Heise: Basketball is back, finally!

The last few months have been extremely busy with conditioning workouts, lifting, basketball practices and of course: classes.

We added three tremendous new players to our program, Isabel Hernandez Pepe from Italy, Maddy McVicar from Calais, Maine and Tanesha Sutton from Philadelphia. All three of them are already making a difference in our team. Unfortunately Tanesha is a transfer from Duquesne University, which means she won’t be eligible for this season. Nevertheless the work ethic and intensity she brings to every practice helps us immensely.

Besides the three new players, we also have two new faces on the coaching staff. Edniesha Curry and Mallory Benard are helping us to get closer to our goals every single day. While Coach Eddy is mainly focused on skill work, Coach Mal makes sure we are one of the fastest and strongest teams in the America East — and the team with the best running mechanics.

After a long preseason, Friday couldn’t come fast enough. It felt like an eternity since we had our last game and everybody in our team was literally counting down the hours until it was finally time to kick off the new season.

We left campus on Friday around 1 p.m. to make our way down to University of Southern Maine in Gorham, where we would face Vanguard University.

We arrived two hours before tip-off, which allowed us to have a shoot-around before the actual warm-up was about to start. We used the time to go over their plays again and refreshed our memories in how we planned to defend all their sets, before going over our own plays one last time.

Before every game Coach Barron gives us a few key points that are going to be essential for the game. In Vanguard’s case those key points were boxing out, not allowing second-chance points and defending the ball screens well.

All in all I would say we did well on the ball screens, but we could have done a much better stop controlling the boards. We gave up way too many offensive rebounds.

We started into the game with a 7-2 run and came out with a lot of energy, something we talked about over and over in practice. Liz Wood scored the first three points to officially start the new season.

We went into halftime with a score of 29-16. Sigi Koizar, who scored 16 out of her 21 points in the second quarter, paced the team. Let that sink in — 16 points in 10 minutes. Amazing, isn’t it?

The third quarter was probably when we played some of our best basketball and outscored Vanguard 23-12. We were up by as much as 23 points.

Vanguard is an extremely good team that never stopped fighting and cut our advantage down to eight late in the fourth quarter. Luckily, Sheraton Jones stepped up with scoring five  straight points and sealed the 70-55 victory.

We still have a lot to work on, but it felt great to start the season off with a win. Our next game is scheduled on Sunday against Stonehill, before we start our non-conference schedule on Nov.13 against Harvard.

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