The women’s basketball team brought home its first win of the season against Bard College in the Ithaca Invitational by a score of 89–52 Nov. 20 at Ben Light Gymnasium.
The Bombers took a 15-point lead into halftime and only built on it in the second half, outscoring Bard by 22 points to secure the 37-point victory.
While the Bombers were dominant in every facet of the game, head coach Dan Raymond said they have much improving to do heading into the final game of the tournament.
“Our defensive needs to be better, and it will have to be better tomorrow against Coast Guard. Our defense tonight was subpar,” Raymond said. “Offensively, we relied too much on players creating their own opportunities.”
Sophomore guard Jordan Beers led the way for the Blue and Gold offense with 12 points on 5–7 shooting, while junior guard Ali Ricchiuti and freshman guard Allie Tunick each scored 11 points apiece.
Junior forward Erin Ferguson led the Bombers in rebounds with six and junior guard Alex Gilligan had five assists in the victory. Gilligan said teamwork was the key to their win over Bard.
“We did a really good job playing as a team. … We had been struggling with that, but tonight we were finally able to bring it all together and get the W,” Gilligan said.
The South Hill squad was not plagued with poor shooting the way it had been in its previous two games as the players shot 52.2 percent from the field and 46.2 percent from behind the three point line.
The key to the Bombers’ win was the team’s performance off the bench, as the Bombers outscored the Raptors 44–3 in bench points.
The bright spots for Bard came from forward Tytravia Riley, who scored 25 points and grabbed 15 rebounds en route to the loss. Point guard Bianka Bell also dropped 17 points. The Raptors only shot 32.7 percent throughout the game.
The Blue and Gold then went on to build off of its win against Bard with a victory Nov. 21 against the United State Coast Guard Academy in the championship game of the Ithaca Invitational. The squad knotted up its overall record at 2–2 this season after defeating Coast Guard 69–65 for its second straight win and first place in the invitational.
The Bombers struggled in the first half, entering halftime down nine points, and they only made 19.2 percent of their shots from the field in comparison to the 55.6 percent for the Bears. Along with their poor shooting, the Blue and Gold also lost Gilligan to a knee injury early in the first quarter and she was unable to return to action, so sophomore guard Erin Woop and freshman guard Annie Giannone played in her place.
The South Hill squad flipped the switch in the second half, shooting 55.6 percent from the field to outscore Coast Guard by 13 points to secure the win. The Bombers’ first lead of the game came with 3:47 left in the fourth quarter when Ricchiuti hit a jump shot to make the score 62–61.
Head coach Dan Raymond said he was impressed with his team’s ability to work its way back into the lead.
“We are a really young team, and this was one of those gut-check games,” Raymond said. “To put ourselves in a hole like we did in the first half and then to just keep grinding our way back was outstanding.”
Ricchiuti said the team’s defense and its steady approach on offense were the keys to the Bombers’ comeback.
“We played really hard defense and, on offense, we took every possession play by play so that we didn’t get ahead of ourselves,” Ricchiuti said.
Ricchiuti was the Blue and Gold’s leading scorer with a career-high 30 points on 9–12 shooting, including 5–8 from behind the arc and 7–8 from the charity stripe. She said her big game was due to her teammates being able to find her for shots.
“They knew I was making shots, so they made an effort to get me the ball,” Ricchiuti said.
Raymond said Ricchiuti’s confidence was the key to her finding the basket so many times in the game.
“She makes one shot, then another, then she knows she can continue to score,” Raymond said. “We’ve never put any restraints on her as a scorer, it was just about her recognizing when to go.”
Beers and Ferguson also had double-digit points for the Bombers, scoring 16 and 11 points, respectively. Sophomore forward Julie Yacovoni led the Blue and Gold on the backboards with nine rebounds, and Woop led the team in assists with four.
Second-chance points were imperative for the South Hill squad in this game, as it had 12 offensive rebounds, four from junior forward Shayna Gaskins and three each from Ferguson and Yacovoni, which they turned into 13 points. Coast Guard only had two offensive rebounds and zero second-chance points.
Torie Sutherland notched a double-double for the Bears, scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Coast Guard’s leading scorer was Meghan Fornaro with 16 points.
The Bombers will look to go above .500 when they hit the hardwood again at 8 p.m. Dec. 1 when they take on SUNY Cortland at Ben Light Gymnasium.