Hawks match tough Camel defense to end semester with a win

Britney Dixon, Sports Manager

The Roger Williams University women’s basketball team fought to the finish in a matchup against Connecticut College on Sunday, Dec. 10. Roger Williams came out on top with a 68-62 victory against the Connecticut College Camels and their physical defense.

Entering today’s game, Connecticut College had only one loss on their schedule from their season opener against University of St. Thomas. Since, they’ve had a six-game sweep.

On Sunday, the Hawks ended that streak.

“[Connecticut College] is one of the best teams in New England and they’re one of the best teams that we’re gonna see all year,” said Head Coach Kelly Thompson.

The Hawks prepared for the high-level play by focusing as much as they can on their own game. According to Thompson, Connecticut is bigger than RWU in almost every position — especially in the front court.

The Camels outrebounded RWU 37-26; a season-low by far for the Hawks. Senior forward Mariah Nicholas lifted the team average with seven rebounds, but even for her, that number was slightly below average.

In the paint, the Hawks were able to excel on Sunday with 38 points from inside. Senior captain Anna Walther helped the team with 24 points. Nicholas was another leading scorer on the game with 12 points.

“I think Anna Walther did a great job of timing her cuts and that led to a lot of great openings down the lane,” Thompson said.

While Walther was able to stop and see her openings to the basket, the team was able to stop, score and stop past the high-aggression defense the Camels brought to Bristol.

The Hawks run a drill in practice titled stop-score-stop to work on how to get past these physical teams. Competing against physical teams such as Connecticut can cause a wall of emotion to build up in front of each player. However, according to Thompson, breaking down that wall is as simple as stopping and thinking about the game one possession at a time.

“Good teams are gonna go on runs, just like we do,” Thompson said. “We really try to narrow it down to what our execution is going to be.”

This was the Hawks’ last competition this semester. Entering the second half of the season, 8-2 puts a target on their back as they look toward a schedule filled with Commonwealth Coast Conference games. Roger Williams currently sits 2-1 in CCC play.

Sophomore guard Sam Leone looks to finish up rehabbing a right foot injury over the break and return to the court next semester, as well.

“To play a team of that caliber, come out with a win and enter the break at 8-2, I couldn’t be happier with this team,” Thompson said.