Cuncic Reigns over Danes

Junior Ashley Cuncic had a standout performance on Wednesday night as the UVM Women’s Catamounts defeated the SUNY Albany Great Danes 90-72 at the Patrick Gymnasium. The Cats dominated the court end to end. On defense, they were impregnable, often utilizing an impetuous press which created twenty-five points offensively from turnovers.

On the attack the ladies were experts. Refined ball control, featuring a smart, efficient perimeter passing game, lead to opportunities for aggressive drives to the hole and smooth kickbacks from passes to the paint, creating excellent shooting opportunities. The Cats shot 57.1% for the match and a stunning 14-20, 70%, from tre world.

Cuncic (pronounced Kunick), who went 8-10 from three point land, finishing with 28 points, humbly accredited her success to her teammates movement on and off the ball. “I didn’t set myself up for any of those shots” remarked Cuncic after the victory.

Her statement embodies the spirit of the team who came into this match up with a commitment to dominate and simply play the way that they are capable of, a reaction to their recent “skid” as head coach Sharon Dawley describes their recent travails in losing five of their previous six contests. Indeed, the win over the Great Danes seems to be the beginning of a new epoch in this season as the tournament approaches. The Cats constitution was one of confidence from the commencement. As the starting lineup was called, it was apparent that these ladies had brought their game faces, yet their visage was one of poise and comfort as they stepped to the court.

The game opened up with a Cuncic three point conversion, a harbinger of what was to come. The half ensued with Vermont’s tight defense and unstoppable offense. The Great Danes, led by frustrated head coach Trina Patterson, were often down by double what the Cats managed to put on the board at any given moment throughout the half, ending with a score of 49-25.

The second half saw a renewed effort by SUNY Albany, lead by the quickness of Tanika Thrower and Sherri Mikus, the tenacity of Alicia Learn and the dominant moves of Danielle Hutcheson (the tallest player on the court at 6″4′). The Great Danes held the Catamounts to nearly five scoreless minutes at the start of the half to a score of 51-37.

Then, playing the role of the evangelical reviver, Cuncic brought out that precise marksmanship and hit another tre ball. From this moment the gap ceased to shrink and the Cats tightened up ball control to create good shots to ultimately finish the half shooting 61.9%. UVM was well-rounded with contributions on Wednesday.

The trinity of senior forwards, Katie McNamara, Tiffany Spinka, and Lani Boardman (season scoring leader with 15.4 PPG) combined for 36 points and ten boards. Boardman had a standout scenario in the second half when she landed a three ball, then, on the Cats next possession, she embarrassed Albany’s defense with a decisive drive to the hole, hustled back to defensive duty and blocked a three point attempt by Albany sharpshooter Jen Schumacher.

The Catamounts’ future looks to be bright as well with the promising play of Sophomore guard Brittney Cross and Freshman forward Alexis Castro. Cross connected on 2 of 3 three point attempts and pulled down four boards. Castro’s aggressive play in the paint resulted in her eleven total points, going four for six in the paint.

Coach Dawley hopes to see more of the same as the Cats keep heating up to set fire to the America East tournament. Dawley firmly asserted, “This is the team we’re bringing into the tournament.”