By Justin McKinney, Sports Editor
UMass Dartmouth women’s basketball pulled out a huge win against Rhode Island College as they trounced RIC by a whopping 39 points, 78-49. With the huge win the Corsairs advance to the conference semi-finals on Friday night.
The Corsairs also have home court advantage throughout the LEC tourney and with this win move to a perfect 15-0 against LEC opponents this season as well as an overall record of 23-3. It is worth noting that two of these three losses come at the hands of nationally ranked opponents.
The Corsairs simply put on a defensive clinic Tuesday night as RIC looked shell-shocked by the tough defense. With Chelsea Houlihan, Nakira Examond, and Alicia Kutil all totaling over eight rebounds apiece, it is a wonder that RIC was ever able to gain possession at all.
Not to mention Kutil managed to drain a whopping 73 percent of her shots from the field as she scored 15 points on the night. While the Corsairs have been extremely consistent in their play all year; it seems as though they have been on another level of late.
They are not beating their opponents, they are mopping the floor with them. They are dominating the LEC and making it apparent that they are not only worth of being crowned LEC Champions, but perhaps National Champions.
At this point in time two of their three loses are to teams that are ranked in the top fifteen of the entire country, Bowdoin at no. 3 and Tufts at no. 12. with the Bowdoin loss coming just three games into the season. This team has certainly grown from the losses and is demonstrating a clear determination to achieve greatness.
Perhaps I am reading too much into it, but given how well Examond and Kutil have blended on the court as well as the fact that Kutil has had a historic senior season; one could argue that the Corsairs are in even better position to go deep in the NCAA tourney than they did last year.
While one could argue Kutil and Examond have dominated the headlines for the women’s team this winter. Players like Houlihan, Leah Douty, and Ashley Brown have been pivitol; especially of late in this team’s continued success.
Also, not enough can be said about the effort of head coach Matt Ducharme in his fourth season leading the Corsairs. Ducharme has created a program that delivers consistent success as he is on the verge of capturing his second straight LEC title. If the Corsairs do in fact win the LEC, Ducharme would have won LEC titles in half of his first four seasons as a head coach at UMassD.
Ducharme can also take an abundance of credit from taking a team that was 7-7 in LEC play in each of his first two seasons at the helm, to having a perfect 14-0 record this past year. While the Corsairs still have a long way to go in capturing an LEC title and there is no way predicting how the NCAA could shake out, this season has been filled with immense success for this program.
Not enough good things can be said about this coach and this team as they put together a practically perfect overall record and a flawless conference record thus far. Catch the Corsairs as they jump back into action this Friday at home at 5 p.m. against the Western Connecticut Warriors for a chance to play in the LEC Championship game the following afternoon at UMass Dartmouth.