By MIKEY BARNES
Basketball is back for men’s head coach Marcus Kahn and the rest of the UMW men’s basketball team. Coming off a disappointing season last year, which followed up an Elite Eight appearance in 2014, the Eagles are looking for a different outcome. Last year’s team boasted a brand new look, with only four returners on the team and a whole new coaching staff, led by Kahn. The new look Eagles led by Kahn and then senior Taylor Johnson finished last season 8-19.
This year’s UMW Eagles is led by nine returners and some key freshmen as well as transfers.
They opened up their season on the road against the No. 22 ranked team in the nation, the Randolph-Macon Jackets. The older and experienced Eagles traveled to Ashland, Virginia ready to pull off the upset. An early back and forth start between the teams created an exciting game in the earlier parts. The duo of sophomore Eric Shaw and junior T.J. Jones helped separate the Eagles from the Jackets for a seven point lead at the 9:35 mark in the first half, in which they would not trail afterwards.
UMW went on a 10-0 run in the early parts of the second half to give them a 15 point lead. The lead would get as high as 22 points for the Eagles. A 53.2 shooting percentage from the field for the Eagles held them cruise to a 17 point victory.
The UMW men’s team was led by Jones, who finished with a game high 26 points. Junior Asa Scott cleaned up on the boards for UMW, grabbing nine rebounds. The men’s team were back in action Wednesday, Nov. 18 as they dropped a nail-biter to Lynchburg College 77-72 on the road.
The Eagles were led in scoring again by Jones, who finished with 16 points. Freshman Mark Madison also had 16 points on the game. Junior Haden Thompson finished with 12 points in just six minutes of play. The Eagles dropped to 1-1 on the season.
The UMW women’s team, who had a quite successful season this past year under head coach Deena Applebury, returned hungry and ready to create greater success. Applebury and the Eagles finished 20-7 on the season last year and was the runner-up in the CAC championship game.
After the loss of a few seniors from the years passed, the Eagles have added a few key freshmen and look to junior Breezi Comden and senior Megan Green to lead the team this coming season.
The Eagles opened up their season against Lynchburg College on Nov. 16. Comden and freshman Elizabeth Dofflemyer led the Eagles in the early parts of the game as the two combined for a bulk of the Eagles points in the first quarter as they broke out to a 16-11 lead. This year the NCAA implemented quarters into women’s basketball for the first time. A variety of Eagles contributed in the second quarter to help the team to a 16 point lead, as they took the second quarter 23 to 12.
Sophomore Taylor Barton and Dofflemyer scored all but one point of the team 13 points in the third quarter. Barton scored three baskets herself and Dofflemyer scored on a three-point play on an and-one layup alongside a long-range three point basket. UMW went into the fourth quarter with a 19-point advantage 52-33.
In the final quarter, it was very back and forth as both teams scored 15 points apiece. The Eagles finished the 19 point victory 67-48, to open up the season 1-0. Comden was the leading scorer with 16 points, Dofflemyer finished just behind her with 15.
On Nov. 20-22, the women’s team will be competing in the Hyatt Place tip-off tournament at home in the Anderson Center. The women’s team first game will be played Friday at 7:00 p.m. The men have their first home game of the season Saturday at 7 p.m. when they play host to Shenandoah and Hampden-Sydney on Sunday at 3 p.m.