Women’s Basketball Grills the Gators

BY CHASE MARTINO // NOV. 18, 2018 // 

The Curry College women’s basketball team was very opportunistic in Thursday night’s home game versus Pine Manor. The Colonels forced 33 turnovers, and scored 41 points off of them, in a convincing 77- 53 win.

Curry dominated the whole night for its first win of the season, bringing its record to 1-2. The Colonels jumped out to a 21-8 lead after one quarter, and kept rolling the rest of the game. The Gators fell to 0-2.

“We were very aggressive in forcing mistakes and we were able to capitalize on the turnovers, which helped us get a must-needed win,” said coach Fran Elms.

Freshman Peyton Perine led Curry to its first win of the season. // COURTESY OF CURRY ATHLETICS

Peyton Perine and Emily Irwin led the way offensively, scoring 20 points and 19 points, respectively. Perine was an efficient 56 percent from the field on 9 of 16 shooting, and added 4 rebounds and 4 steals.

“I just felt like I was in a groove,” she said. “My teammates definitely helped me get so many good looks.”

The Colonels played smart basketball and worked the ball down low for a good portion of their points, scoring 34 in the paint. This, paired with the 41 points scored off turnovers, were the two biggest factors that led to the blowout win.

Curry’s Amanda Leal finished with 13 points.

Pine Manor’s Kristen Harris led the way for the Gators with 12 points, while two of her teammates, Arielle Harrell and Oceane Tabbak, ended the game with double-digit turnovers (12 and 10, respectively).

  • Neither team scored any fast-break points.
  • Pine Manor held a 1-point lead with 8:10 left in the first quarter. It was the Gators’ only lead of the night.
  • Curry had 23 more field goal attempts than Pine Manor.

Man…It Really Is Over

By Barak Swarttz // March 22, 2018 //

Just like that. Four years. Four LONG years of college basketball. I do not even know where to begin to compress the past four years into a few paragraphs.

The most recent memory I have is my senior day from this past season. A lot of people came to the game, for both teams. It was a high-energy game, which made it that much better for me because I feed off of energy and always have since I picked up a basketball. Dead basketball gyms are the worst environments to play in. Period.

The gym was loud, the fans were involved and the game was chippy. It’s funny actually…my entire life I have never gotten a technical foul. Ever. Not in travel leagues, camps, clinics, when I played in Israel, AAU, high school or college. Never. I always wondered if I was ever going to get one and my last college basketball game would have been an ironic time to.

During the first half, I forced the player I was guarding to travel and the crowd started going nuts. I proceeded to look at him and scream in his face because I was amped up – that’s just how I am; a very, very emotional player.

Right after, the referee sprinted up to me, got close to my face and said, “Don’t do that again, none of that. That’s where things get messy.”

I walked away with a huge grin on my face and thought to myself, “Man…that would have been the perfect time,” but I did want to preserve my clean record at the same time. After that, I was convinced that I was going to go the rest of my life without ever receiving a technical foul…but two weeks later, guess what?

In just my second men’s league game, I got T’d up for saying, “Man I think that was a terrible call,” under my breath; what a warm welcome to the league. Life is funny, man.

Continue reading “Man…It Really Is Over”

Men’s Basketball Falls on Senior Night, 70-56

BY ALEC MENDES // Feb. 18, 2018 //

Curry College men’s basketball gets out-muscled by Eastern Nazarene College, 70-56, en route to their third consecutive 24-loss season.

The Colonels came out battling on their senior night, battling to a 36-34 lead at the half.

Sophomore guard Jared Thorpe-Johnson produced a big first half, dropping 15 of his game-high 22 points to help give the Colonels the lead.

Five minutes into the half, the Colonels extended their lead to seven but the Lions began to roar back eventually capturing the lead with 10 minutes remaining in the second half.

Despite shooting a better percentage than the Lions, the Colonels were severely out-rebounded all game but it especially hurt them on the offensive boards where Eastern Nazarene held a 12-2 advantage in the second half.

