Slow start yields winning results with patience

Hamline women’s basketball opens 2014-2015 season 0-2 but has a big weekend in Roseville to climb the standings.


Paul Patane

The Pipers women’s basketball team played their home opener at Hutton Arena last night and will have two more home games before winter break.

Paul Patane, Reporter

Women’s basketball opened their season with four road games before their home opener at Hutton Arena last night. After a slow start in Eau Claire, Wis. the Pipers picked up the pace in Roseville to improve to a record of 2-2.

Senior guard Jordan Sammons had a great start, but the Pipers had a rough weekend in Eau Claire, Wis. on Saturday, Nov. 15 and Sunday, Nov. 16. The team fell to UW-Oshkosh 60-86 and UW-Eau Claire 50-78.

Much of the Hamline offense came from Sammons. She scored 30 points against UW-Oshkosh and 19 points against UW-Eau Claire. Sophomore guard Chelsey Bonsante chipped in with 13 points and 8 points, respectively.

Instead of losing their composure over early season losses, the team doubled down and focused on turning things around in Roseville this past weekend. The Pipers defeated North Central 68-56 on Friday, Nov. 21 and Northwestern (MN) 82-75 in an overtime thriller on Saturday, Nov. 22.

In the victories, Sammons scored 25 points against North Central, and 24 points the following game while scooping up 20 rebounds against Northwestern (MN). Bonsante chipped in with 15 points against North Central and 31 points against Northwestern (MN).

On the road, Sammons averaged a double double with an impressive 24.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and three steals per game to add to her stat line. Bonsante contributed with 16.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and two steals per game.

Being a senior and a team leader is important to Sammons as she hopes to exit on a high note.

“I’m hoping to break the all-time scoring record, and I’m getting close to the steals record,” Sammons said.

While Sammons wants to cement her legacy as one of the best women’s basketball players in Hamline history, she cares most about her team winning.

“I want to win more than we lose and make the MIAC playoffs this year,” Sammons said.

Bonsante also has bold goals this season.

“I would like to be right there behind Jordan, leading offensively. Also, we’re looking to push for the playoffs and contend for the MIAC championship,” Bonsante said.

Bonsante appreciates Sammons’ ability and leadership and has learned a lot from her.

“She’s really fun to watch and play with. She’s a leader by example. She’s the hardest worker in the gym and it really inspires me and the other players,” Bonsante said.

Sammons didn’t like the slow start but felt the team’s first two losses came primarily due to a breakdown in team defense.

“We just need to fix our communication on defense, it comes from experience,” Sammons said.

Bonsante also noticed the slow defensive start but suggested things should turn around quickly.

“We’re getting better at communication on defense. We’re rotating better and we’re getting better with chemistry,” Bonsante said.

Bonsante spent a lot of her preseason focusing on improved defense and has noticed a big jump in her defensive play from last season.

“Defensively, I’m a lot stronger and can hang out with anyone in the post. I have a feel for where my teammates will be so I can set up some shots,” Bonsante said.

Part of the early season struggles and lack of good defense has come from having several new faces on the team, including first-year forward Alex Peterson. The six foot tall Peterson is  adapting to collegiate basketball but is already getting respect from her older teammates.

“Alex Peterson is so impressive in practice. She’s so strong going for offensive rebounds,”  Bonsante said.

In the opening four games of the season Peterson averaged 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.

The Pipers finished ninth in the conference last year with a 7-18 (6-16 MIAC) record. The 2014-2015 MIAC Women’s Basketball Preseason Coaches’ Poll projects Hamline to finish in seventh place.

Women’s basketball returns to Hutton Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 3, as they take on St. Mary’s. Their last home game before the start of winter break will be against Concordia on Saturday, Dec. 6.