Women’s Basketball Wins Five of Seven, Third in NEC

While there was break from classes, there was no break from basketball. The women’s basketball team played eleven games in the past month, going 6-5 over that span. They stand at 8-11 overall and 5-3 in conference play.

On Monday night, the Hawks played host to in-state rival Fairleigh Dickinson where they came out with a 61-53 victory. Sara English recorded her first career double-double, with 10 rebounds and 12 points. Gabby Singer led all scorers with 15 points.

“We definitely had a size advantage,” said the six-foot four-inch English. “I know I have to be more aggressive, especially on the offensive boards. They didn’t box out sometimes and it was just easy to get in position.”

 “I thought our team really improved with our energy level and being able to play defense as a team,” said head coach Jenny Palmateer. “I think we’re a work in progress and we have to continue to play as a team, get stronger as a team, minimize mistakes; keep working towards improvement each and every day.”

Going all the way back to December 22 against Delaware, leading scorer Alysha Womack was sidelined with injury. She missed four games, but has since returned to the lineup.

In the time Womack missed, the Hawks turned to Chevannah Paalvast to be the scorer. She averaged 14.3 points in the games without Womack. In an 81-64 win over Wagner, Paalvast scored a career-high 24 points and matched a career-high with eight rebounds.

“When (Womack) went out with the injury, (Paalvast) was able to kind of step in and fill the scoring role for us,” said Palmateer. “She’s done a great job with that and I think she’s kind of carried that. She continues to grow and improve and has proven that she can be a scorer for us.”

On December 30, the Hawks traveled to Duke to take on the No. 4 ranked Blue Devils. It was the final game of non-conference play. MU struggled out of the gate, and only made one field goal in the first half. Turning the ball over 29 times, MU was defeated 73-32. Paalvast had a team high 15 points in the loss.

After going 3-8 in non-conference play, the Hawks were set to start Northeast Conference games on January 5. They opened up at Mount St. Mary’s with a loss, 70-51, before winning their next two games.

“I think it helped playing the tough teams that we played out of conference in the beginning of the year, said Singer. “Going against some of the best presses that you can see; we have a lot of experience and I think we’re doing pretty well with (the press).”

The Blue and White beat Robert Morris 58-47 on January 12 in a true team win. Major contributions were made up and down the roster. Carly Thibault and English scored 14 points apiece to lead the scoring attack. Singer grabbed a career high 10 rebounds and Paalvast added eight boards.

Womack saw her minutes gradually increase over the next few games. She scored 14 points in 19 minutes off the bench against St. Francis (Pa.), then played 25 minutes against LIU Brooklyn, scoring a team high 18 points on 7-15 from the floor. In 34 minutes against St. Francis (N.Y.) Womack tallied 21 points while back in the starting lineup.

Playing LIU Brooklyn, the Hawks overcame a 15-point deficit to complete a shocking comeback. Paalvast drove the lane and converted a lay-up with 3.6 seconds left to propel the Hawks to a 63-62 victory.

After a loss on Saturday, January 26 against Sacred Heart, MU was able to regroup in a big defensive showing against Farleigh Dickinson. Singer called the Sacred Heart loss a reality check.

“We kind of came together, had a little team meeting after the game in the locker room,” said Singer. “Coming up with ideas on how we can increase our energy and intensity. This is a team led by a bunch of seniors. It’s our last go at it. We have one chance and we have to play for each other.”

The win over Fairleigh Dickinson will go a long way for the confidence of this team. MU is currently tied with three other teams for third in the conference.

The Hawks next play against Bryant in the MAC on Saturday, February 2 at 3 pm.