Those second-chance points and their free throws did in the Colonels.  They could only convert on seven of their 15 opportunities while the Lions reached the line 23 times and sunk 16 of them.

Senior center John Coleman ended the game with seven rebounds but he knew it was an issue for the Colonels.

“All season long we’ve struggled on the boards,” said Coleman.  “It’s hard because we don’t have the size some of the other schools have and it ended up hurting us again”.

Senior guard Barak Schwartz was disappointed with loss but happy with how his team battled all game.

“It’s been a tough season, it’s not the way we wanted to go out, we definitely wanted to get the victory for the fans in the last game,” said Schwartz.

The loss dropped the Colonels to 1-24 for the second straight year, putting the team’s record at 2-73 for the past three seasons.

 

Women’s Hoops Grab Win on Senior Night

BY JOHN CATALONI // Feb. 18, 2018 //

The Curry College women’s basketball team capped off their senior night with a 48-39 win over Eastern Nazarene in a low-scoring affair as both teams were jockeying for seeding position.

Curry took control of the game early when they received a huge lift from sophomore guard Samantha Bamford who came off the bench four minutes into the game. She had an instant impact by forcing turnovers and turning up the defensive pressure, adding four rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 29 minutes.

In addition to Bamford, junior guard Emily Irwin scored eight of her team-high 14 points in the first quarter to give the Colonels the 16-11 advantage at the end of the first.

The offense struggled in the second quarter as the team shot 4-of-14 from the field only managing 10 points but luckily their defense tightened up to hold the Lions to just four points, going up 11 at the half.

Adversity struck the Colonels late in the third when junior forward Molly Plunkett went down with an ankle injury that sidelines her for the fourth quarter, forcing reserves to step up.

Eastern Nazarene started the fourth on an 11-0 run, cutting the Colonels’ to just one.  Irwin derailed the run with a three of her own and the Lions wouldn’t score a point for the rest of the game.

For Curry it was a huge moment for both seniors Nicole Rice and Stephanie Rizzo who played their last home game for Curry on Saturday.

“It was a good way to finish my four years here,” said Rizzo who is usually a bench player but drew the start on her senior night.

Bamford, the usual starter, was happy to step into that bench role for her team on Saturday.

“There is no other way I’d want them to go out,” said Bamford. “They work really hard.”

Prior to the game the Colonels held a one game lead over both Eastern Nazarene and Gordon so it was crucial for Curry to secure the win and remain the sixth-seed in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) playoffs.

The Colonels will travel to third-seeded Endicott College on Tuesday for the first round of the tournament.  Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

  • Curry’s defense forced 25 turnovers while scoring 15 points off them en route to their win.
  • Eastern Nazarene’s Shelby Holmes scored a game high 17 points while earning a double-double.
  • The win officially secured the CCC scoring title for Irwin who led the conference with 18.2 points-per-game.

 

Emily Irwin Joins the Rafters as Ninth Woman to Score 1,000 Points

BY STEVEN SOUSA // Feb. 16, 2018 //

Since coming on campus as a freshman, Emily Irwin has been re-writing the Curry College Women’s Basketball record book and has since etched her name in one more spot.

On Jan. 20, 2018, the Billerica native achieved something that only a few other student-athletes have been able to accomplish at Curry, score 1,000 points as a junior.

Almost as impressive as achieving this feat as a junior, this is also the second time Irwin has scored 1,000 points in her illustrious amateur career, surpassing the millennium mark over her four years at Shawsheen Technical High School from 2011-2015.

At this point, it’s hard to believe but Irwin was once deemed just not good enough.

She was cut from her travel team in fifth grade and then was only good enough to make the ‘B’ team in following two years.  It wasn’t until eighth grade when Irwin finally broke through with the best.

How did she fight from being cut to being one of the best in a matter of four years? How did she score 1,000 points in both high school and college?  The answer is the same.

“Constant practice,” Irwin stated simply. “If I ever gave it up for a year or two I wouldn’t be the same.”

In the three years that Colonels’ head coach Fran Elms has coached her, that drive has been what stuck out to him.

