Tipping off the college basketball season for the country, the women’s basketball team beat down on Bryant University 93-57 Friday afternoon to start the year 1-0.
Right from the tip the Pirates went to work. Guard Shakena Richardson forced a steal at half court and drove down the court to make an easy layup for the game’s first bucket.
From there, the Pirates used an entire team effort to take down the Bulldogs with four out of the team’s five starters scoring in double figures. Forward Tabatha Richardson-Smith led the charge, scoring 25 points for the Hall while grabbing five rebounds. Richardson and Aleesha Powell scored 17 and 14 points, respectively. Meanwhile, forward Tiffany Jones added 13 points, three rebounds and three blocks.
As a team, the Pirates shot consistently from the field, connecting on 50 percent of their shots for the game – along with 48 percent from three-point range.
Head coach Tony Bozzella was pleased with his team’s performance, especially the energy they played with right from the start.
“I thought the kids came out with a tremendous amount of energy, but more importantly poise with the energy,” Bozzella said. “We had a great crowd, it was exciting, and sometimes that gets you away from it. They did exactly what they’re supposed to do.”
Aside from shooting well, the Pirates played tremendous defense, holding Bryant to 30 percent shooting from the field and 21 percent from deep. The Bulldogs also turned the ball over 25 times throughout the course of the game.
Guard Ivory Bailey scored 21 points for Bryant, while the team’s other starting guard, Tiersa Winder, added 11. The backcourt mates accounted for 32 of the teams 57 points, as no other player scored in double figures for the team.
Richardson believes that defense will continue to be the Pirates’ ultimate weapon, benefiting the offense as well.
“I think that’s what our bread and butter will be,” Richardson said. “Our athleticism dictates on defense more so than anything. Then with younger point guards, or any point guards, get them flustered and under pressure. I think that transitions into offense for us.”
Richardson-Smith added much of the same sentiment.
“Obviously we’re going to score. But when you make turnover, after turnover after turnover, you get pumped. You have fun while beating the other team.”
Next up, the Pirates will take on in-state rival Rutgers when the two clash at Walsh on Monday, Nov. 16. The game will tip-off at 7 p.m.
Dennis Chambers can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @DennisChambers_.