First glimpse at women’s basketball

Column by Hunter O. LyleSports Editor

After the first look at the women’s basketball team, with the Owls falling to Yale 64-52 last Tuesday, we were able to get our first glimpse of the team in action — and get the impression that this year might prove to be a fruitful one.

Despite losing to the Division I cross-city rivals, the Owls put up a good fight, especially coming out of the gates. At several points during the first two quarters of play, the Owls lead the game, if only by a few points. Coming this close to beating the Bulldogs instills hope that had this been an matchup against an NE10 opponent, the Owls may have been walking away with a victory.

Last year, the women’s team got off to a hot 5-1 start before injuries snubbed the full potential of their season. Forward Jessica Fressle, a senior who is returning after suffering an injury last season, showed out for her first time back, finishing with 17 points off 46.6 percent (715) from the floor. She also conjured up four rebounds and a steal.

The rest of the team, when looking in the scoring column, had a quiet night. Starting point guard Imani Wheeler, a senior, finished with four, while starting forward Kiana Steinauer, a senior and team captain, had a lowly seven points off 21.4 percent shooting (3-14).

While Steinauer’s stats may have looked dim on the night, this most likely equates to just an “off scoring day.” She was still able to get looks at the rim, even though they were not falling, and managed to grab seven rebounds, showing flashes reminiscent of last year, in which she averaged a double-double in points and rebounds.

The Owls also added a decent amount of depth to their team by way of transfers and incoming freshman. The newcomers add some range to the team, specifically in stretch-guard Blake Greer, a freshman, and in guard Ednaija Lassiter, a redshirt junior from DI level URI. Greer only played a total of nine minutes throughout the game but knocked down one three pointer and grabbed one board. Lassiter finished with six points, all of them coming from behind the arch, and four rebounds and two steals in 22 minutes.

The competition in the NE10 is going to be tough, but the combination of new and returning talents for the Owls look to be promising. If everything can fall in place, and team chemistry is not an issue, Southern could honestly be looking at a title run.

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