New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

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NYU women’s basketball looking for NCAA redemption

After making the Elite Eight two years in a row, the Violets set their sights on a national championship.
NYU women’s basketball sets its sights on a national championship. (Courtesy of NYU Athletics)

The NYU women’s basketball team won their second consecutive UAA title last season and made the Elite Eight — the final eight teams in the NCAA — for the second year. They finished 25-3 overall, tying the fifth most wins in a season in program history. This year, they are looking for even more.

The Violets were close to having a shot at the national championship last year. They lost 63-79 to the eventual winners Transylvania University in a close game up until the fourth quarter where they were always at least 12 points behind the lead.

“Last year, it was disappointing to lose that game,” said junior and team captain Belle Pellecchia. “It was like we should be here, and should have made it to the next round. We came in unprepared and didn’t do the things that we should have done previously in the year.”

Pellecchia earned two consecutive UAA Defensive Player of the Year awards and led the UAA in steals with 72 in the last season. 

“I take pride in the defensive side of the ball,” Pellecchia said. “It just takes effort and hustle to keep the person in front of you. I love it when I’m guarding the best player on the other team and say they average like 15 or 16 points and they score two points. That’s my favorite.”

Despite back-to-back quarterfinal losses, Pellecchia remains staunch about winning another championship. 

“This year, our whole mantra is to not have any regrets, to be more competitive with each other and aggressive,” Pellecchia said. “It’s not even a question of whether we’re gonna win or lose, it’s just that we have to come together.”

The four seniors who were part of head coach Meg Barber’s first recruiting class graduated last year, but the Violets added  eight first-years and three transfers this semester to add depth to the roster. 

“It’s definitely a hard task for them, and it’s going to be a little bit of an adjustment finding this chemistry,” Pellecchia said. “But we have the talent to do so, and we work hard to get to know each other off the court too.”

Morgan Morrison, an electrical engineering graduate student at Tandon School of Engineering, joins the Violets from Smith College. The forward earned Region II Player of the Year and First-Team All American honoree in the 2023 season. 

“The captains have set the culture off the court, to be inclusive and really try to get to know your teammates both on and off the court,” Morrison said. “On the court, Coach wants us to always put in effort no matter what we‘re doing and have high communication.”

The Violets rank second to Transylvania University in the NCAA Division III Preseason Top 25 Coaches Poll.

“There is definitely an expectation from our coach to make the Final Four, and I know a couple of people on the team, including me — we just want it all,” said Morrison. 

The NYU women’s basketball team is set to open their season against the  Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Nov. 10 at the John Paulson Athletics Center. 

“I just want to win a national championship. I would love to do it this year, and I think we have the talent to do it this year. That’s all I really care about,” Pellecchia said.

Contact Jonathan Mak at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Jonathan Mak, Deputy Sports Editor
Jonathan Mak is a sophomore studying Journalism and Psychology at CAS. His mood depends on the Manchester United results, and he can be found obsessing over his fantasy Premier League team, trying to find authentic Southeast Asian food or watching "How I Met Your Mother." Send fantasy PL tips or invites to pick-up football games to @_jonmak on Instagram and @_jonathanmak_ on X, formerly Twitter.

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