Both ENC Men and Women’s basketball teams have been leading the school to victory since the new year, as they made it past Martin Luther King, Jr. Day winning four of their last five games.
The women have played well all season with an 11-5 record overall, winning seven of their past ten games. The Lions are looking impressive on the court, leading the conference in the number of rebounds per game at an average of 48.4. They lead over Roger Williams University by eight rebounds per game.
Their play inside the three-point line has been an emphasis of Coach Santimano’s all season. She says, “We really try and stress that it takes zero ability to fight for the ball and go get it. It’s a hard thing to do nonetheless, but we have to crash the boards consistently. It’s like the old Pat Summit quote ‘offense sells tickets, defense wins games, rebounding wins championships.'”
The women’s team has also seen an increase in three-pointers made. Last week, in their game against Western New England University, junior guard Shelby Holmes poured in five of the teams ten three-pointers. Nine of the Lions’ eleven wins so far have come when they made five or more three’s in a game.
Despite their success so far, the women’s basketball team has even more room for growth. One such area is in their number of turnovers. Senior guard Jessica Franco sees this as a key factor to their success down the road. She says, “Looking at the bigger picture, if we cut down our turnovers, just imagine how much easier it would be to win rather than fighting until the end to claw out the win.”
The women’s team looks primed and ready for a deep run in the CCC playoffs, as well as on pace to host their first home playoff game since 1999.
On the men’s side, ENC has gotten hot lately, riding a big victory over top-ranked Nichols College on January 11. Their recent success has been the sum of their improving defense and strengthened offense. Coach Polsgrove credits their recent play to the improvement the team has made in executing his system.
Polsgrove says, “Our execution is getting better, we’re defending better, rebounding better, and we have had a few games where we’ve taken care of the ball better, which helps us not only offensively, but defensively.”
The Lions played their most complete game January 7 against Curry College, scoring 86 points, their highest total in a victory this season. Freshman guards Noah Cheney and Josh Rice combined for 29 points that night, which was a welcomed sight for the two leading scorers Corey Doran and Christian Lynch, who combine for an average of 33 points per game.
“Our freshman have been playing better and better as the year has gone on, especially Josh and Noah who I think will be pretty good in a few years,” Christian Lynch comments in regard to the freshman play this season.
Men’s basketball finds themselves in the thick of the playoff race as well, also looking to host a playoff game this postseason.
With less than 10 games left in the season, both teams are in 5 for standing in the conference and are looking to ride this momentum through to the end of season.