Basketball freezes the competition over J-Term

PHOTOS COURTESY OF SMITHPIONEERS.COM

Smith’s basketball team goes into the final stretch of the season with a winning streak.

Madeline Hubbard ’19 | Sports Editor

Smith basketball heads out of January and into the final stretch of their season riding a five-game winning streak. The team carried an 8-2 record over J-Term and swept the NEWMAC competition with a 7-1 J-Term record. The Pioneers head into their next conference games third in the standings, with an overall conference record of 8-3. On Dec. 30, the team won a hard fought battle against the College of New Jersey. TCNJ held the lead for the majority of the game and gained a nine-point lead with only seven minutes remaining in regulation time. Smith hadn’t given up, scoring nine consecutive points and taking the lead with five minutes left. Smith ended the game on top 72-67.

On Jan. 5, at the start of J-Term, the Pioneers had their first NEWMAC matchup of the year at home. After MIT came out hot in the first quarter, the team struggled to gain traction as the game progressed. The Smith team managed to tie the score twice that evening, but MIT’s unrelenting defense kept senior captain and the Pioneers’ top scorer Lauren Bondi ’19 at bay. Katy McClellan led the team with 15 points and seven rebounds. The game ended 67-54, with MIT handing Smith their first loss since Dec. 8 against Emerson College.

Unshaken by the defeat, Smith headed into their next NEWMAC at WPI that Tuesday, Jan. 8. The Pioneers started off the match strong and generally continued to hold the lead, especially in the fourth quarter. Bondi had a strong game, becoming Smith’s all-time leader in three-pointers. The team left Worchester elated from their 68-48 win.

Smith won a big Saturday game against the Seven Sister NEWMAC team of Wellesley College. The Pioneers started off the game elevated, taking the lead right away and never looking back. Katy McClellan ’19 was instrumental to the game, giving the team their biggest lead by netting 13 points and five assists. The team finished comfortably with a score of 66-43.

In a Tuesday evening game against Middlebury College, Smith was unable to close the lead the Panthers had accrued the whole match. Smith still managed to end the game with a close score of 73-60. Kennedy Guest-Pritchett ’19 was on fire that night with her eighth double-double of the season, raking in 19 points and 12 rebounds, moving her to the all-time rebounder in Pioneer history. Despite her strong game and a full team effort, the Pioneers couldn’t get past the powerhouse of Middlebury.

A matchup against Mount Holyoke proved to be a blowout when the Pioneers netted 82 points to the Lyons’ 17. Dashelle Gleissner ’22 and Katelyn Pickunka ’22 were able to shine with 12 points each. Smith defense was exceptional, causing only a 15 percent shot percentage for the Mount Holyoke team.

Smith met Emerson in Northampton on a Saturday afternoon, hungry for a win after their loss to the team earlier in the season. The match was neck and neck for the first three quarters, both teams fired up and eager to win. Emma Seymour ’19 secured the game in the fourth quarter with 11 points in 16 minutes off the bench, ending the game 68-59.

Following that NEWMAC win, the group entered the matchup against Williams College with the confidence needed to beat the team for the first time since 2003. Guest-Pritchett was instrumental to the win, starting the game with an 11-point lead and netting 17 more in the match. Smith was able to keep the lead, with 18 points from Bondi and 15 from McClellan. The Pioneers coasted to a 75-61 win by the end of the fourth quarter.

The Coast Guard sailed into town only to get their ship sunk by the Pioneers. Guest-Pritchett made history, raking in her 1000th rebound during the first quarter; she is the first person to collect 1000 rebounds in Pioneer history and also the first to amass 1000 rebounds and points. Bondi also had a stellar game, with 28 points landing six three-pointers. The team gained a lead early in the first quarter and continued to play hard, ending the game comfortably 83-59.

The Pioneers traveled to Wellesley for the second matchup in January against the Blue. Similar to the first game, the Pioneers held the advantage, with Bondi scoring a 26-point game and Sydney Koh ’19 adding 15 of her own. Guest-Pritchett added 10 rebounds to the game and helped the Smith team dominate the fourth quarter. The team was elated to bag another win and bring the overall season record to 15-5. Their next home game is against NEWMAC rival Mount Holyoke at 7 p.m, Feb. 6. Come and show your support for your very own Smith Pioneers in Ainsworth Gymnasium.

SportsSophian Smith