The UNB Saint John women’s basketball team opened their 2016-2017 season playing host to visiting Mount Saint Vincent University Mystics.
The Seawolves put up a furious battle to open the game but it slowly slipped through their fingers as the game progressed on.
The Mystics came out with the win over the Seawolves 90-48.
“It was our first regular season game and a win was nice to get this under our belt,” says Mystics head coach Mark Forward.
Guard Nyka Riego of the Mystics came out and scored 15 points and added 4 rebounds and 4 steals.
On the Seawolves side, fourth year forward Allyson McLaughlin shot an efficient 11-18 from the field with a total of 24 points while adding eight rebounds and a block.
After the game, assistant coach Brad Van Steeg commented on the team’s performance.
“We are a young team right now and facing a very mature MSVU team who is very composed was a learning experience.”
Injury has plagued this young Seawolves team since preseason and has cut their roster from 10 to 8 players.
Before the half, the Seawolves lost their starting point guard Kelsey Simon which further shortened their roster down to only seven players to finish out the game.
The Mystics took control of the second quarter with a scoring difference of 27 – 8 walking into the locker room at half up 47 – 20.
“It is a team effort. It’s everyone committing and relying on one another to get this win today,” stated Brandi Miller of the Mystics.
“Playing MSVU teaches us how to handle pressure but we kind of beat ourselves up due to unforced turnovers,” states Van Steeg, referring to the 42 points scored by MSVU off of the 35 Seawolves turnovers.
Out of halftime, the Wolves tried to power back into the game but the Mystic maintained their position throughout the last two quarters of play.
“We’ve been on the road all preseason, this being our twelfth game. Our main focus is defense and rebounding and we did that today,” says Forward, talking about his team’s preparation.
MSVU completed their weekend with a close win over Saint Thomas on Sunday and now sits at 2-0 early in the season.
The Seawolves meanwhile sit at 1-1 after winning their season opener last weekend in Moncton where they faced the Crandall University Chargers.
Seawolves looking to build on last year’s record
This season the wolves retain six players from last year’s squad that endured a not-so-successful season but are looking to turn it around this year.
Last season, the women’s team ended with a losing record with many difficult games throughout the course of the regular season.
Building from last year, the young team is ready to take on the league with a chip on their collective shoulders.
During the offseason, coach Kevin Munroe and assistant coach Brad Van Steeg have recruited some new faces to help bolster their roster.
Out of high school, we see Autumn DeMerchant (Woodstock, NB), Emily Fitzpatrick (Miramichi, NB), Brooke McKinney (Rothesay, NB) and Sophie Sharp (Lower Millstream, NB) joining the squad.
“We have a very good group of first years and not only on the court but off the court we get along very well and it is the best team I have ever been a part of,” praises second year guard Kelsey Simon.
In pre-season action, the team travelled to Maine for a weekend full of games where they squared off against Machias, Maine and defeated them.
“Compared to last year we scored a lot more in any game we did last season and I believe that this season is going to be a lot better,” said Simon.
As for how the pre-season went for the rookies, guard Autumn DeMerchant is connecting with her new teammates very well and has many positives to take from pre-season action.
“Out of high school, pre-season has really shown me the difference. It is a more upbeat and exciting style of basketball. Our Maine trip was an amazing experience than anything I’ve ever played in,” said DeMerchant.
“The atmosphere was wild during the games being the away, if we were at home I think it would have been a different story and we could of beat them all,” said DeMerchant about the weekend where the women came away with a record of 1-2.
With the regular season now under way this, the Seawolves appear ready to jump out and take on the league by the horns.
“We want to be in playoffs that is our goal and be successful,” stated Simon.
UNB Saint John will travel to Mount Allison University to take on the Mounties this Sunday, November 13 at 3:00 P.M. All the action can be streamed online at ACAABasketball.com.