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The Blue & Gray Press | December 17, 2017

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Women’s basketball continues hot streak

Women’s basketball continues hot streak

By MIKEY BARNES

In sports, one often hears the quote, “There is no ‘I’ in team.” It is a phrase that promotes the importance of teamwork and emphasizes success can only be achieved when it is a group effort. The University of Mary Washington women’s basketball program has overcome adversity and, with their strong work ethic as team, has rallied to continued success this season.

“Unity” is the motto for the women’s program this season. It was instituted by 12th year head coach Deena Applebury.

“Unity is our team’s focus on and off the court,” said Applebury. “If we want to be successful, we must play for each other and for the good of the group.”

Senior Caitlin Ciniero, among other members of the team, said they are all in favor of the mission.

“I love it. It really creates a team. Teamwork and bonding both on and off the court has really led to our team success,” said Ciniero.

With a current record of 15-4, 11-1 in the Capital Athletic Conference, the Lady Eagles, led by head coach Deena Applebury, are a force to be reckoned with after tearing apart their opponents this season. The women have won seven straight games and nine of their last 10, with only one victory by a margin less than 10, a 5-point victory against rival Christopher Newport University.

The Eagles’ lone loss in the past 10 games came against the current 19th ranked Salisbury University Seagulls by a margin of six points. In their last nine victories, the women’s team has won by an average of 22 points a game over their opponents, all but one of those victories coming against conference opponents.

The Eagles are currently second in the conference behind Salisbury, who the Eagles will meet on Saturday, Feb. 7.

During this streak of success, the Eagles have been led by head coach Applebury, sophomore captain Brianne Comden, senior captain Claire Haeuptle and fellow senior Caitlin Ciniero.

Comden is currently leading the team with just over 13 points during the season and just under 16 during the streak, with multiple 20-point performances. Haeuptle is second in points, with nearly 10.5 a game during her senior season and her own share of 20-point performances during the streak of success.

Prior to the win-streak, Ciniero had one performance of double-digit scoring, but she has had three straight now, including a 15-point performance against Frostburg while shooting 100 percent from the field at 7-7. Ciniero has been a real catalyst for the team’s success, most notably after the injuries to freshman Kelsey Dean and senior Aubrey Howland.

A number of other members of the women’s program have stepped up in recent weeks. Freshman Kendall Parker scored a career and game high 22-points against Frostburg in their Jan. 28 matchup, in which UMW won 88-44. Parker also scored a game high 16-a-week prior in their victory over rival CNU.

Junior Sarah Listenbee is another Eagle who has stepped up big as of late, with three double digit performances in the last seven games, including a near double-double where she fell one rebound short against York College.

“Even after their injuries, [Dean and Howland] have continued to remain big assets for the team with their cheering and overall support,” said Ciniero. “With everyone stepping up, it really shows what depth we have. All of us are very big as a team. [It’s] nice to be able to rely on everyone.”

The Eagles are a well-rounded program that has not allowed the injuries to some key players or withdrawal of others to ruin the team’s push for success and attempt to return to the ever so desired NCAA Tournament.  As long as the ‘I’ stays out of the word ‘team,’ it is very much possible that the success for the ladies will continue in their favor.