Women's Basketball: Goodbye Bantams; bring on Bowdoin
After defeating Wesleyan University on Feb. 13 to clinch a spot in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) playoffs, the women's basketball team advanced to the postseason with an unwavering attitude. Hosting the Trinity College Bantams at home in Wadsworth Gymnasium, the Mules put together an unyielding combination of offense and defense to seal their quarterfinal victory with a winning score of 65-57.
With an overall record of 22-3 during the 2009-2010 season, the women move into the NESCAC Final Four with confidence. Although Trinity kept the match close with only a three-point deficit at the intermission, the Mules pulled away soon after the whistle beginning the second half. Going on a 9-2 run, the Colby women raised the score to 52-40 in their favor. Leading by as many as 15 points late in the game, the women's outstanding free throw shooting was certainly a key component in the Mules' victory. Shooting a NESCAC-best 76 percent at the line for the season, the women were able to hold off a last-minute push made by the Bantams as the Mules converted on 22 out of 26 attempts.
Controlling the free throw line was sophomore Aarika Ritchie who went eight for 10 from the charity stripe. In addition, Ritchie converted on five of eight field goal attempts to lead the team with 19 points. Head coach Lori Gear McBride praised, "Aarika Ritchie was just outstanding this afternoon. She has quietly become an impact player in our league and she could not have picked a better game to show everything she is capable of."
Important contributions came all around as the Mules prevailed on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court. Senior captain Alison Cappelloni kept the Bantams on their toes with 12 points, six rebounds and three assists while fellow captain Samantha Allen '10 came through with 9 points on three-for-six shooting from behind the arc. Rachel Mack '12 contributed an additional eight points and six rebounds for the Mules while sophomore teammate Jil Vaughan gave the team an extra boost with five points and a team-high seven rebounds.
"There aren't typically any easy games when you reach the postseason and Trinity certainly did not play like a seventh seed," Gear McBride said. "They were well-prepared and up for the challenge. We are excited to extend our season and look forward to an exciting week of preparation."
Up next, the women will battle against fifth-seeded Bowdoin College on Saturday in pursuit of the NESCAC championship title. In the other half of the playoff bracket, first-seeded Amherst College will compete against sixth-seeded Bates College on the same day. With the winners meeting on Sunday, Feb. 28th, the Mules' fate will be sealed within a week, and hopefully a championship will be the conclusion of a stellar season.