BY TIM NOONAN // Feb. 19 2017 //
In their regular season finale, the Curry Colonels women’s basketball team hosted the Eastern Nazarene Lions and fell short 30 points.
Early on Curry was even with the Lions who were playing a tough man to man defense that gave the Colonels little breathing room. Despite this Curry was never behind more than single digits in the first half.
Sophomore Emily Irwin showed her slashing ability and converted multiple layups to pace Curry. At the end of the first quarter, Curry trailed Nazarene 14-9. However, the second quarter brought new life to the Colonels as freshman Paige Senatore drained a three from the corner to cut the deficit to 14-12.
Both teams traded buckets over the next few minutes but then on one of the nicer plays of the day, freshman Sam Bamford dropped a dime to Emily Irwin who put the ball off the glass for two more which made the lead 20-15 Nazarene. Emily Irwin fell hard and needed to be taken out of the game and freshman Erica Ulrich entered and calmly made two free throws to give the Colonels the edge 21-20. Irwin returned to the game again and converted an offensive rebound off of her own miss for two to give Curry the 25-20 lead at halftime.
The third quarter was a different story entirely. Eastern Nazarene looked more confident shooting the ball as Jacquelin Arretche converted a deep three-pointer which set the tone for the rest of the game. The lions outscored the Colonels 18-8 in the quarter.
As the fourth quarter began it was clear the Lions had more confidence and momentum as they made three out of four 3-point attempts and grabbed many offensive rebounds to dominate the time of possession. On the other end, the Colonels sloppy play led to turnover after turnover and Curry had no rhythm at all. Every loose ball ended up in the Lions hands who took advantage of the miscues. Nazarene outscored Curry 27-2 in the 4th quarter.
Nazarene was led in scoring by juniors Jaysa Cooper and Shelby Holmes who each had 14. The leading scorer for the Colonels was sophomore Emily Irwin with 19. Freshman point guard Sam Bamford showed a lot of hustle and grit as she stripped her opponent from behind on defense and dove on the floor for the loose ball before passing it to a teammate. Bamford’s quick hands and ability to get into the lane proved vital to the Colonels and caused problems for the Lions at times. She finished the contest with 4 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals showing promise for the future.
Facing a largely negative vibe after the loss, Curry assistant coach Stacey Cotter gave her opinion. “We didn’t play defense, you can’t give up 65 points and win a game. The first half was fine, the second half we lost the game.”
As the last home game before the conference tournament, the Colonels commemorated their lone senior, Amanda Gresian, who has been a member of the Curry basketball program the past four years.
“It was very overwhelming because I was the only senior and I am going to miss the program,” says Gresian. “I miss all the girls but I’m glad that I stuck with it the four years and I’m glad that I played with the teammates I did.” Gresian contributed 2 points, 1 rebound and a steal in 13 minutes of playing time.
The Colonels will now shift their attention to the Commonwealth Coast Conference tournament. Gresian added, “It was a rough game today but we’re gonna take that game and push it towards Tuesday’s game, we’re gonna come out strong.”