By Rebecca Osowski – Features Editor
Following a two-point loss on Thursday to Elms College, the women’s basketball team was looking for a strong performance to get back on track. They did so on Saturday versus the Johnson and Wales Wildcats, a team with only two wins. After a slow first quarter, falling behind 6-0 and trailing 12-10 going into the second quarter, the Lasers broke out, defeating the Wildcats 50-38.
The second quarter performance and dominance on the defensive end of the court set up the win for the Lasers. The home team went on a 16-0 run in the second led by first-year guard Juju Nealy, and ended the half leading 26-12.
“[Nealy] has been an awesome addition to our team,” Head Coach Kelley Sundberg said. “As a freshman, I think we have asked her to do some very mature things, very upperclassmen-like duties for our squad, so she’s been doing a great job and she’s been very coachable.”
In addition to Nealy’s 14 points and strong performance, Coach Sundberg also praised senior guard Marie Zampano, who finished the game with seven points and three steals, junior guard Sheridan Blaha (five points and three rebounds), and first-year forward Jess Carney. First-year forward Mia Sullivan-Sanders also filled up the stat-sheet, closing out the game with six points, eight rebounds, five steals, and two assists.
“[The win] keeps us going in the right direction. I think we have been having some good dialogue, especially this past week… People coming off the bench came to play which is really good. I think Sheridan had a really good performance; Jess has been very steady for us,” Sundberg said.
The Lasers dominated on all ends of the court, collecting 40 rebounds, 11 assists, 18 points from the paint, and scoring 24 points off 27 forced turnovers throughout the game.
With Saturday’s victory, the Lasers move to 8-10 on the season and 6-6 in the conference. They will host Elms College on February 7 at 7 p.m., looking to redeem their loss to them on Thursday.
“For us to make adjustments of what we say in the first game and be able to put that into play on Monday is going to be pretty important for us. I would be pretty stoked for our players to be able to get a win,” Sundberg said.