Women’s basketball boosts playoff aspirations

Nickie Morris, Assistant Sports Editor

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The crowd filled Patrick Gym for a conference game as UVM took on the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

The UVM women’s basketball team won 52-42 against the University of Massachusetts, Lowell Feb. 2

The game began slowly for UVM, who scored just eight points in the first period in contrast to 11 by Lowell.

All of Vermont’s points in the first quarter came from junior forward Hanna Crymble and senior forward Candice Wright.

UVM caught up during the second period as the Cats were down just one point.

In the last five minutes of the second period, Vermont scored eight points and blocked Lowell from any scoring.

Head coach Alisa Kresge said that she already anticipated what was needed to maintain this lead.

“I got there and they pretty much already knew what I was going to say to them before I said it and were discussing the same kinds of things with each other,” Kresge said.

The third quarter changed, as Vermont’s offensive strategy dramatically improved. Crymble lead off with a layup ten seconds into the period.

Wright’s layup three minutes into the period helped the Catamounts maintain their lead.  

She scored 15 points in this game and played all forty minutes.

As one of the few seniors on the team, Candice Wright’s last season at UVM comes with hints of a potential playoff run for the Catamounts.  

UVM is 9-12 on the season with a 5-4 record in the America East Conference, according to UVM athletics.

This positions the Catamounts in a tie for third place in the conference with Stony Brook University, and just three wins short of tied leaders of the conference, Maine and Hartford, according to AmericaEast.com

Although the season isn’t over yet, this is still a vast improvement from last year’s 5-11 seventh place finish.

However, the team is said to be taking the season one day at a time.

“We really are going about it by thinking of our next game to play and taking everything one game at a time and not looking too far ahead,” Kresge said.

“I think we really had to just show some grit down the stretch [after the first half],” Wright said. “Umass is a tough team who really got on our shorts a bit, so we were calm, tough and rode it out.”

Sophomore guard Jose Larkins scored the first five points of the fourth period to give UVM a double-digit lead.

“I think we’ve been really stepping up on defense and really focusing on it in practice,” Larkins said. “It really carries over into the game because our defensive gives us confidence on offense to settle in and make those shots.”

The Catamounts will play their next three games on the road and return home Feb. 16 to play Hartford in one of just three remaining home games for the season.