Currently, the Lions are 14-10 (9-3 in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference), good for second place in the league.,With the playoffs set to begin on Tuesday, the Emerson women's basketball team is gearing up for the stretch run with a few extra days of rest and relaxation. Come game time, though, the Lions said they expect to be ready to pounce.
Currently, the Lions are 14-10 (9-3 in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference), good for second place in the league. Although a 65-63 defeat at Emmanuel last Tuesday cost them a shot at being the top seed in the league tournament, first-year Head Coach William Gould said he is impressed by the way his team has performed this season.
The teams' performance in the school year's fall semester was lackluster at times, as they struggled into the winter break with a record of 3-4. However, a strong start to the spring term, including a six-game winning streak, has propelled them to being contenders in the conference.
Gould said the turning point seemed to be when he called his players together following what he described as two bad losses in mid-January. Gould said he talked to the team and told the players they would have to work harder if they hoped to acheive better results.
"We had a meeting, we chatted and I let them know what I was thinking," Gould said. "I let them know [the two losses] weren't acceptable. The kids put it on themselves to get with it and since then, they've started to play pretty well."
For the players, the meeting represented the moment the team really came together. Senior Becky Everett, a marketing communication major, said the players responded to Gould's comments and decided to work harder.
"[It helped generate] more team morale," Everett said. "Our team came together. If we're putting work in and spending time, we actually want to get something out of it."
Coming off a win on Saturday against St. Joseph, Gould decided to give the team three days of rest. After resuming practice on Wednesday, the team began to prepare for its final game on Saturday against Albertus Magnus, followed by the start of the league tournament on Tuesday.
To the players, getting the few days off means time for their bodies to recover. Everett said that with school and basketball being so rigorous, the added rest is a relief so late in the season.
"It's been a really long season," Everett said. "Before school started we had games every other day and it starts to get to your body. Your body starts to deteriorate. It doesn't want to respond anymore."
Gould said that he is confident that the added rest will help his players and they will not be rusty heading into the season's stretch run.
"Physically, it's probably better to get their bodies a little more rested, because their bodies are tired," Gould said. "Having a lazy practice, that's not going to accomplish anything."
Heading into the tournament, the team has one goal in mind: to become GNAC champs and reach the NCAA Division Three tournament for the first time in the program's history. Although the seeds in the playoffs are not yet determined, Gould said he is confident his team can perform well and possibly come out victorious.
"Generally, I feel like we have very, very good chances in the tournament." he said. "I feel like we could beat anyone we play. I feel like if we played well, not perfect, but well, [our team] has a pretty darn good shot."