This season, the Vassar women’s basketball team has had great success under the guidance of Head Coach Candice Brown and seniors Hannah Senftleber, Jarae Farrell and Cydni Matsuoka. Currently, the team’s record is 15-3 and they are a very impressive 6-0 on the road. The Brewers are currently on a six-game winning streak including their two most recent wins over Liberty League opponents RPI (81-60) and Bard (85-40) where they impressively scored over 80 points in both games.
While the season has certainly been very strong so far, the coaches and players are determined to finish with a deep playoff push. In an emailed statement Coach Brown wrote, “I hope that we can continue to play good basketball and peak at the right moment. If we could win the next 11 games, which will put us in the round of the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA tournament that would be something else. I expect that our seniors Hannah Senftleber, Cydni Matsuoka, and Jarae Farrell will do whatever it takes to help our team be it’s best down the stretch has they have helped begin to create winning traditions here for our program.”
The players and coaches clearly think alike are very optimistic about how the season will end. As for what her expectations for the end of the season are, junior guard Michaela Janowski stated, “Semifinals, Championship, NCAA game win.”
Senior captain Cydni Matsuako clearly shares her enthusiasm, “We hope to finish out the second half of the season unbeaten, which would secure our spot at number 1. I, personally, would like to beat William Smith on their home floor because it is something that we have never done in our program’s history.”
The road ahead will be difficult, but the players and coaches feel that as good as they have been so far, they still have a lot of potential going forward. Senior captain Hannah Senftleber said, “Personally, I feel like we are still reaching our potential. We have yet to tap into the full potential of everyone individually, and then everyone working together as a unit. I feel like this will come with time, and I can’t wait to see where it brings us. I am extremely excited.”
Coach Brown agreed about the team’s potential saying, “the season is going very well so far. We have played a strong schedule and competed in every game we have played. I believe we are playing good basketball now but we have not reached our full potential.”
One aspect that has benefited the team so far has been their incredible dynamic. When asked to describe it, Senftleber replied, “Something about the women’s basketball team that we pride ourselves on is how well we get along not only on the court but also off the court. Ever since I have come into this program as a freshman, I have had a group of friends who have always been there for me, and it hasn’t changed over the four years. Good team chemistry is something that should never be taken for granted, and I have been lucky enough to part of a group who truly enjoys being around each other.”
Coach Brown added, “We are a very tight knit team. It is nice to coach a group of people who genuinely love each other. We are truly a family.”
Like any team, Vassar women’s basketball has its leaders, most notably Matsuoka who currently leads the team in scoring averaging 16.8 ppg, while shooting .489 from the field and .500 on three point shots. She also leads the team in steals averaging 1.8 per game and leads the entire league in assists averaging 5.7 per game. Despite her incredible performance, every member of the team still plays an important roll and can be called upon at any time according to Matsuoka, “We have a small team so every player must be ready to make an impact on the game when their name is called.”
In order to achieve their goals for this season, the Vassar women’s basketball will be looking at the fans for support. Coach Brown says that the next three home games will be key, “I would like readers to know that we need their support. We have 3 more home games 2/14, 2/15, and 2/18 and we would love for them to come out and be the 6th man!”
Senftleber also praises fan support so far and asks for even more, “The fan support this year has been wonderful. Being at home and hearing the fellow Brewers cheer you on is a great feeling. Keep it up! It does not go unnoticed.”
Janowski adds “Come out and support, a lot of close games, come from behind wins, and all the excitement you could ever hope to experience in one jam packed hour. It’s EPIC.”
Matsuoka wants readers to know that Senior Night is February 15th at 2p.m. against Liberty League rival Union College. This year’s seniors (Matsuoka, Farrell, and Senftleber) make up Coach Brown’s first recruiting class at Vassar.
The team feeds off the energy of the fans so make sure to attend the last three home games. On Friday, Feb 14, the Brewers will face Liberty League opponents Skidmore College at 6 p.m. The next day, the team will play Union College at 2 p.m. followed by a game against the RPI Engineers at 6 p.m. on Feb. 18. All games will take place in the Athletic and Fitness Center.