The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Women’s basketball extends winning streak to 4 against St. Francis, UMBC

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The women’s basketball team has found its footing in out-of-conference play.(Photo by Hannah Ally for GoLeopards)

The women’s basketball team (4-3 overall) continued its successful out-of-conference run this week, beating Saint Francis (0-7 overall) on Sunday and UMBC (1-6 overall) on Wednesday on the road to extend its winning streak to four games.

The Leopards entered the game against Saint Francis on Sunday already riding a two-game winning streak, while Saint Francis had yet to win a game this season. Despite what appeared to be a mismatch in form, senior guard Makayla Andrews said the team did not take their competition lightly.

“We’ve been in [Saint Francis’] position before,” Andrews said. “We know that desperation to win. We knew we had to keep up our momentum and not just settle in.”

After a tight first quarter, the Leopards were finally able to gain the advantage. The team outscored Saint Francis 18-7 in the second quarter, with three-pointers from junior guards Halee Smith and Abby Antognoli paving the way.

“We did a great job moving the ball and finding our open people,” Andrews said. “We were knocking down shots and getting stops on defense.”

Late in the third quarter, however, the Red Flash began a surge of offense that saw them cut the Leopards’ lead to just seven. 

Saint Francis would make the Leopards pay for their sloppiness by snatching the lead late in the fourth quarter, with a Red Flash three-pointer turning what had once been a sizable lead into a four-point deficit.

“It’s one of our Achilles heels,” Andrews said. “We’ll start off great, but one of our biggest hills we have to get over is finishing games and finishing them with a win.”

The Leopards would find an extra gear in the final minutes, and thanks to clutch free-throw shooting from Antognoli, were able to regain the lead. The Maroon and White were able to lock down the game on defense in the nick of time, only surrendering one point in the final two minutes of the game.

“We really had to lock in to getting a stop, not fouling, and really sticking to the game plan,” Andrews said.

The win saw the team erase its 0-3 start to the season and get back to .500. Andrews led the team with seven rebounds.

The Leopards then traveled to Baltimore on Wednesday night to face off against the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Golden Retrievers. Looking to add another tally to their win streak, the Maroon and White went into the game looking to limit the Retrievers’ offense by clogging interior passing lanes and forcing the guards to take bad shots on the periphery.

“We knew that their guard play was a little weaker, so we knew that we needed to attack them and pressure them whenever possible and force them to shoot shots that they’re uncomfortable with,” Antognoli said.

Antognoli had her best scoring night of the season, notching 25 points and going five-for-nine on three point shots. While Antognoli’s success showed on the stat sheet, she is more focused on her on-court presence.

“I think I was able to lead the team on offense by being vocal and making sure everyone was in their spots and keeping the same energy on defense as well,” Antognoli said. “I feel like I brought the energy we needed.”

The Leopards are looking forward to their final four games of out-of-conference play before Patriot League play begins in January. Bringing the winning momentum of the last four games will be crucial for the team, who will face tough opponents in Rutgers, Notre Dame and Dartmouth in the coming weeks.

Andrews noted the satisfaction of having the team’s hard work start to pay off.

“It’s great,” Andrews said. “Obviously, we had a rough start to the season, but as my dad always tells me, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. We’re learning from it and continuing to push forward.”

“We’re getting really good at finding the open person and making extra passes,” Antognoli said. “We’ve talked a lot about finding the right shots. In the past, we’ve taken a lot of good shots, but we’re starting to find the great shots which is really exciting to see.”

Grace Sanborn ’25 contributed reporting. 

Correction 12/1/2023: A previous version of this article misstated the number of points senior guard Makayla Andrews scored in the St. Francis game. She scored five. 

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Martin Familetti, Staff Sports Writer
Come On You Spurs.

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