“There’s a motor that she has that others don’t have,” said Elms.  “She’s driven to go as hard as she can, as long as she can.”

Elms recalled the first time he saw Irwin play, back in her AAU days.  She sent him an email talking about her interest in the nursing program at Curry, but also in playing basketball. Elms figured he would give her a look but she was playing hurt at the time.

“She looks like a tough kid so maybe we’ll keep an eye on her,” Elms thought post-game.

That statement turned out to only be scratching the surface of her durability as she went on to break her nose and wrist on top of suffering horrible blood blisters on her feet. However, after three years, the only game she has missed was because of a nursing conflict, not due to injury.

What sold the coaching staff on Irwin was when assistant coach, Stacey Cotter, watched her play one of the best AAU squads in the state.  Irwin’s team was outmatched but she put on a show.

There was a particular sequence in transition where Irwin was handling the ball and made a one-handed pass from half court to the baseline that displayed her ability and vision which convinced Cotter that the Colonels needed her.

Ever since then, Irwin and the coaching staff have developed a relationship that seems to bring out the best in each other.

“I drive them nuts, they drive me nuts, but we kind of have an understanding,” Irwin noted. “And they definitely push me as well.”

From day one, Irwin has been in the backcourt for Curry and despite seeing a seven-point increase in points-per-game from her freshman to junior year, Elms said that her role on the team hasn’t changed much.

“She matured with the game, she’s learned more of when to shoot, when not to shoot, not to the best of her ability yet but she’s matured that way,” said Cotter.

Elms echoed her statement, saying that it went from him calling all the plays her freshman year to Irwin calling about 50% of the plays in her junior year.

Irwin has also grown as a leader during her tenure at Curry, achieving captain status in her third year.

“She’s not one to miss, not one to skip, not one to take a play off,” Elms said.  “She might not be as vocal but I think she leads by example and speaks up when she’s supposed to.”

The 5’6” guard has a relentlessness and a fearlessness to her.  In fact, she leads the Commonwealth Coast Conference with 9.5 free-throw attempts per game, almost four full attempts over the next closest.

“She wants to get to the rack and sometimes she doesn’t see the five people in front of her,” Elms said.

“Usually I do after I go to the bench,” responded Irwin.

In addition to her tenacity, she also has a lot of selflessness to her.  She didn’t even know she was approaching the 1,000-point milestone until Elms informed her a few days before the game, and even then she just wanted it to be over.

“I’m kind of happy it’s over in a sense because now I don’t have to worry about it or hear about it,” said Irwin.

However, for a while in that game against the Gordon Fighting Scots, the milestone was in great doubt. After the first half, Irwin recorded 0 points, missing on all seven shots taken.

Things turned around in the third frame as she finished 5-6 from the field, moving to within nine points of the benchmark. With time bleeding out in the final quarter, Irwin inched closer and closer but still hadn’t scored that 1,000 point with under a minute remaining.

She took the ball on the wing and drove to the basket to lay one in with 38 seconds showing although the Colonels still trailed 54-47. Irwin finished with a single-game record of 37 shot attempts and only needed to make 10 of them to enshrine her forever.

“Emily’s not an individual or statistic person, she’s all about the team,” Elms explained. “If its two points or 32 points, it doesn’t matter to her.  All that matters is that she wins that game.”

She now sits at number 18 overall on the all-time scoring list at Curry College and the fifth-highest woman scorer, just 333 points behind Kylie Beltz, who finished her career with 1,465.

With a year of eligibility remaining, surpassing Beltz is certainly within her reach but she’s not concerned with it in the slightest bit.  Her goal for next year is simple.

“Go to the championship and win it, win it all,” said Irwin emphatically.  “I want it.”

Before then, the Colonels end the 2017-2018 regular season tomorrow afternoon when they host Eastern Nazarene for a 1 p.m. tip-off.

Curry currently holds the #6 seed in the playoffs with a 7-10 CCC record while the Lions cling on to the final seed with a 6-11 record in the conference.