After first home stand, Lions begin to roll

by Beacon Staff • December 13, 2006

The Lions rolled into last Sunday's game against Pine Manor with a mere 2-2 record on their young season.,npredictable as the weather in recent weeks. It's as if Mother Nature can't decide to heat up or cool down. The Emerson women's basketball team is in the same boat.

The Lions rolled into last Sunday's game against Pine Manor with a mere 2-2 record on their young season.

At home, they played what may have been their best game of the year.

The Lions jumped out to a 30-18 lead heading into halftime and never looked back. The stingy Lions defense would not allow a second-quarter Pine Manor comeback. Led by Ellie Feitlinger's three steals, the Lions forced twenty Gators turnovers en route to a 60-43 victory. Emerson also began to get their act together from three, hitting five of 11 shots from beyond the arc. Emerson never trailed the Gators in the game.

Riding the success of the win, the team looked to string together its first consecutive victories as it hosted UMass Boston Tuesday night.

The Lions were much more reserved from the arc in this matchup, attempting only four shots from long range.

But the formula proved successful as Emerson went on to win 65-50.

Double-digit performances from Maude Okrah (19 points), Lauren Vassallo (15), and Lindsay DeStefano (11) lifted the team to a 4-2 record to round out their longest home stand of the season.

However, a gust of wins often signals clouds on the horizon. On Saturday afternoon, the women traveled west for a battle with Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

The Lions hung in the game through the first half, trailing by three as they headed into halftime. It was then that the wheels fell off.

The Lions would shoot just 27 percent in the second half as WPI distanced itself from the struggling Emerson squad. WPI went on to win by 14 points, 50-36.

In a day when freshman Bryan Rouse dropped a record-breaking 56 points for the men's team, 12 Lions could muster only 36 in the road loss.

Sophomore guard Bri Papa explained the reason for the difference in play.

"When we won, we played as a team," she said. "When we lost, it was more individual play. The comaraderie was better even if the shots weren't falling."

The final women's game of the season occurred Wednesday night against Endicott College. The results were not yet in at the time of printing.

DeStefano, Vassallo and Okrah have split the majority of the scoring to this point with each of them hovering around 10 points per game.

With only eight games under their belt, the women still have a lot to prove. They won't play their first conference game until mid-January, which leaves plenty of time after the break to work out the kinks. But right now, there is little room for rest. As finals and year-end projects loom, the team must continue to practice and play hard. Papa spoke about the pressures facing athletes this time of year.

"I'm gonna play a lot better when it's over 'cause it's less stress," she said. "I can worry about basketball instead of coming into the lab and working on my project."

The women get back to work early after the new year, playing their first game on Jan. 4th against Mount Holyoke. Game time: 5:00 PM, rain or shine.