On Saturday, it made an appearance as the Lions trounced Newbury College, 68-38.,It is something that the coach has drilled into their heads over and over again: play with confidence. And yet too often this season, confidence has been something severely missing from the Emerson women's basketball team.
On Saturday, it made an appearance as the Lions trounced Newbury College, 68-38. But where exactly had it been hiding?
After beating Albertus Magnus by 17 points on Feb. 2, the Lions were blown out at Norwich by 29, gave up a late lead and lost by two to St. Joe's of Connecticut and then lost at home by 17 to Fitchburg State.
The three-game stretch dropped them to 9-13 on the season and, with just three games remaining, eliminated any possibility of finishing with a .500 record.
"The only difference between this game and those was that we were a lot more calm and confident," said junior forward and co-captain Pam Coppola. "I think confidence is a huge deal for anyone. If you have a lack of confidence, you'll never play well."
Head Coach Melissa Hart said she was frustrated by the team's inconsistent attitudes.
"They should have the confidence to make the same shots against any team," Hart said. "They're still young so sometimes, their confidence wavers when they play a good team."
Whether the Lions' belief in themselves was boosted Saturday by the fact that Newbury only brought seven players to the game or by the unusually large crowd of Emerson supporters that filled the Pine Manor Gym, it was evident in the way they played.
They finished the first half on a 15-5 run that put them up 38-23. After playing relatively even with Newbury for the first 10 minutes of the second half, they closed out the game on an 18-5 run.
The Lions played quicker, anticipating Newbury's passes, intercepting them and creating several fast break opportunities. They moved the ball crisply and Newbury was always one step behind their passes.
"When you have girls that can shoot and drive and then dish off that drive, you're going to have success," Coppola said.
Sophomore guard Lindsay DeStefano agreed, noting that no player tried to take on the entire team by herself. DeStefano led the team with 12 points but it's been her defense that has impressed her coach lately.
"She's really coming along well defensively," Hart said. "She's got a lot of talent but she's doing the little things now."
"Defensively I was really unsure of myself but coach kept drilling it into me," said DeStefano.
In fact, defense is something Hart stresses to just about anybody willing to listen.
"We have to have clean defense," Hart said. "Putting other teams on the foul line is not smart. The big key for us is if we can play tough, clean defense without fouling."
Two games remain on the season for the Lions and both are match-ups against teams with in the GNAC.
"For us, confidence is everything," DeStefano said. "We need to keep our heads up and play as a team and we'll be fine."