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Women’s basketball starts 2–0, hosts tournament this weekend

November 17, 2023

Courtesy of Michael Maher
NET ON IT: Emily Collins ’26 reaches for the ball. The women’s basketball team Springfield College and Maine Maritime Academy last weekend and will host the Coastal Classic this weekend in Morrell Gymnasium.

The women’s basketball team started off its season 2–0 (0–0 NESCAC) with victories against Springfield College (2–1) and Maine Maritime Academy (2–1) this week. Last Saturday, Bowdoin defeated Springfield 73–46 in its home opener. The Polar Bears went on to win 57–47 against Maine Maritime on Tuesday night. Both games saw Bowdoin take early leads and highlighted the team’s defensive prowess.

Against Springfield, Bowdoin finished with a 56 percent field goal percentage. Callie Godfrey ’24 led the team with 17 points and seven rebounds. Captain Sydney Jones ’25 chipped in with 15 points and seven assists. Bowdoin’s defense stifled Springfield, and the Polar Bears scored 24 points off of turnovers.

Guard Maria Belardi ’26, who scored 13 points against Springfield, attributed Saturday’s offensive success to teamwork.

“I feel like Saturday was a really good team effort where we were all just hitting shots, looking to get one more pass from each other and really meshing well as a team. I felt like we all contributed in different ways,” Belardi said.

Jones said the team was glad to be back in Morrell Gymnasium.

“We came out with a lot of energy and a lot of intensity with it being our first home game in Morrell. It’s one of the best places to play, and it was great having the whole community there,” Jones said.

On Tuesday, the Polar Bears took an early 14–8 lead and stayed ahead all night. Bowdoin made 42 percent of their shots, and captain Megan Tan ’23 had a game-high 17 points and five rebounds.

“Maine Maritime was definitely a different kind of win. It was definitely gritty. Our shooting wasn’t so great, but I think [Tan] really shined and came through for us in big moments. It was a lot of just wanting to play for each other,” Belardi said.

While the first few games of the season are always a trial run of sorts, Head Coach Megan Phelps felt that the team’s defense stood strong.

“There are certainly some execution things that we can clean up on the offensive end…. I think that kind of up and down happens a lot in the first semester of the season,” Phelps said. “Our defense has been really solid. I’m very pleased with the work that we’ve done on the defensive end thus far. That helps you win a lot of games when you’re up and down on the other end.”

Going forward, however, the team wants to focus on maintaining its defensive intensity even when it has the lead.

“We definitely had a drop-off in defensive intensity in the Springfield game, and I think that was masked by how well we were shooting the ball,” Phelps said. “That was a big point of emphasis, that we couldn’t lose defensive intensity, because so much of our offensive success comes from our defense. We like to run in transition. You can’t do that if you’re not getting stops.”

Tan was proud of how the team approached the games.

“We approached each game with the mentality of respecting all and fearing none,” Tan said. “It’s about the mentality of not expecting a win but expecting a grind. It’s about the consistency of playing good solid basketball for 40 minutes.”

Phelps added that the team is already reaping the benefits of its offseason work.

“We placed a high priority at the end of last season on improving our fitness levels,” Phelps said. “These games were the first opportunities that we’ve had to see how that work over the offseason paid off. It’s really cool to see our players developing that trust in themselves and in each other that they can play at a high level for a longer period of time.”

Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Bowdoin is hoping to prepare for NESCAC play by competing against competitive out-of-conference opponents.

“We really strive to schedule hard opponents. I take the mindset of we want to play anybody who wants to play us,” Phelps said. “It’s just another great opportunity for us to figure out where we are.”

The Polar Bears will play against two tough opponents this weekend when they host the Coastal Classic. Bowdoin will face off against Bridgewater State University (0–1) tonight in Morrell. The team will play Whittier College (1–1) tomorrow at 6:30 p.m.

“I think our mindset this year as a whole is to really focus on us,” Jones said. “We’re going to play a lot of good teams. Some teams that we don’t know as well can cause a little bit of panic. But we know that if we bring our defensive intensity, our communication and our offensive execution, we should be good to go against anyone.”


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