Women’s hoops suffers 2 defeats

Women’s basketball (5-11, 0-2 in the NESCAC) had a tough weekend, falling to Tufts (11-1, 2-0 in the NESCAC) with a score of 83-62, then Bates (14-4, 2-0 in the NESCAC) 90-67 the following day. The two losses mark a tough beginning of conference play for the Ephs.

The second game of the weekend looked to be better for the women, as the team had defeated Bates earlier in the season 84-63 in the Williams Winter Classic. However, Williams was unable to repeat its strong performance and lost the second game of the weekend by more than 20 points. The Bobcats led 55-22 at the half and, despite a strong second-half performance, the Ephs were never able to close the gap before the game ended 90-67. Jess Harris ’11 again led the team with 18 points and seven boards. Competitive scorers Taylor Shea ’11 and co-captain Mika Peterman ’09 had 13 points apiece.

In Friday’s game against the nationally ranked Jumbos, the Ephs had to do without three of their regular starters. The Jumbos led the entire game and shot an impressive 51.5 percent from the floor before closing the game at 83-62. Harris and Shea contributed double-doubles, posting 16 points and 15 rebounds and 11 points and 12 rebounds, respectively. Peterman also chipped in with 14 points. Although the over 20-point margin would suggest that Tufts had no issue dominating Williams, Head Coach Pat Manning said that the score did not reflect the team’s performance. “[This game] was one of our best efforts in the past two weeks,” he said.

The team suffered a string of losses in November, but performed well after the holidays, taking second in the Santa Barbara tournament and winning the Williams Winter Classic on Jan. 4 with its victory over Bates. Since that win over the Bobcats, however, the team has lost five straight, dropping its record to 5-11. Williams also dropped a game 76-46 to archrival Amherst at home on Jan. 10.

“This is one of the toughest schedules we’ve ever played,” Manning said. “Our team is still young, still learning the college game, and we’ve had to face a lot of experienced teams. Losing to these non-league opponents we usually beat means that since November, we’ve been playing catch-up.”

On the relatively young Eph squad, the most experienced player is Peterman, a former All NESCAC guard who is averaging 16.4 points per game. “Mika has been having a great year,” Manning said. “She’s been very steady and consistent for us.” Following a strong performance in the Winter Classic, Peterman was named NESCAC Player of the Week on Jan. 5.

First-year Jill Greenberg ’12 is a dynamic player who has been the team’s other starting guard alongside Peterman throughout the season. Other first-years have also been key contributors to the team, including forward and rebounding machine Lisa Jaris ’12 and lightning-quick guard Kelsey Ham ’12.

Jaris shares time at forward with Harris as well as outside shooter Chessie Jackson ’11. Shea, another guard/forward who was one of the team’s leading scorers last year, was out for the beginning of the season, but she has recently returned to the rotation.

The squad, according to Manning, has performed well at certain moments of the last few games, but has struggled to maintain the same high level throughout an entire game. “If we could play 40 minutes of consistent basketball, we could beat anyone,” Manning said. “There’s a huge difference between high school ball and college play.”
The players remain positive as well.

“It’s frustrating, but we do know what we’re capable of,” Ham said. “We know from our [first] win against Bates what we can do. We just have to pull everything together.”
The women are home this weekend with two NESCAC games, facing Little Three rival Wesleyan on Friday and Conn. College on Saturday.