Women’s basketball rolling into March

Winners of four blowouts in a row and six of their last seven, UVM’s women’s basketball has solidified a three seed or better in the America East Conference tournament at the end of the season.Sitting at 10-3 in conference play after a 70-48 victory against UNH on Sunday, it is now mathematically impossible for the Lady Cats to fall out of the three seed in the A-East tournament, which begins on March 12 in Hartford.Following a defensive battle against Albany on Valentine’s Day where Vermont topped the struggling Great Danes of Albany, 48-32, the Lady Cats traveled to Stony Brook on Feb. 17 with hopes to duplicate their 35-point victory against the Seawolves back in January.Although Vermont did not win as definitively this time around, the Lady Cats still notched another quality win, outscoring Stony Brook 69-53 in the Seawolves’ Pritchard Gymnasium.The victory was highlighted in large part by great play off the bench from UVM’s role players. Senior Sy Janousek and junior Sofia Iwobi came off the bench to score eight points and grab five rebounds each. Junior Courtnay Pilypaitis flirted with a triple-double, amassing 13 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.The standout for the Lady Cats in the contest, however, was senior Kelli Poles, who came off the bench to score 11 points and bring down an impressive 19 rebounds in 24 minutes. “Kelli Poles did a terrific job on the boards for us and made sure Stony Brook was one and done on the offensive end,” head coach Sharon Dawley said following the victory. “Had Stony Brook been able to get second and third opportunities, it would have been a different game.”In the month of February, Poles is nearly averaging a double-double, with 10.7 points per game and 9.8 rebounds per game. The Lady Cats record is 6-1 over that stretch, with their lone loss coming in a 64-61 overtime defeat to undefeated (12-0) conference rival Boston University.As for Vermont’s remaining games, a key matchup at Hartford on March 4 is sandwiched between a game at Maine on Feb. 25 and the Lady Cats’ final home game against Binghamton on March 7, with tip-pff set for 1 p.m. at the Patrick Gymnasium.Although it isn’t clear now – and Vermont shouldn’t look ahead to future opponents – a win against Hartford could get them the No. 2 seed in America East and more consideration come postseason tournament time.LADY CATS TOP NEW HAMPSHIRE WILDCATSUNH: 26-22 – 48UVM: 31-39 – 70Points in the paint: UNH 14, UVM 28 Points off turnovers: UNH 9, UVM 24Second chance points: UNH 9, UVM 19 Bench points: UNH 19, UVM 21