After suffering an incredibly close 49-44 loss to Tufts last Saturday, the women’s basketball team secured an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III tournament to keep its season alive. This will be Bowdoin’s 17th NCAA tournament appearance, and despite the team’s shortcomings in NESCAC playoffs, the team is hopeful about its prospects against SUNY New Paltz this weekend.
“We want to seize this moment and this great opportunity to play in the tournament,” said captain Marle Curle ’17. “Our mindset is very positive. We’re very confident that we’ll give our best effort and we’re excited to play SUNY New Paltz. Our goal right now is to make it as far as we can and play as long as we can with our teammates and the people that we love.”
Looking ahead to the matchup, the team is focusing on improving its own play before looking to counter New Paltz’s strengths.
“[Now] we’re having more of a focus on Bowdoin basketball,” said Curle. “Then later on in the week we’ll start watching what SUNY New Paltz usually does and see what we can exploit.”
Bowdoin has performed well in the NCAAs in recent years, making it to the Sweet Sixteen for the past two years. However, to continue their legacy of success, the Polar Bears will need to bounce back from their disappointing loss last weekend.
“There’s always things that you look back and want to do differently,” said Curle. “I think that just gives us an opportunity to work at those aspects of the game moving forward.”
According to Curle, the team’s slow start was a significant factor in the loss, as Tufts outscored Bowdoin 14-5 in the first quarter and extended its lead to 28-15 by the end of the first half. While Bowdoin managed to turn things around in the second half, the late push was not enough to make up the difference and the Jumbos held on to secure their spot in the NESCAC championships.
“I think that we lacked focus and intensity in the first half of the game, and then it was a little too late when we picked it up,” said Curle. “We outscored them in the quarters in the second half. [But] it was 14-5 in the first quarter, so that score put as us down for the whole game.”
Despite the result, the team ultimately played well and showcased its dynamic, deep offense. Lauren Petit ’18 led the squad with 10 points, followed by Curle with nine, and the Polar Bears out-rebounded the Jumbos 45-38.
In gearing up for this weekend’s matchup, the team is excited for the fresh start the tournament poses.
“Our season is so long that it really is beneficial to look at different sections of the season, which are like different chapters, moments or opportunities,” said Curle. “Just revitalizing yourself, having a fresh of breath air—in a way it allows us to have a time to start anew.”
Bowdoin will face SUNY New Paltz at Ithaca College at 5 p.m. on Friday in the first round of the NCAA tournament.