Women's basketball #2 seed for NESCACs
The Colby women’s basketball team closed out its regular season this weekend with away wins over Wesleyan University and Connecticut College. As a result, the Mules earned themselves the number-two seed in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) playoffs for the second year in a row.
Riding a wave of momentum after two impressive wins over Bridgewater State University and Williams College, the women dismantled Wesleyan on Friday night to the tune of a 67-49 defeat. Rachael Mack ’12 led the charge with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Senior standout Jules Kowalski contributed 11 points and grabbed six boards. The 11 points put her within one point of the 1,000-point career scoring milestone. Aarika Ritchie ’12, Jil Vaughan ’12 and Diana Manduca ’13 all had a significant impact on the scoring, finishing with 13, nine and seven points, respectively.
The Mules’ win was due in large part to their suffocating defense: Wesleyan made just 19 of 54 shots from the field, good for an inefficient shooting percentage of just 35 percent. Colby, conversely, was very strong from the floor, managing an excellent 52 percent. Ritchie’s perfect performance from the free-throw line set the tone for the Mules, as the team finished shooting an excellent 13-16 from the line. The victory brought Colby’s win total up to 19 for the season, with six coming in conference games. The Mules also were given a chance to clinch the second seed with a win over Saturday’s opponent, Connecticut College.
Colby put a dominating finishing touch on its season in the finale, nearly doubling the Camels’ score, 67-36. Kowalski eclipsed the 1,000-point career mark in the first half, putting her in select company as one of only 14 Colby women to have achieved the feat. She also shagged 10 rebounds, recording her eighth double-double of the season. Manduca was the leading scorer with 17 points. All 11 players received playing time in the blowout. First-year Gabe Donahue identified unified play as a critical factor in the team’s past and future successes: “This weekend was huge. Ending the season at 20-4 and clinching the second seed for NESCACs gives us great momentum heading into playoffs. We have been playing great team basketball lately, and that's what we'll need to make a deep run into the playoffs.”
A date with seventh-seeded Middlebury College looms large for the team this Saturday at 3 p.m. in the Alfond Athletic Center. The Mules have reason to be confident, however, having toppled the Panthers earlier in the month, 81-60. The players hope to replicate the balanced attack on offense that led them to victory during the first matchup.