Taylor Viles – 1851 Staff
The women’s basketball team hasn’t finished above sixth place since they joined the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) in 2007. In fact, these Lasers haven’t enjoyed a winning season during those 12 years, but something about this current team is different.
Lasell began the season 4-0 for the first time in the history of the women’s basketball program. The victories they’ve been handing opponents have been lopsided, with the closest scoring margin being 16 points in a game against Northern-Vermont Johnson on Nov. 16. They rank third in the GNAC with 72 points per game. Their first loss came on Nov. 23 against UMaine-Farmington.
“We have really good leadership and…a large group of upperclassmen,” said veteran head coach Todd Montana on the hot start. “This group is connected… They listen and work and buy into the things we need to do. But more importantly, they care about each other.” Senior guard Amanda Ortiz has been a force early on. The second-year Laser is averaging 21 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 3.3 steals per game. These stats have her ranked in the top six for their respective categories in the GNAC.
The senior guard is doing what was expected of her this season after outstanding play just a year ago, but her stats thus far blow last year’s out of the water. During a recent tournament, Ortiz was awarded an “all-tournament player” which is given to the best players who participate. She was also awarded well deserved GNAC “Player of the Week” honors.
“This offseason I tried to implement something new into my game,” said Ortiz. “I worked to improve [my three-point percentage]…which was one of my weaknesses… now I’m more confident in that.”
Although Ortiz is one of the reasons for the team’s early success, she’s not doing it alone, as players like senior D’Asia Allen help reinforce the offense. Allen has only started a couple of games during her two-year Lasell basketball career but man- ages to make a huge impact off the bench. The guard is third on the team in scoring, averaging 10.3 points.
“One of the things I love about [Allen] is, [she] doesn’t get caught up in whether
or not her name is announced at the beginning of the game,” said Montana. “She
gets caught up in whether or not she’s helping our team win… She really helps
our rotations click by accepting that she’s going to be our ‘sixth man.’”
Not only have the Laser’s started out strong, they have done so completely on
the road. “It’s been a nice character reveal,” said Montana. “They sat on a bus for four
hours on Saturday [Nov. 16]. You have to mentally put yourself in the right mind
frame to do that.” Their first home game came six games into the season against
Framingham State on Nov. 26.
Lasell is looking to continue their winning ways as the season rolls on. “I want our team to do really well and continue to compete and have great energy,” said Ortiz. “[I just want us to] have fun with it.”