The Vassar College women’s basketball team started off their winter break season on a high note. The Brewers had one of their biggest wins in program history when they defeated No. 3 Montclair State University on December 11th in a thrilling 63-58 game. Senior forward Hannah Senftleber, in particular, had one of the best games of her career. She was named to the D3hoops.com Scoutware National Team of the Week, named the Eastern College Athletic Conference Upstate Women’s Basketball Player of the Week, and Liberty League Performer of the Week. After this performance, the Brewers entered into the break ranked No. 20 in the nation according to the USA Today Coaches’ poll and No. 23 in the D3hoops.com poll.
The team first traveled nearly 2200 miles to participate in the Vegas Hoopla Tournament in Las Vegas. The women had their first game of the year against the formidable Amherst Lord Jeffs. Amherst had lost just two regular season games over the past two years. The Brewers played a hard fought loss to the Lord Jeffs, falling 66-53 in the end. Senior Cyndi Matsuoka led all scoring that evening. She finished the evening with 18 points overall, going 7-of-15 from the floor. Senftleber had 14 points, making five of her ten shots from the floor. Sophomore Caitlin Drakely also had a great game with 11 points and five rebounds.
Women’s basketball next faced Gwynedd Mercy University. Matsuoka had a season best 28 points but the Brewers were unable to find the win and lost 82-74 in the end. The Gwynedd Mercy University Griffins had a strong game but despite that Matsuoka ended up 10-of-21 from the floor, had six rebounds, seven assists, and three steals. This placed her just one assist behind Vassar’s all-time assist leader Erin Harper ’04. Senftleber added 15 points, nine rebounds, and hit all nine of her free throws. Drakeley had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Junior Guard Michelle Foreman had seven points, and Sophomore Rose Serafini had six points, four boards, and nine blocks.
The Brewers returned home ready to add a few wins to their record. The next faced Hartwick College. The Brewers had an exciting game against the Hawks, particularly in the 2nd half. The teams exchanged leads eight times along with six ties. The Hawks managed to tie the game 65-65 with just eight seconds left in the contest. The Brewers took a timeout and once play resumed, Matsuoka drove and dished the ball to Junior guard Allyson Pemberton ’15 with just .8 seconds remaining in regulation. The Brewers won the contest 67-65 and brought their record to an impressive 7-2. Matsuoka had 16 points, making six of her 10 attempted field goals. She also had 10 assists. Senftleber had 11 points and eight rebounds and Pemberton had 10 points. Drakely had eight points and eight boards, Junior Nyah Berg ’15 had nine points, and Serafini had six boards, four caroms, and a block. This was the Brewers’ last non-conference game before they opened Liberty League play against Skidmore.
The Brewers’ first conference game came against Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. The Brewers managed to bring their record to 8-2, 1-0 in the Liberty League after pulling out a 58-50 win against the Thoroughbreds. Senftleber scored 22 points for the Brewers, making nine of her 15 shots as well as taking nine rebounds. Matsuoka finished with 13 points and five assists. Drakely had seven points, eight rebounds, and three steals. Serafini had nine caroms.
The team went on to defeat Union College 64-56 in a hard fought win against the Liberty League foes. The Brewers only held a lead for 5:23 of the game but managed to finish strong. The Brewers had four players give out double figures. Matsuoka was once again excellent, with 15 points, making 6 of her 11 shots, including 3-of-7 from deep. She found herself just 31 away from surpassing Brittany Parks’ all time scoring record of 1,582. Matsuoka ended up being fouled out for the first time in her career. Drakely had 12 points, 8 rebounds, and went 5-of-16 from the floor. Janowski had a career-best 10 points. Pemberton had 10 points and three steals. Berg had eight points. Senftleber had 15 rebounds and nine points.
The program next went on to begin a five game home stand with a Liberty League contest against the William Smith College Herons. The Brewers finished the game 9-3 overall, 2-1 in the Liberty League after the 73-63 loss to the Herons. Senftleber had a game-high 19 points after she made all 11 of her free throw attempts. Matsuoka had 13 points and 5 assists. Drakely had 11 points.
The Brewers’ next game was a home game against RIT which saw records being broken by not one but two seniors. First, Senftleber reached the milestone of 1000 points as she scored the first 2 points of the game to reach her 1000th. With just 9:32 left in the game, Matsuoka ended up surpassing her former teammate Brittany Parks as Vassar College’s all time high scorer. After scoring 25 points, Matsuoka broke the previous record of 1582 points and now has 1589. Senftleber now has 1006 and after a stellar performance of eight points, she now is shooting 93.8 (60-64) from the line this season. Matsuoka other than her 25 points was 9-of-12 from the floor and making all six of her three pointers. Drakeley had 16 points and 5 rebounds. Senftleber had 9 rebounds added to her eight points. Pemberton had eight points, seven rebounds, and two steals. Foreman had six points and five caroms. Serafini had 10 boards for the Brewers.
The Brewers’ final game before classes resumed was on Tuesday January 21 in a 79-61 win against Bard. Matsuoka scored 22 total points with four assists and three steals. Drakely had 16 points also with four assists. The Brewers will next play at home in the AFC against Clarkson University on Friday January 24th at 6 PM.