Sloppy starts not slowing 'Cats

Bret Belden

Slow and sloppy starts have been the theme to the UNH women’s basketball season, and its game on Sunday, Nov. 29 was no different. The Wildcats shook off their Thanksgiving-hangover and cleaned up to defeat Central Connecticut State University 64-50.
The final scoreboard indicated a 14-point margin of victory for the ‘Cats but the game was closer than the numbers read. The Blue Devils started off the tilt on a 6-0 run and lead the Wildcats 9-7 after the first quarter.
“We started similar to how we have been, sloppy,” head coach Maureen Magarity said.
With 18 turnovers by her team Magarity said the carless and unforced turnovers were “frustrating” and “careless.”
Seniors Corinne Coia, Elizabeth Belanger, and Stephanie Spoto led the charge in the second quarter, combining for all 14 points scored. Belanger, coming off a game in which she didn’t make a field goal in 9 minutes of playing time, finished with 17 points and six rebounds.
“Our inside presence was felt,” Magarity said. “(CCSU) couldn’t handle our size.”
Coia and Spoto dominated the glass and scored 15 and 14 points respectively. The two post players also combined for 10 rebounds.
Spoto is on a career stretch, as she’s broken her career-highs in points in each of her last two games. She tallied 12 points against Manhattan on Tuesday Nov. 24, and then extended her high to 15 points in the game with CCSU.
“It was a career kind of game,” Magarity said of her senior forward’s performance. “(Spoto) brings a lot of energy and she’s playing really, really well.”
The Wildcats started the second half up 21-15 but they couldn’t shake off the Blue Devils and blow the game open in the third quarter. 41 total points were scored in the 10-minute frame, but the Wildcats couldn’t knock the fight out of the hometown Blue Devils. Heading into the pivotal fourth quarter, UNH led 42-35.
The fourth period started poorly for Magarity’s squad, as CCSU went on a run and cut the Wildcats’ lead to four.
After a timeout, junior Kristen Anderson hit a 3-pointer which sparked an 11-2 run for her team.
The game was finally blown open after 10 made free throws in the final ten minutes of play. The ‘Cats were able to hold their lead as they took home an important road win. UNH now sits at 5-1.
The 5-1 start is the best start for the Wildcats under Magarity, and the best start in the past 10 seasons.
“We’ve done a great job handling different defenses,” Magarity said about her team’s great start. “We’re a tough team, we just need to start better”.
The Wildcats have been impressive around the glass and have a great ability to shake off slow starts and rally to win games. Magarity does what many great coaches do: expect only the best from her team.
“There’s a ton of room for improvement,” she said.
The Wildcats are back in action against CAA opponent Northeastern at home on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m.