Allie Rooney '16 Sports Editor
The basketball team got its season started this past weekend by going one to one and finishing as runner-ups of the 22nd annual Tyler Tip Off hosted by the Pioneers. Endicott College, Rivier College, and Middlebury were the other three teams that participated in the two-day tournament.
Smith’s first game was on Saturday, Nov. 15 where the team faced Rivier College. With Rivier being one of the top scoring teams among all of division three programs in the country last year, it was essential for Smith to limit the Raider’s scoring opportunities and to take full advantage of their own. Smith’s defense came up in clutch, forcing Rivier into 18 turnovers and limiting them to 58 points. The Pioneers won the game 67-58.
The biggest help for Smith on Saturday afternoon, though, was their bench. 37 of the teams 67 points came from bench players. 30 of the bench points came from first-years Sam Alakai, Meghan Holland, and Paige Marquez. Each of them had 10 points for the Pioneers, proving to be significant contributors to the team’s first win of the season. Starters for the Pioneers were Amanda Barriscale ’17, Mandy Castro ’17, Jade Chihara ’17, Tia Karapoulios ’16 and Alyssa Barrett ’15.
Castro led the team in scoring, contributing 13 points, while classmate Chihara dished out six big time assists for the Pioneers, added two points, and led the team in minutes played with 28 minutes. Karapoulios was two rebounds away from recording a double-double, scoring 10 points and adding eight rebounds, along with serving three assists.
With the victory, Smith moved on to the championship game where they faced Middlebury College on Sunday Nov.16. The Pioneers came up short in the final game, losing 50-67. The Pioneers found themselves in foul trouble very early into the first half, allowing Middlebury easy points at the free throw line where they shot above 80%. Free throws accounted for 30 of Middlebury’s 67 points.
Once Middlebury began capitalizing on its free throw opportunities, it was difficult for Smith to make a significant comeback. Smith’s only lead was by one point very early into the first half. Amanda Barriscale ’18 had a double-double for the Pioneers, scoring 10 points, and grabbing 10 rebounds. Classmate Paige Marquez ’18 had 11 points for Smith. Senior captain Alyssa Barrett ’15 had seven points during the game. Mandy Castro ’17 and Shannon Saywell ’16 each chipped in five points as well.
Amanda Barriscale ’18 was named to the All-Tournament Team for the weekend.
Karapoulios stated, “As a team, we learned a lot as a team this weekend. We got some of the early season jitters out. We are a very young team and just need to focus on getting better each game.”
Smith will host Keene State on Nov. 22 at 2 p.m. The Pioneers do not begin NEWMAC play until Dec. 3, where they will host Springfield College for a NEWMAC title rematch from last season.