The women’s basketball team opened its season in the Pepsi Mariner Challenge at Maine Maritime Academy last weekend. After losing in the final moments against Roger Williams University on Saturday, the team ended the weekend on a high note with a strong victory over University of Maine-Fort Kent Sunday.

The Polar Bears also defeated Endicott College on Wednesday evening, 68-48.

The game against Roger Williams was close, with Bowdoin in the lead at halftime. However, during the second half Roger Williams rallied. In the last two minutes of the game, the two teams exchanged the advantage four times. With two seconds remaining and a tied score, Sydney Hancock ’17 fouled Roger Williams’ Angelica Ariola, who made her final free throw to win the game for the Hawks 58-57. Roger Williams went on to win the tournament in its next game.

 Captain Sara Binkhorst ’15 attributed the loss to poor defensive performance and lack of intensity. 

“We didn’t play Bowdoin defense for 40 minutes,” she said. “They took advantage of some of the defensive mistakes that we were making.”

Bowdoin’s 18 turnovers also hurt the team. 

“We had some sloppy passes that got picked off,” said captain Megan Phelps ’15. “We had close to 20 turnovers and it’s hard to win a game [when you have that many.]”

Phelps also noted an inability to connect against a strong opponent. 

“Roger Williams made some big plays down the stretch and we maintained positivity and made some of our own great plays,” she said. “But in the end, we didn’t play as tight as we needed to in order to win.”

Binkhorst added, “I think we had really good looks against their zone, but unfortunately, offensively, our shots didn’t fall.”

The Polar Bears were disappointed but took the loss in stride, turning things around the following day with a strong game against Fort Kent, winning 74-45. 

“Losing our first game to Roger Williams definitely wasn’t what we expected, but I was really proud of how we responded in the second game,” said Phelps. 

On Sunday, the Polar Bears energized their offense, picked up the intensity and regained control over their defense. 

“Against Fort Kent, we came out with our focused intensity,” said Phelps. “We really brought it on the defensive end—tried to really focus in on that because that was a weakness against Roger Williams. There were definitely still some mistakes, but we were hitting shots and that always helps.”

Phelps led the team with 16 points, 13 rebounds and four steals against Fort Kent.
“Megan Phelps really set the standard for rebounding, getting in the passing lane and getting steals, and really inspired us to play that level of defense,” said Binkhorst.

Binkhorst also expressed excitement about the team’s rookie performance. 

“Lauren Petit [’18] really stepped up in that second game, came in with a lot of confidence and shot the ball really well,” she said. “That really inspired everyone.”

Phelps added, “We’re really lucky because we have four super talented freshman. They really came in and embraced our team values and culture and that makes our job as upperclassmen leaders so much easier. I’m sad I only get one year with them.”

Petit also contributed significantly to Bowdoin’s win against Endicott this Wednesday, leading the team with 16 points.  

Following a tight score at halftime, Petit helped Bowdoin dominated the second half and secured a significant lead. 

Going forward, Bowdoin is going to continue working on honing its defense.

“I’d say the majority of our practices have been really focused on defense: playing team defense and having each other’s back,” said Binkhorst. “There’s been a big focus on rebounding, both defensively and offensively, and crashing the boards.”

“If everyone develops the way they can and should, I think the sky’s the limit,” said Phelps.
Bowdoin takes on Bates in the home opener tomorrow at 2 p.m. in Morrell Gymnasium.