NYU’s basketball season began Saturday with a thrilling opening day doubleheader at the Coles Sports and Recreation Center, which still tentatively remains the home of the Violets despite original plans for closure this semester. The women’s team scorched their way to a victory, while the men picked up the pace in the second half to cruise to their first victory of the season.
The women, ranked fifth in the Division III preseason polls, started the festivities with an impressive 94-79 victory over Stevens Institute of Technology. The Violets trailed for only 18 seconds in the first half before putting on an offensive show. Junior guard Kaitlyn Read led the way, scoring 32 points on an efficient 8-10 shooting. She was perfect from behind the arc, going 5-5, while also tallying six defensive rebounds.
The Violets finished with a 52.7 percent field goal percentage and an even more impressive 61.1 percent clip from downtown. They led in a number of statistics, including points in the paint, assists and second chance points. Important contributors included senior captain Megan Dawe who continued her consistent play from last season. The forward heated up in the second half, scoring 16 points and racking up eight rebounds.
The Violets only briefly fell behind Stevens, but they then stormed back with an 8-0 run, outscoring Stevens 28-18 through the rest of the opening frame. Read provided the early spark, scoring 11 points in the first 10 minutes of action.
“We all have the confidence that we can be great, but being ranked fifth and then having this strong win proves that we deserve this kind of recognition,” Read said.
Except for a brief run by Stevens, the Violets maintained their double-digit lead throughout the second half, keeping Stevens at bay. Junior and sophomore guards Amy Harioka and Drew Cabral were ball distributors with eight and six assists, respectively.
“Lookng ahead, we are going to have to work on boxing out and rebounding, as those defensive stops will allow us to maintain control of the game,” Dawe said.
The men followed the ladies with a victory of their own, grinding their way to a 75-53 win over Purchase College. Also playing from behind for just 18 seconds, the Violets regrouped after an inconsistent first half to open up the scoring. Senior forward Evan Kupferberg and senior center Costis Gontikas were the high-scorers for NYU, combining for 36 points and 13 rebounds.
The first half was sloppy for both teams. Although the Violets built an 11-point lead, it wasn’t as smooth as they would have liked. The team shot 37.5 percent from the field, which was still better than Purchase’s 29.2 percent clip.
The Violets seemed to be a different team in the second half, outscoring Purchase 44-33. With a lead as high as 29, they cruised to the finish. Sophomore guard Ross Udine, coming off a solid freshman campaign, posted an assist-heavy 10 point and 12 dime double-double in the win.
“We knew what we had to do but we just needed more energy,” Udine said. “I think we showed that in the second half.”
The men return to action at Coles next Saturday against Moravian College. The women play the next day, also at home against MIT.
A version of this article appeared in the Nov. 16 print edition. Email Michael Thompson at [email protected]