Women’s Basketball advances to NESCAC playoffs

With two league wins at home this past week, Colby Women’s Basketball has qualified for the Quarterfinal Round of the NESCAC playoffs, ending the regular season 12-11 overall (4-6 NESCAC) and in fifth place in the NESCAC standings. Colby finished in a three-way tie with Connecticut College and Williams College, but earned the higher seed due to head-to-head victories over both teams.

The Mules will play away at No. 4 seed Middlebury (16-7 overall, 6-4 NESCAC) on Saturday February 18, with tipoff set for 4 P.M.

This is the second year in a row the Mules have earned the No. 5 seed. Last year, Colby defeated No. 4 seed Connecticut College in the Quarterfinal, only to fall to No. 1 seed and runner-up Tufts in the Semifinal Round. The team graduated three key seniors at the end of the season, and has a new coach at the helm in Brittany Gaetano, rendering the team’s accomplishments this season even more impressive. Prior to this past week, however, the Mules’ playoff hopes were grim—after splitting their first four league games 2-2, the Mules suffered four consecutive league losses, dropping their league record to 2-6.

On Friday, February 10, the Mules convincingly defeated the Connecticut College Camels 56-41, aided by a 46-25 rebounding advantage (17 offensive rebounds) and the Camels’ struggles from deep (0-10 on threes). At the end of the day, Colby was among five teams in the NESCAC with 3-6 records.

The Mules followed up their win with another the next day, defeating Wesleyan 55-38. Despite a 42-31 rebounding disadvantage, the Mules soundly defeated a Cardinals team that struggled shooting from the floor. The Cardinals had an abysmal shooting night, making only 29.4 percent of their field goals, 20 percent from three, and did themselves no favors at the free throw line, shooting an anemic 4-12. Shooting 39.2 percent from the floor (23.1 percent on threes) the Mules were by no means an offensive force, but unlike Wesleyan they made the most of their opportunities at the free throw line (80 percent on 15 attempts).

Center Emily Davis ’19 filled up the stat sheet with 17 points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals, and two blocks. Guard MK Caverly ’17 scored ten points and dished out nine of Colby’s 14 assists, and guard Caitlyn Nolan ’17 contributed across the board in 30 minutes with two points, two rebounds, two assists, a steal, and no turnovers; for both this was their final home game.

The win clinched the Mules a playoff spot, but the team remained in suspense about their seeding until the outcome of Sunday’s matchup between Bates and Williams. In their league games with Bates and Williams, the Mules lost the first and won the second, respectively—if Bates won, the Mules would have lost the tiebreaker and would be seeded No. 6. Luckily for the Mules, Williams defeated Bates, slotting Colby at No. 5. The team looks to continue their win streak against Middlebury. But having already faced Middlebury in a 64-49 loss, the team could be facing an uphill battle on Saturday.

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