The women’s basketball team remains undefeated this season after a 85-40 blowout win over the University of Southern Maine (1-5) on Tuesday. The Polar Bears have dominated their first four games, scoring at least 85 points and winning by a margin of more than 20 points in each.

Head Coach Adrienne Shibles attributes the Polar Bears’ early success to the team’s increased depth and number of players. The team is the biggest it’s been in the last 10 years.

“We have 16 rostered women and there’s not a weak link in the roster,” said Shibles. “I think that’s definitely our strength and it allows us to do a lot more exciting things defensively, like extending the pressures … [pushing] the ball more and [playing] at a really high pace.”

The graduation of Shannon Brady ’16 last spring has also caused shifts in the team’s strategy. 

“I think we came to rely on [Brady] too heavily last season,” Shibles said. “We would look to her to do things that we needed, like when we needed a basket or anything. This year thus far, it’s still early but I really like that on any given night, it could be any one of our players who is the high scorer. It could be any of our players who is making the big play. And so that more balanced approach is really exciting.”

“Last year we only had one senior and this year we have five. That creates a different dynamic [on] the court,” said Marle Curle ’17. “Position-wise, Shannon Brady was our center and she was a dominant force on the court. This year, it’s kind of more dribble drive offense in. Just a lot more movement in our offense. It’s a different style from last year.”

While Brady’s strength was a definite advantage last season, this year’s more dynamic offense can be more difficult for opposing teams’ defenses.

“Defensively last year, a lot of teams would hone in on [Brady] because she was so talented and she contributed a lot of points for us,” said Norton. “And it’s really nice that this year we have a more balanced scoring attack. I think a prime example was [against Southern Maine]. I don’t think anyone had more than 12 points.”

The team’s closest match of the season was their 87-63 win over the University of New England, an improvement over last year when the Polar Bears fell to the Nor’easters by 20 points. Bowdoin dominated much of the game, taking a 42-22 lead into halftime. Although the Nor’easters narrowed the Polar Bears’ lead to 58-44 in the third quarter, the Polar Bears soundly won the game.

Despite the team’s successful start to the season, Shibles says that there is still room for improvement. 

“I think we’ve just come out less focused defensively,” said Shibles. “We have been putting up huge points, so I’m not too concerned about offense thus far. But if you look at our third quarter defensive performance, in my mind, we’re giving out too many points.”

The team looks to focus on its defense in the future, particularly as it heads into its first NESCAC match of the season against Colby, where Brady works as the assistant coach.

“We try to think of every team as a faceless opponent so on one hand, it’s Shannon on the opposite team, but we just try see our opponents as our opponents for that day,” said Norton. “We’re trying to learn from each game and improve. We’re really not looking three games in advance and four games in the future. We’re just focused on the next one.”

The team will travel to Colby at 2 p.m. on Saturday as it looks to extend its win streak to five.

Editor's note, Thursday, December 8, 12:40pm: The headline has been updated to correct an error in the length of the team's win streak.