Women’s basketball bonds in face of Liberty League

Junior guard Caitlin Drakeley has been dominant as of late, scoring in bunches as she helps push her team into playoff contention. She has also received Liberty League Honor Roll honors. Photo By: Vassar College Athletics
Junior guard Caitlin Drakeley has been dominant as of late, scoring in bunches as she helps push her team into playoff contention. She has also received Liberty League Honor Roll honors. Photo By: Vassar College Athletics
Junior guard Caitlin Drakeley has been dominant as of late, scoring in bunches as she helps push her team into playoff contention. She has also received Liberty League Honor Roll honors. Photo By: Vassar College Athletics

Vassar College’s Women’s basketball team this year has had a busy time during Winter Break. The team began conference play on January 2nd, 2015 and is now about halfway through their Liberty League schedule for this season. The Brewers stand at 7-9 overall and 2-5 in the conference. This tabs them as 6th in the conference currently; however, the Brewers are just one of two Liberty League schools that have only played seven League games thus far. They have 9 League games left this season, giving them plenty of time to move up in the standings.

Junior leader Colleen O’Connell (2016), explained in an emailed statement to the Miscellany News, that the team hasn’t been living up to its potential quite yet but they are incredibly optimistic looking ahead. “I believe our team is really starting to hit its stride now at the right moment. We have about one half of league play left and although we have not performed as well as we would have liked initially, I think our best basketball is right around the corner. It is just a matter of playing with a chip on our shoulders and going out and getting it done from here on out.”

The Brewers began their Winter Break program with their last game of 2014. The Brewer women defeated the Hawks of Hartwick College 51-49 on December 20. The game ended with a thrilling shot by Junior Guard Caitlin Drakeley ’16. Drakely broke a 49-49 tie with a jumper with only 16 seconds left to play. Junior Rose Serafini ’16 had a big block in the final five seconds of the game that allowed the Brewers to maintain the lead and Hartwick missed their final shot at the buzzer as Vassar ended up with the win. Drakeley lead the Brewers with 12 points. She made 5-of-9 from the floor and knocked down two three-pointers in the second half. O’Connell came away with her third double-double of the season and third in four games with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Samarah Cook ’18 had 11 points, 4 assists and 4 steals. Senior Allyson Pemberton ‘15 had 8 points and 8 rebounds. Freshman Ariella Rosenthal ’18 also had a strong game with 7 points and 8 rebounds.

The Brewers then moved on to Liberty League play on January 2, 2015. The Brewers were edged out by Union College 72-68 in their League opener. Drakeley had a phenomenal game contributing 32 points. She was 15-for-29 from the field and she had 29 overall shot attempts. She set the record for the most ever shot attempts by a Vassar player. She also set a school record by topping O’Connell’s previous record of 13 field goals in a single game. Drakeley also had five assists and three steals. O’Connell had another double-double, her fourth in five games and had 10 rebounds, 16 points and went 6-of-11 shooting. Pemberton had 10 points as well. The next day the Brewers played Skidmore and fell 78-66. Rosenthal had a game and career high 24 points and made 9-of-17. She also had 7 rebounds and 3 steals. Drakeley had 22 points and 9 boards. O’Connell had another double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Despite the losses, Draekely was named to the Liberty League’s Honor Roll that week.

Immediately after, the Brewers returned home and took on Bard College on January 6. The Brewers defeated the Raptors 60-40 in their League Home opener. Sophomore Zoe Walker ’17 had her first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds along with 2 blocks. Drakeley had 11 rebounds and 10 points. Junior Alex Moon ’16, returning after being abroad, had 7 points and 4 boards. Rosenthal had 7 points and 8 rebounds. According to O’Connell, playing together during Winter Break is always an important time for her team. “Winter break is always a time of transition and a time for growth and development. I think more than in a basketball sense though winter break is invaluable for us to bond together as a team off the floor, which will always translate into better chemistry on the court.”

The Brewers had a hard fought loss to William Smith on January 16. Drakeley once again shined with 17 points and 7 rebounds. O’Connell had 13 points and 7 boards. Pemberton had 12 points, 4 assists and 4 steals. The women then rebounded the next night and came up with a huge 58-55 win over RIT. The Brewers trialed for most of the first half and trailed by as much as 13 points at one point. Drakeley’s jumper just before the half cut the Tigers’ lead to 7. The Brewers came out strong and scored 11 of the first 13 points of the 2nd half. Drakeley had 28 points, going 11-of-19 from the field, had 6 rebounds and 2 shots. O’Connell had 10 points and 5 rebounds. After this weekend, Drakeley was named the Liberty League Performer of the Week. It was her second selection as the performer of the week this season.

The Brewers took on St. Lawrence University, currently the second place team in the league, on January 23rd. The Brewers were barely edged by the Saints, falling 59-57. Drakeley scored a game best 16 points. Rosenthal had 12 points and 9 rebounds. O’Connell had 11 points and 7 rebounds. All 8 Brewers that dressed for the game managed to score for Vassar College. St. Lawrence just edged the Brewers after scoring a three-pointer with 22 seconds left in the game. This put them up 4 on the Brewers. Vassar managed to halve their lead but fell just short. Despite the heartbreaking loss, O’Connell considers this one of her team’s most memorable moments this season. “I think the moment that best stands out for me is the St. Lawrence game this past weekend. I am so proud of how we played, largely because for 40 minutes we played as one unit and played our brand of basketball. It was a huge step forward for our team and I’m looking forward to seeing how we continue to play…for the rest of Liberty League play.”

On the 24th, the Brewers had a rough game against Clarkson University, currently 4th in the League. They are just one win behind RPI but have a game on hand. Serafini had a career day as she scored 14 points and 9 rebounds. Drakeley had a team-high 16 points. Rosenthal had 13 points and 6 rebounds and Pemberton had 11 points and 7 rebounds. Moon had 7 points, 4 boards and 3 assists. The game was unique in that it featured 52 total fouls and 63 free throws between both teams. After the game, Drakeley once again was named to the Liberty League Honor Roll for the week.

Moving forward, the Brewers are ready to tackle their remaining schedule and are looking to build on their first half little by little, according to O’Connell. “The most important thing for us for the remainder of the season is to take things one step at a time—take each game as it comes, and within each game, take things one possession at a time. When we get the little things done, our big goals can be achieved as well. That being said, we have to take it one step at a time but still remember to be focused and on a mission to accomplish our goals.”

The Brewers are back in action against League-leading Skidmore College. They will play on Friday January 20 at 6PM in he AFC.

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