By Nick Jacobs
With the season more than halfway over, the fifth-ranked University of Mary Washington’s women’s basketball team is running over CAC rivals and closing in on another Sweet Sixteen appearance
The latest 82-58 win over Wesley College on Saturday is a testament to the depth and skill the Eagles have on the court. They are now 14-1 overall and 7-0 in CAC play.
Junior forward Ashton Mitchell led Mary Washington with 19 points and eight rebounds while All-American senior Liz Hickey earned her third CAC Player of the Week award by adding 12 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, her third straight double-double.
The Eagles played a back and forth match throughout much of the first half. Both teams played aggressively racking up ten fouls for Wesley and seven for Mary Washington. The Eagles closed the half with a 10-3 run to lead by 12 at the half, 37-25.
After making minimal half-time adjustments, head Coach Denna Applebury led her team to a 22-6 run over the Wolverines.
“We needed to move the ball more,” Appleburry said. “We were trying to do things a little too quickly so we went out there, moved the ball and let things happen. Everyone was taking it upon themselves to get things started instead of together and once they started to play together, that is when we started getting better looks and higher percentage shots and separate the lead.”
The Eagles were 13-22 from the floor in the second half. Mary Washington was sent to the foul line 17 times in the second half where they were 16-27.
With a strong lead and powerful momentum, Mary Washington was able to show-off their entire bench.
Eight players played a total of 17 minutes or more during the game with sophomore guard Brooke Davies adding 12 points off the bench. Sophomore Erica Lowe and freshman Christina Rivituso played for three minutes each.
Junior Guard Katy Larson took advantage of her team’s offensive momentum, hustling to the net on every turnover and managing to take advantage of numerous one on one opportunities.
“We always work on playing team basketball on both ends of the court,” she said.
Larson contributed 10 points and eight assists.
The win over Wesley came as no surprise to the fans and players, but the team knows very well that each game is a chance to improve.
Hickey saw this game as a chance to work on some of the team’s seasonal adjustments.
“Recently the team has put some new defenses into the game plan,” she said. “We typically play a man defense but occasionally throw in a few zone presses.”
This has worked well so far adding, “last week we defeated Marymount at Marymount to gain the number one spot in the CAC. Previously Marymount was undefeated in the CAC.”
Likewise, Applebury viewed this match-up as a very important opportunity for her team.
“We needed to be able to match up with these guys man to man and be able to slow them down,” she said. “Some areas we did a good job and some areas we didn’t do a good job, so that just gives us an idea of some things we do need to work on. Even though we are a really good team, we definitely have areas of weaknesses that we need to improve on.”
The Eagles will have plenty of chances to work on their game plan at home, with six of the remaining ten games played at home.
Katy Larson makes it a point that the next time her team takes the court they will continue to strive for perfection.
”Our team is successful because we take each game one at a time and take no opponent lightly,” she said. “We understand that if we don’t come to play every night, anything could happen.”