Women’s bball loses 3rd tournament game

Coach: ‘They played just awesome’


Riverhawks forward Lacey Hinkle goes for the ball in the team’s final game at nationals.

Chance Iheoma, Photo Editor

AACC Women’s Basketball lost its final game in the NJCAA Division III Tournament on Saturday.

The team left the three-day Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, tournament with three losses and no wins.

The 101-77 loss on Saturday against University of Connecticut: Avery Point came during the Riverhawks’ second game in the consolation bracket. The team played Hibbing Community College on Friday.

The Riverhawks lost their opening game on Thursday to Hostos Community College, which went on to win the national championship game.

Despite the losses, Riverhawks Women’s Basketball coach Lionel Makell and the players said they were grateful for the opportunity to play in the tournament.

Makell, who recently won NJCAA Coach of the Year for District G, said he couldn’t be prouder of the team.

“From playing three games back to back to back, 121 minutes, and they played like it was our first game—I can’t ask for any more,” Makell said.

Center and first-year transfer studies student Sarah Healy said she’s glad she and her team could make it.

“It feels good considering at the beginning [of the season], no one thought we’d even win a single game,” Healy, who contributed 23 points and 18 rebounds in the game against UConn said. “So a lot of progress has been made which is nice.”

The team went on to win the Division III Regional Tournament, which qualified the Riverhawks for nationals.

Before the final game at nationals, the team, which has just six players, planned to play strong and use the same strategy that helped them win the regionals.

“[Our game plan from the start] was to find the key players and guard them,” Caitlyn Stanbery, a guard and first-year nursing student, said.

The team played a consistent man-to-man defense; however, the referees called several fouls on the Riverhawks throughout the game.

This came to a head in the fourth quarter, when guard and second-year sports management student Hannah Lieb fouled out.

Healy and her teammate Stanbery said the team displayed great ball movement.

“I think everybody had a good game,” Stanbery, who added seven points and six rebounds against UConn, said.

However, Makell said he didn’t concern himself with the other team.

“Whatever the score was, it was,” Makell said. “But for them to finish the season like that, with that type of effort … they played just awesome.”

Makell said he felt proud that the players made it to nationals.

“They got an experience of a lifetime,” Makell said. “You’re one of eight teams in the country at our level.”

The Riverhawks spent the tournament going against teams with more players. For comparison, UConn Avery Point had 10 players and Hibbing Community College had nine.

Stanbery said the key to playing well with a smaller roster is to communicate on and off the court so the team can adjust.

“We all communicate,” Stanbery explained. “If I’m not feeling well, everybody knows,  ‘OK, we’re going to have to step up.’ But if I know one of the girls isn’t feeling the best, then I try to step up and help that way.”