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Basketball heads into final half of season

Contributed photo. Sophia Gatton, ’17, takes a shot in a recent game.

By Mira Braneck

Men’s Basketball

The men’s basketball team started the 2016-2017 season strong, going 4-0 in conference and 6-0 at home. Winter break brought a streak of away games, in which the team won only one of their five games. However, after a big at-home win against Ripon College on Jan. 21, the team is feeling good.

“We’re back on track now,” said Jacob Ekstrand ’18, a forward on the team. “That game was a lot of motivation — motivation, and also kind of a start-our engines.”

Contributed photo. Vinny Curta, ’19, is the top Men’s scorer.

The team stayed on campus for most of the break, spending up to four hours at the gym each day. Most of the players went early to practice shooting, then stayed late to lift or take more shots.

“I guess it’s kind of like what it feels like to be a professional athlete, because you’re just here with the teams, living in the dorms, just playing games … so it’s kind of a fun way spend a month on campus by ourselves,” said Nick Curta ’17, another forward.

“It definitely made us come closer as a team,” said Vinny Curta ’19, who is currently the top-scorer on the team despite typically playing as a guard. “Everything kind of goes through me, so if I’m not producing then it’s probably not going to turn out great for us.”

“Which he has been lately,” Nick Curta interjected, pointing out that his teammate and brother had scored 35 points against Ripon College and 28 against Monmouth College, a game that ended in a tough loss.

“A big thing about how we play is energy,” Ekstrand said. “If we bring energy to any game, we can win. But we can also lose to any team, if we just look over our opponent. So it’s kind of dangerous.”

“We’re just excited Saturday to play at home, finally, in front of a home crowd,” Nick Curta said. Men’s basketball will be playing at home against Lawrence University, a team that they have previously beat, tomorrow at 3 p.m. They are currently 10-6, going undefeated at home.

Women’s Basketball

Women’s basketball suffered three consecutive losses at the start of their winter break trip. But they finished strong, winning their next three games before losing at home on Jan. 21 in a crushing 61-35 loss to Ripon College.

“This past Saturday, the wheels just fell off,” said Sophia Gatton ’17. “We ended up beating ourselves a bit, just with the turnovers and defensive breakdowns. A lot of it was mental. Our focus wasn’t really there.”

The team is using the tough end to their winter break to come back even stronger for the rest of the season.

“Ending the winter break on an unfortunately low note is giving us the energy and momentum to just [say] ‘ok, we’re not in as good as a position as we thought, we still need to work hard, we’re not safe if we still want to make it to the tournament’,” said Alex Neckopulos, ’17.

Before their road trip, the team was on campus practicing every day. “We have two hour practices, but then we have a lot more time to just get shots up by ourselves and really have basketball be our main priority,” Neckopulos said.

Head Coach Dana Harrold was not initially present for practice as she had just had a baby. The team started out practicing with only the assistant coach. “It was a little bit of an adjustment,” Neckopulos said.

But Harrold was back very quickly, returning to practice only two weeks after giving birth. “She’s such a tough lady,” Neckopulos said. “Two weeks after pregnancy she was walking around the gym.”

The team is excited for the rest of the season. “Even though we had a

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