The Violets were knocked out of the first round of competition in the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Tournament on March 7 after losing to the University of New England Nor’easters by a score of 80-77.
Despite the disappointing end to the season, the Violets proved themselves to be a competitive team after a fantastic turnaround season. Under second-year head coach Lauren Hall-Gregory, the Violets finished the regular season with a 20-6 record, including a 9-5 record in UAA play, doubling their wins compared to the 2012-2013 season when the team posted just a 10-15 overall record. This year’s record is the best the team has registered since the 2008-2009 season, which was also the last time the Violets made an appearance in the NCAA tournament when they made it to the Sweet 16 round.
While the Nor’easters, who finished the regular season with a 27-2 record, led for the majority of the game, the Violets were relentless in their play and kept the score close. At the start of the second half, UNE was ahead 36-32. The Violets managed to take a brief 54-52 lead with 9:41 left in the game, but the Nor’easters regained the lead with two three-pointers over the next 90 seconds.
With five minutes remaining in the game and the Violets trailing 69-60, CAS freshman guard Kaitlyn Read scored two baskets to pull the team back within reach. UNE held off the Violets with the help of junior Kelly Coleman matching her career-best of 32 points and sinking two three-pointers in the last three minutes of play. The Nor’easters led 76-68 with 1:24 left on the clock, essentially claiming the victory.
Read led the team with 25 points, while also adding five rebounds and four steals, and CAS sophomore forward Megan Dawe registered 15 points. Coming off the bench, Tisch sophomore guard Riley Wurtz scored 14 points, recorded three rebounds and three assists, and CAS freshman forward Lindsey Oldshue contributed a team-high nine rebounds.
Given this season’s improvement over previous years, the NYU women’s basketball team has made itself a force to be reckoned with over the coming seasons.
SCPS junior guard Melissa Peng said the team valued the experience of participating in the tournament.
“The opportunity to get a bid and be a part of the NCAA [tournament] was incredible and a great step forward for our program,” Peng said. “We’ve set a new bar within our team, and it was a great experience for us.”
The success of this season given such a young roster — with six freshmen and three sophomores out of 13 players — is a sign of good things to come. The future remains bright for the program, as this tournament appearance can be used as a launching pad for greater success starting in the fall semester.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, March 10 print edition. Brittany Yu is a contributing writer. Email her at email@example.com.