The Cabrini women’s basketball team opened up their season with a tournament at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa. on the weekend of Nov. 22.
The team lost their first game against The University of Scranton Royals, but bounced back to win the consolation game and defeat The Washington & Lee University Generals.
On Saturday, Cabrini battled in their first game of the season against a nationally recognized Scranton team.
The Royals opened up the game with the first basket but were quickly answered by a three-pointer by junior guard Kate Walck for the Cavaliers.
Each team would never lead by more than three points. They entered halftime with the Royals up 29-27.
The Royals opened up the second half by making a 13-0 run on the Cavaliers.
Cabrini didn’t put a point on the board until five minutes and 19 seconds into the second half when senior center Kayleen Smith made a pair of free throws.
The rest of the second half, Cabrini never cut their deficit to less than eight points and finished with a final score of 68-57 favoring the Royals.
Junior guard Deana DiAmico was the only Cav to hit double-figures and led the team with 19 total points.
Smith and Walck both added nine points respectively. Smith also grabbed a team high 11 rebounds.
“Some positives were the way we played defense and rebounded,” DiAmico said. “It doesn’t show on the scoreboard because we lost but we really came together as a team in this game.”
“Our effort was there the whole game, we never gave up and that’s a sign of a strong team,” head coach Bernadette Laukaitis said. “If the effort is there I’m happy no matter what the scoreboard says. Our team really showed we have heart and we won’t give up.”
Cabrini played Washington & Lee in the consolation game due to the Generals loss to Dickinson in the first round.
Again, the Lady Cavs were in a tight game. In the first half, there were six lead changes. Cabrini trailed 28-31 at halftime.
The Generals opened up the second half with the first basket, but with a pair of three-pointers by Walck and DiAmico, the Cavaliers took the lead 36-35 four minutes into the half and would not trail again for the rest of the game.
Washington & Lee would only get as close to tying the game with six minutes remaining, but Cabrini’s forceful offense and stifling defense was just too much for the Generals.
The Cavaliers outscored the Generals 44-27 in the second half and went on to win the game 72-58.
Senior forward Brittany McLeod finished the game with a double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
DiAmico, who was named to the all-tournament team after the game, led the team once again with 26 points.
“In the first half it just seemed that we wanted it more than they did. In the second half, we had to come together and we needed to play with more heart and intensity. Once we did that, our offense and defense just fell into place,” DiAmico said.
DiAmico finished the weekend a perfect 11-11 from three-point range.
“We all definitely agreed in the locker room at halftime that we were playing down to their level. We needed to step it up,” Smith said. “We also just needed to finish. We were getting open shots; it just came down to us making them.”
The team looked at the tournament as a whole as a positive experience and a great way to start the season.
With almost the entire team back from last year, the defending conference champions have high hopes and are expecting a lot from themselves this season.
“Our goal as a team is to get better everyday and I think that was the main goal going into the weekend. We wanted to get better from our first two scrimmages and we definitely achieved that,” Laukaitis said.
“I think it was a good tournament to open up with because it prepared us for our season and the tough games we have ahead of us. And I think that we realized that we can play with any team, we just have to play hard and know we can do it,” DiAmico said.
“Everyday we are growing more and really developing as a team. We are definitely ready for the season and to go into conference play with a strong attitude knowing that defense is our strong suit,” Laukaitis said.
“We have to come in ready to play defensively but learning how to play with each other will be the key for us to win the conference like last year.”