the past two years, and there is no doubt in my mind we can do well in the tourney again.”
Manrique is a member of the class of 2012.