In a year of ups and downs, the women's basketball team finished its season the right way. After a comfortable 70-56 win over Wesleyan on Friday, the Polar Bears (18-6, 7-3 NESCAC) had their senior day ceremony prior to their final game against Connecticut College on Saturday.

It was an emotional occasion for the close-knit group of five seniors who have played together for four years, and the day also provided one of the most poignant moments of the season.

Forward Nicole Coombes '12, who had battled back from an early season injury only to succumb to a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament tear, stepped onto the floor as a starter with her four senior teammates for the first time since she was injured. After Coombes checked in, the Polar Bears rolled out the ball and Coombes left the court to a standing ovation.

It's been a challenging year for Coombes, who was expected to be a focal point in the offense this season. When Coombes got hurt earlier in the year, the offense had to adjust its practices after being built around the six-foot forward.

According to Head Coach Adrienne Shibles, Coombes "has been so wonderful about putting the team first in her time here. She's taken the back seat to a lot of older posts, so this was supposed to be her year. But I'm glad the Connecticut coach allowed her to start in that way and give her the recognition she deserves."

Even with emotions running high in the Bowdoin unit, the Camels were able to keep the game close at halftime, but the Polar Bears pulled away from Connecticut College with a 73-60 victory.

Despite some early season setbacks, the women said they are immensely proud of their season.

"I think every team at some point in their season has a part when things aren't always going their way," said guard Kaitlin Donahoe '13. "That learning and growing you have is frustrating, but it's also fun."

Captain Jill Henrikson '12 capped a strong senior year in which she eclipsed 1,000 points for her career and led the conference in free-throw percentage and steals. She was also the league scoring champion with 17 points per game, nearly two points better than the second leading scorer in NESCAC.

Henrikson, however, has already put that behind her and has her sights focused on the NESCAC tournament and an NCAA tournament berth.

"Knowing that you could only have one game left together as seniors makes you want to put it on the court every game," said Henrikson. "Even for the underclassmen, you want to play every game like it's your last game, and I think they understand how special this season is to us."

The five seniors—Ellery Gould, Coombes, Henrikson, and captains Alexa Barry and Amy Hackett—have been the heart and soul of the team.

"They are the most amazing group in so many different ways," said Shibles. "I have great admiration for these women and I think they all give to the College in different ways, not just to our program, but to the whole Bowdoin community."

The Polar Bears, with wins against Wesleyan and Connecticut College, are seeded No. 3 in the NESCAC tournament and will face Wesleyan tomorrow at home in the quarterfinals. Tipoff is at 3 p.m.

If they can come away with another win against Wesleyan, the Polar Bears would then presumably face No. 2 Tufts in the semifinals.