Young and Full of Potential

Sebastian Lena

The scoreboard showed the UMass Boston Lady Beacons down 20 points to Eastern Connecticut, the second-ranked team in the conference, with a little over seven minutes left to play. This would have been the perfect time for any young team to lose all confidence and throw up the white flag. However, the UMass Boston women’s basketball team isn’t just any team.

In less than three minutes, the Beacon’s went on a 16-0 run to cut the deficit to only four points. They would eventually lose the game, but overcoming adversity in a hostile environment is nothing to be ashamed of. They did more than just hold their own; they proved that they can play with anybody out there.

It was only fitting that their last game of the season was eerily similar to the Beacons’ season as a whole.

Similar to the Eastern Connecticut game, the Beacons found themselves having to climb out of a deep hole. Only eight games into the season, the Beacons had to endure the loss of their leading scorer, LaKeisha Tucker, and fellow senior Alicia Querusio, to personal reasons. Losing two seniors is tough enough, but losing your top scorer as well just makes it a harder pill to swallow.

They struggled at first, but there was visible improvement. Like Head Coach Shawn Polk – who was not able to be reached for comment due to sickness – said earlier this year, the chemistry kept growing with every game. Realizing they had to step up, the remaining seniors took charge.

Senior guard Ashley Greene stepped in and filled the scoring void, taking over as the Beacons’ top scorer with 8.5 points per game. She also made it count at the line, leading the team in free throw percentage as well. Even more impressive was the play of senior forward Myrna Tangar. While holding her own on the offensive side of the ball, Tangar was sensational on the defensive side. She led the Little East Conference in rebounds per game with 10.1. She also finished fifth in the conference in steals with 2.0 per game. The

Little East Conference took notice in her achievements, naming her to the conference’s All-Defensive team.

The seniors weren’t the only ones in on the fun though.

Sophomore guard Caroline Ashe and freshman guard Norma Cumbee also chipped in on offense with 8.2 and 8.0 points per game, respectively. Freshmen Stephanie Vasquez played a big part on defense, leading the team in steals. She finished fourth overall in the conference with 2.1 per game.

However, there were also some glaring weaknesses that plagued the Beacons all season long.

Three late turnovers probably shut the window on any openings the Beacons had in overcoming Eastern Connecticut. Coach Polk has noted this as the biggest issue the Beacons need to work on. The Beacons averaged 21.9 turnovers per game this season. The ability to force turnovers is great, but when you are turning over the ball even more, good results rarely follow.

Lack of control of the ball isn’t the only problem either. The Beacons had been hearing the sound of the iron a little too much for their liking as well.

The Beacons finished last in the conference in all three of the shooting percentage categories. In the Eastern Connecticut game, the Beacons shot over 40 percent for the game, and the result was a near win against a tough opponent. The Beacons have been keeping games close as it is, so imagining what they can do with a higher shooting percentage surely is a scary thought for opponents.

8-18 isn’t exactly the kind of season Coach Polk would rush to write home about. But look at it this way: Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team, and it only made him work harder to become a better player. Now look where he is. So with this bumpy road only adding experience to a young squad, the Beacons should come back next season shining brighter than ever.