By Gio DiFazio
The Lady Seawolves of Southern Maine Community College have recently crossed the midway point in a campaign which situates them tied as the current top seed in the Yankee Small College Conference.
The 2016 USCAA Tournament, hosted by Penn State Fayette, ended in two consecutive losses, and abruptly ended the Seawolves season, which did not reflect the 23–10 record Coach Howe and the Seawolves put together.
Averaging 67.3 points each time they hit the hardwood, Coach Bergeron’s squad has found a rhythm from behind the three-point line.This pack of Seawolves has given the impression that they are extremely hungry, which is apparent through their defensive efforts. This team is averaging just under 15 steals per game. A large portion of that defensive production is coming from the backcourt, in particularly from first-year guard Kayla Abdul and sophomore guard Alexis Antonacci.
There it was. The last game of the fall semester. When players and coaches received the 2016–17 schedule, the collective scratches of highlighters from players and coaches marking the matchup against CMCC could be heard around Casco Bay. The game, which ultimately resulted in a road loss, allowed the Seawolves to realize that the Mustangs will assuredly be a pivotal roadblock in their postseason quest.
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After the single loss that ruined the chances of an undefeated season was put behind them, SMCC came back from the break, winning the next five games, with the closest contest being decided by 12 points.
The Lady Wolves beat CCRI (71–56) in Rhode Island, dismantled Paul Smith (53–12) and took it to the College of Saint Joseph’s (83–52), before going on the road to win at Great Bay (80–32). The Lady Wolves finished up their short road series against University of Maine–Machias with a thorough victory, more than doubling the Clippers’ offensive output (78–34).
At the time of publication, the Seawolves are resting comfortably at the top of the YSCC, tied with bitter rival Central Maine Community College. In the USCAA power rankings the Lady Wolves hold the top spot, followed by YSCC rivals: University of Maine–Augusta 5th, the College of St. Joseph’s of Vt. 7th and CMCC 10th.
With six games remaining before the YSCC Elite 8 tournament, the Lady Wolves are looking to end the regular season in the best manner they can. The Lady Wolves host the next five games, with the final home game against CMCC, before heading to Vermont to play Vermont Tech in the regular season final.
Men Wolves Falter Twice and Rebound
The men have found their identity on the court, just as the woman have done in the past few weeks. One loss is keeping the women from the hopes of an undefeated season, but the men have remained out of the Ladies’ shadows, and are compiling an impressive regular-season resume to bring with them into postseason play.
As of the time of publication, the Men Seawolves are happily positioned just one spot below the top, as Central Maine Community College has solidified the top seed in the Yankee Small College Conference, and is looking down on it’s competition with an undefeated in conference record.
The Men Wolves ended the first half of the season with a bitter loss to the hands of the CMCC Mustangs (72–57) and opened up the second half of the season with an overtime loss to CCRI (79–75).
Since then the Wolves have gone on a four-game win streak, outlasting Paul Smith (83–73), running past the Saints of St. Joseph’s (96–78), winning solidly at Great Bay (100–56) and posting a victory in Machias (85-57).
Like the Lady Seawolves the men look forward to the upcoming home stretch, when they will face University of Maine–Augusta, Dean College, NHTI, Unity, and the Mustangs of CMCC to finish the regular-season home schedule. The Men Wolves will also travel to Vermont to take on Vermont Tech to end the regular season.
For the diehard basketball fan who does not get enough during the regular YSCC season, the YSCC Elite 8 Tournament will be hosted by SMCC this year. The action will begin on Thursday, Feb. 16 in the Hutchinson Union Building. The top eight teams will go at it, with the winner receiving an automatic bid to the USCAA Nationals in Pennsylvania.
The Elite 8 tournament, which was last hosted by SMCC three years ago, has not only been a showcase for the talented athletes of the YSCC, but also a tournament in which upsets happen.