Women’s basketball drops to UAA competitors

The previous few weeks saw the Carnegie Mellon women’s basketball team travelling to compete in Mexico, Ohio, and Rochester.

In the Caribbean Hoops Showdown in Mexico, the Tartans lost in hard-fought battles to both La Verne and Concordia-Austin, 56–65 and 56–60 respectively. The players then traveled to Ohio, where they rebounded to claim a win over Wittenberg University 78–74, before finally conceding to John Carroll 45–72. Next, the Tartans traveled to play the University of Rochester, where they lost 54–65 in their UAA season opener.

Last week, the Tartans returned home to host the Bethany College Bison, the Brandeis University Judges, and the New York University Violets. Following intense action and clutch free throw shooting, the Tartans held on to edge the Bison 71–68 on Monday before falling short to the Judges 56–74 and then later also to the Violets 38–50. With this, the Tartans dropped to 7–7 overall and 0–3 in the UAA.

In the match against La Verne in Cancun, Mexico, junior Stacie Aleski led the team in scoring with 15 points, while junior Ashley Rothwell added 12, and sophomore Paige Williamson 10. Junior forward Rachelle Roll contributed 8 rebounds and a game-high 7 assists. Points in the paint for the Leopards seem to make the difference as they put in 24 to the Tartan’s 8.

Against Concordia-Austin, Aleski once again led the team with 16 points while Rothwell added 14 and Williamson 11. The Tartans fell behind by 17 points in the first half, but outscored the Tornados 40–32 in the second period. However, this did not seem sufficient as the Tartans finally conceded to the Tornados 56–60.

Against the Bison, a pair of double-doubles (accumulating double-digit numbers in two categories points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocked shots) from Roll and Feola propelled the Tartans and gave them a well-deserved win. Carnegie Mellon reeled off nine straight points in the second half to take the team’s biggest lead of the game at 46–34 with 16:38 remaining. Bethany then fought back to cut the deficit to two points on a lay-up by Goode with 16 seconds left, but Roll hit both free throws on the other end of the floor to bring the Tartan lead back to four. Bison first-year guard Tara Harris then nailed a three-pointer, making the score 69–68 with eight seconds left, but Aleski was fouled and hit both her free throws to seal the win.
“This team works very hard not only during the season but also during the off-seasons,” Roll said. “We know that we still have a lot to work on but I think the positive attitude of this team and the determination to have a winning season is really vital to the outcome of this season.”
Roll finished with a game-high 17 points and a career-high 17 rebounds to lock up her second career double-double. Feola also collected 17 points to go with career-highs of 14 rebounds and seven steals for her fourth career double-double.

On Friday, the Tartans took on the Judges. Strong rebounding and stifling defense by the visiting Judges proved to be too much for the Tartans as they lost 74–56. Brandeis jumped out to an early 12–4 lead after a jump shot by senior guard Kiersten Holgash, but Carnegie Mellon narrowed the Judges’ advantage to 14–12 thanks in part to back-to-back three-pointers from Aleski and Williamson.

However, Brandeis gradually extended their lead in the second half, leading by as much as 26 before winning by 18. Feola led the Tartans with 15 points and nine rebounds while Aleski collected a career-high seven steals and Roll earned a career-high three blocks. Aleski finished with 13 points and Williamson contributed a season-high 12 points.

In the final game of the week against NYU, neither NYU nor Carnegie Mellon had much success offensively in the first half with NYU going into halftime leading 24–17. The Violets shot 28.6 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes and the Tartans shot 25 percent. The Tartans were down by as many as 15 points but managed to narrow the margin with a basket from junior forward Jeannette Schilling, capping off the game.

“We held a nationally ranked team, in fact third in the country, this weekend. Next week, we are going to need to play as a team and then we’ll be successful in our UAA season. We need to play strong. Our only way to be successful is to play off each other, play as a team, build up positivity,” said sophomore Paige Williamson. “Making the ECAC [Eastern College Athletic Conference] tournament and ending the season at .500 are our main goals for the end of the season. Our next step is to beat Case Western and Emory this coming weekend. We need to play solid defense and get rebounds.”

The Tartans look to bounce back on Friday, Jan. 25 when they will travel to Cleveland to play Case Western Reserve University.