The women's basketball team made it through the NESCAC quarterfinals last Friday, shutting Bates out of the running with a decisive 69-51 win.

The third-seeded Polar Bears will play the Mules at Amherst this weekend, with a final game against Amherst or Williams as a prize for the winner.

A great game against Bates has given the team optimism in the face of this challenge.

"I am very happy with the way that the team played last weekend," coach Adrienne Shibles said. "They executed the game plan versus Bates perfectly, and played with incredible intensity for 40 minutes."

"We're really pleased with Bates, and we want to win everything we have," Jill Henrikson '12. "We're going to take it game by game, focusing on Colby and then focusing on Amherst."

Henrikson played well on Friday, with a pair of free throws that added to a 14-0 run to give the Polar Bears' a 24-10 edge over the Bobcats as the game neared halftime.

"I think that shooting free throws is a matter of getting to the hoop, getting to draw contact and see who's open around you, go hard to the hoop," Henrikson said.

The women were able to hold on to the lead, as the scoreboard read 33-20 at halftime.

After the half, Bates attempted a rebound, with an 8-0 run trimming Bowdoin's lead. However, led by junior captain Amy Hackett, Bowdoin wasn't about to concede.

With 12:30 on the clock, Hackett's trifecta gave the Polar Bears a 48-33 lead, and Bates trailed for the remainder of the game.

In recent contests, and in the game against the Bobcats especially, the women have been improving—both mentally and physically, even as they face increasingly difficult games.

"We improved a lot, especially on defense," Henrikson said. "We picked it up transition-wise on defense. Defense especially is all about mental toughness."

This weekend, the Polar Bear talent will be put to the test.

"Colby has some of the biggest and most talented posts in the league," Shibles said. In addition, their guards are dangerous and well-rounded players. We will have to put forth our best defensive game."

The Polar Bears will be focusing on Colby's strength, such as running in transition, in its attempt to emerge from the game with a victory.

"We need to focus on what we need to do offensively to score," Henrikson said.

"Offensively, it will need to be a total team effort to beat Colby," Shibles added.

"The last time we saw them, several Polar Bears came off the bench to contribute in meaningful ways and that made the difference in the game."

Overall, Henrikson said the women are "not nervous at all. We're confident and fired up."