Women’s basketball team beats Franklin Pierce University 71 – 63

Bobby Martinez – Sports Writer 

Coming off an eight point overtime loss to Stonehill College, Owls women’s basketball got back to their winning ways as they defeated Franklin Pierce University 71-63, giving them their 11th win on the season.

Right from the tip-off, the Owls got off to a quick start where they controlled the first six minutes of the game grabbing a 10 point lead,  16-6. As a team, the Owls started the game with a lot of energy, a type of energy that has helped them last month when they won a season high six straight games. Owls head coach Bert DeSalvo, said his teams energy right from the beginning of the game, really played a major part in taking a 37-31 halftime lead.

“We’ve,” said DeSalvo, “have been trying to string in 40 minutes of basketball especially since Christmas break where we have been sluggish at times. We have to play consistent basketball so we’ve been focused getting out early. We had an early lead and I thought that kind of guided us throughout the game.”

One thing that has helped the Owls tremendously this season has been limiting turnovers, an issue the Owls had in the beginning of the season where the Owls turnovers played a major role in some of their losses.

In the first half, the Owls only turned the ball over two times in a half where they shot 16-35 from field goal range (45.7 percent) and 3-8 from 3-point range (37.5 percent). DeSalvo said limiting the turnovers has helped his team win a lot of games and has been a key factor in winning close games.

“It’s huge,” said DeSalvo. “It’s been great because we are trying to play fast. I think the tempo we are trying to play at, trying to score as many points, can help any team. But I think for us, the way we are trying to play, that is crucial, and I think we are starting to figure that out.”

DeSalvo added, “A lot of it has to do with spacing and understanding the offense. I think they’ve been patient with it and it’s been great so far.”

Despite the Owls six point halftime lead, the Ravens weren’t going down without a fight. The Raven’s clawed their way back into the game where at one point, with 15:00 left in the game, took a one point lead, 44-43.

With a strong first half performance by Charette where she had 13 of her 18 points, DeSalvo credited his team’s defense in allowing Charette to just five points in the second half.

“They have a post player that is a really good player [Charette],” said DeSalvo. “She averages 18.9 points a game. She finished the game today with 18. But she really had to work for them. She had 13 in the first half and just 5 in the second.”

But despite the Raven’s second half surge, the Owls managed to close out the game with the help of senior Mariah Hankton’s consistent scoring for the second game straight. Hankton scored 20 points in the game, 10 in each half.

DeSalvo said she has improved her game tremendously thus far in comparison to the beginning of the season where she didn’t see a lot of playing time.

“Mariah had a great week,” he said. “She had 18 against Stonehill, and 20 today. She averaged 19 for the week. For her, she is being aggressive. Early in the season, she wasn’t playing as much either. We talked, and I just told her if you’re going to be out there, you have to be aggressive and be a scorer. She has been doing a real good job lately.”

Senior guard, Sydni Lester, who finished the game with four points and two steals in 30 minutes, said her team has struggled against Franklin Pierce last season and to win this time, was something they wanted to achieve.

“It was a very important win for us today,” said Lester. “We have fallen to Franklin Pierce twice last year. They ended our season, so we just wanted to come back and get the win, especially on our court.”

Lester also said the team’s chemistry so far, has been the best it has been all season.

“The chemistry is amazing,” she said. “We are now able to identify others strengths so that has helped us a lot with pushing forward and getting wins. We are a family.”

With the win against the Ravens, the Owls improve to 11-9 on the season, 8-4 in the Northeast-10 Conference.


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