The women’s basketball team is enjoying a strong start to the 2019-20 season, with a 6-1 overall record. Averaging 92 points per game, the Violets have focused on their three-point shooting and scoring in transition. Alongside this offensive firepower, the team has also emphasized lockdown defense, leading to huge scoring margins of 98-66, 91-47 and 99-18 across their first three games.
“We talked about what we wanted our identity to be,” CAS senior and captain Annie Barrett said. “We decided that was our defense, scoring threes and layups in transition.”
Prior to the season, the team prioritized team chemistry in order to prepare, which Head Coach Meg Barber believes is playing a large role in their success.
“We returned quite a few upperclassmen, and then, we had this influx of very talented freshmen as well,” Barber said. “But you’re always unsure of the chemistry, and certainly we put an emphasis on work ethic. Our team has brought that every day, and that has really raised the bar of what our expectations are going forward.”
The players are in the process of adapting to the new system and style of play.
“It is very different from last year, we’re pushing the ball a lot more in transition,” Barber said. “We have a lot of capable scorers, so it’s just trusting the team to take the best shots.”
“It was definitely a drastic change, at least from my freshman to sophomore year, because of how different the coaching styles were,” Steinhardt junior and guard Janean Cuffee said. “But after playing with her for a year, you start to understand the system wants to play in and how the pieces of our team fit into that system.”
The team’s only loss came in a narrow 65-74 defeat against Cabrini University.
“It was their home opener and I think we just let the nerves get the best of us,” Cuffee said. “We hadn’t had an important away game yet. So, that’s always a learning experience.”
It was one of the few defensive lapses from the team this semester — something Barber hopes her players will learn to eliminate from their game.
“The scoring will always be there for us,” Barber said. “It’s a matter of being able to stop the other team’s run. I think we’re always going to be able to answer that run, it’s just a matter of not letting the game get away before we have that opportunity.”
The Violets’ next game is on Dec. 7 at 1 p.m. against St. John Fisher College.
“Long term, we will have more goals for this program, but right now it’s about our upcoming games,” Barber said. “Ultimately, this year is to be competitive with the top of the UAA.”
A version of this article appears in the Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, print edition. Email Bin Cho at [email protected]