In like Lion, out like lamb

by Beacon Staff • March 1, 2006

The Emerson women's basketball team lost decisively in its final game. Long after the contest ended and the gym emptied, the scoreboard remained brightly lit with an unhappy reminder of what had taken place.

Emmanuel 70, Visitor 41, it read.,The final score told no lies.

The Emerson women's basketball team lost decisively in its final game. Long after the contest ended and the gym emptied, the scoreboard remained brightly lit with an unhappy reminder of what had taken place.

Emmanuel 70, Visitor 41, it read. The end came bluntly and without apology and just like that, the season was gone.

It was one of change, of firsts and lasts, of improbable victories and inexcusable defeats and in the midst of it all, the face of women's basketball at Emerson College changed.

Next year, the Lions will have new players to replace the old, a new gym to play in and a coach with a new baby. But for now, the players have only this campaign to reflect upon.

The season was an exhibition of inconsistency. The Lions were, until the very end of the year, a "win a game, lose a game" kind of team. Emerson flirted with a .500 record for most of the year, but lost six of its last seven games to finish 10-16.

It was the final year for senior guards and team captains Jenny Barr and Molly O'Keefe, as well as for senior guard Maya Sharpe.

But ready to take their place was freshman guard Maude Okrah, who emerged as one the team's stars, averaging 6.5 points per game and earning her way into the starting lineup.

Okrah said next season will not be the same without the older players.

"It's going to be tough," Okrah said. "I personally learned a lot from the seniors. They've left a lot of wisdom to help us through the next few years."

Sophomore Lindsay DeStefano agreed.

"The senior class was really the base," DeStefano said. "We lose great leadership, but I think they instilled a lot of values in us."

Head Coach Melissa Hart said the graduating class will leave a void.

"We'll miss the seniors," Hart said. "I wish we had them around for another year for this group."

It was a senior class that had never been to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) playoffs before. And although the team lost in the very first round, many players said they will look back on the season with a certain amount of pride.

"I think it was such a huge thing for the program," said O'Keefe. "It was rough that we had to start off as the 8th seed, but it was a goal for the last four years. It meant a lot personally just because Emerson's a building program."

Hart shared the same sentiments.

"I'm very proud," Hart said. "The season can be long, but they worked hard. If you gave everything you got on the court, you can't hang your head."

Next year, however, the Lions will not be content to simply make the playoffs.

"My goal personally is to go to the [champion]'ship," Okrah said.

In order to do that, the Lions will have to improve in several areas. They lacked height on the team and were statistically out-rebounded throughout the season. They also committed too many fouls.

"Every person on the team needs to step up," said sophomore forward Ellie Feitlinger. "A lot of things next year are going to change."