The women’s basketball team opened its season by winning the Salem Tip-Off Tournament at Salem State last weekend, defeating Norwich 66-55 and Salem State 81-49. The Polar Bears carried this momentum to their home opener on Tuesday, beating Endicott 67-56.
Head Coach Adrienne Shibles cited the team’s improved chemistry and fitness as reasons for the early success.
“Our chemistry has always been solid, but this year it’s exceptional,” Shibles said. “They’re all on the same page in terms of where we want to go this season, which makes my job as coach easier.”
The Norwich game was neck-and-neck for much of the second half before Bowdoin finally pulled ahead. Guard Kirsten Prue ’14 led the Polar Bears with 14 points. Megan Phelps ’15 added 11, and Shannon Brady ’16 scored 12.
“[Prue] was exceptional,” said Shibles. “The first game she was our best player. She hit big shots and she was defending well against an All-American from Norwich.”
In the Salem State game on Saturday, Bowdoin held just a two-possession lead at halftime. In the second half, they outscored the Vikings 55-29.
Guard Marle Curle ’17, who was named MVP of the tournament, led all scorers with 19 points. Phelps scored 16, and guard Sara Binkhorst ’15 added 13.
“We kind of let them hang around in the first half,” said Phelps. “It was their home court and we weren’t playing to our strengths as well as we could. At halftime we went in and sort of said, ‘Hey, this isn’t us.’ Then we came out in the second half and put up more than fifty points.”
Tuesday’s win over Endicott was highlighted by a career-best performance from Brady, who dropped 25 points on 12-of-15 shooting and pulled down 13 rebounds. Phelps and Prue added 11 and nine, respectively.
Shibles feels that the team’s depth in the backcourt will give it a boost as the season goes on.
“One of the main differences between last year and this year is that we are a lot deeper in the guard spots,” she said. “We have only had three games, and I expect in the next few games to see more consistent play with those guards.”
The team begins NESCAC play at home tomorrow against Bates at 2 p.m., and will look to keep its early-season momentum going against the Bobcats.
“I think winning the tournament is going to give us great confidence going into the rest of the season,” Phelps said.