The Queens College Knights women’s basketball team didn’t get off to the start they were hoping for after suffering back to back losses on the road.
The team fell in a closely contested game after the Jefferson Rams posted a third quarter comeback to spoil the Knights’ season opener. The tough loss against the Rams was soon followed by a loss to the Chestnut Hill Griffins.
Each game saw different problems arise for the Knights—against Jefferson, the Knights were strong on defense, holding the Rams to 60 points, but then failed to match their offensive firepower in the second half.
Then against the Griffins, the Knights had a solid offensive outing but their defense struggled. Last season the Knights were one of the best defensive teams in the nation, but they allowed the Griffins to score 84 points in a loss while giving up at least 25 points in both the first and third quarters.
It’s never ideal to begin a season by dropping the first two games, but the Knights know that the season is long and there is plenty of basketball left to be played.
“We know that we’re better than how we played” said head coach Elizabeth Naumovski. “We had some strong individual performances and at times played well as a team. We just need to do that for entire games.”
While the team didn’t get the wins they were hoping for, there were plenty of positive takeaways from the two game road trip.
Senior guard Merrick Rowland has started off the season hot, averaging a double-double after the first two games, including a 22 point, 11 rebound and 5 steal performance against the Griffins on Sunday.
Junior guard Emer Moloney has also played well on the defensive end especially when playing one-on-one against her matchups. Another bright spot for the team has been freshman forward Achol Ajang, who notched a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds in just her second career game against the Griffins.
Performances like that can be expected on a nightly basis from the team, and as Coach Naumovski noted, there is no shortage of talent on the roster.
“We have people who have won championships and many individuals with so much talent” Naumovski said. “We just need to get more used to playing with one another as a team— everyone is adjusting, no one is struggling.”
The losses may sting right now but Naumovski understands that the lessons these games will teach the team will do them wonders as the season progresses.
“This will show them that they need to work smart as a team and they will get the results they want” Naumovski said. “Every year there’s desire to compete, make the playoffs, and compete for a championship, and that’s what we want to strive for.”
With their long-term ambitions set, the Knights will use their “game by game” approach throughout the remainder of the season with the hopes of reaching the Elite Eight once again.
The Knights opened at home Nov. 18 against the Concordia Clippers, kicking off a stretch where they will close out 2017 with five of their next eight games at home.