Basketball

A wild offseason kept teams like the Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder basking under the media spotlight, but some other teams didn’t make it into many conversations around the water cooler. While Boston point guard Kyrie Irving’s and Oklahoma small forward Carmelo Anthony’s trades made headlines, the Hawks gutted their roster quietly.

The Hawks elected to move on from three of their four leading scorers, waving goodbye to four-time all-star power forward Paul Millsap (signed with Denver), shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (signed with New York), starting center Dwight Howard (traded to Charlotte) and their best wing defender, small forward Thabo Sefolosha (signed with Utah).

To plug those holes, the Hawks signed center Dewayne Dedmon and power forward Ersan Ilyasova, as well as acquired center Miles Plumlee, shooting guard Marco Belinelli and rookie shooting guard Tyler Dorsey in the Dwight Howard trade. Dedmon is young and unproven, having yet to average more than five points per game. However, he did flash potential in limited game time with the Spurs. Ersan Ilyasova is a floor-spacing, 10th-year power forward who averaged 13 ppg on 43 percent shooting and 5.9 rpg in his best season last year. He will be tasked with filling the all-star sized void Millsap left at power forward. Second-year small forward, Taurean Prince, who started all six of the Hawks’ playoff games last year, will also be new to the starting lineup.

Those players will be joined by returning starters shooting guard Kent Bazemore, looking to prove he is worthy of the four-year, $70-million contract he signed last season, and 24-year-old point guard Dennis Schroder, who will begin his fifth season with Atlanta.

The offseason moves made by new General Manager Travis Schlenk leave the team with arguably the least-talented roster in the NBA, indicating the birth of a rebuilding period for the Hawks. Despite having one of the best coaches in the NBA, Mike Budenholzer, the Hawks simply don’t have the player personnel needed to contend for a playoff spot, even in an Eastern Conference weakened by the departure of all-star wings Paul George and Jimmy Butler for the West this summer. That should spell the end of a stretch of 10 straight postseason appearances. For this reason, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has put the over/under of wins for the Hawks at 25.5, the second lowest in the NBA, while ESPN’s RPM projects them to win an NBA-low 27 games.

Thus, the success of this season should not be measured by wins and losses but by fulfilling the following benchmarks: Schroder needs to take another step forward and prove himself to be the cornerstone of the Hawks’ rebuild. Second-year wings Prince and Deandre Bembry must prove that they should be a part of the Hawks long-term plans. Most importantly, the Hawks need to turn this losing season into their next franchise player in the 2018 draft. With forwards Luka Doncic, Marvin Bagley III or Michael Porter Jr. set to enter the draft, the talent pool is promising. If the Hawks achieve these modest goals, as I think they will, then they will be able to cash in on the expected five first-round picks they possess over the next two seasons. Within those five picks lies the foreseeable future of this Hawks franchise and redemption for an otherwise forgettable season.

After an over-active offseason, the NBA landscape has undergone a severe makeover. Stars like point guard Chris Paul, small forward Carmelo Anthony and point guard Kyrie Irving changed teams, and just when it seemed as though the East couldn’t get any weaker, countless stars, including Anthony, small forward Paul George and shooting guard Jimmy Butler, moved out West. With the preseason underway, it’s time for some NBA power rankings. Here’s a look at how the top six contenders stack up this year.  

No. 1 Golden State Warriors

In terms of talent, the Warriors were already ahead of every team in the league heading into the offseason. Just when we thought they couldn’t get any better, they added shooting guard Nick  Young to their roster and drafted power forward Jordan Bell, who could be a potential draft steal. This team is just as intimidating as last season’s, and it will take little short of a miracle to take them down.

No. 2 Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder boosted their championship chances with the additions of Anthony and George. General Manager Sam Presti may as well be executive of the year. However, questions loom over the team’s depth on the bench and the ability of reigning MVP point guard Russell Westbrook, Melo and George to work as a unit.

No. 3 Houston Rockets

Paul and small forward P.J. Tucker are upgrades in their respective positions, helping the Rockets leapfrog past the Cavaliers and Spurs in the power rankings. The moves should keep them biting at the heels of the Warriors in the Western Conference.

No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers had a bumpy offseason with the news that point guard Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland, but they seem to have improved their roster despite this loss. Koby Altman, the new general manager, has done well to right the ship with solid additions in small forward Jeff Green and legendary shooting guard Dwyane Wade. Also, the successful trade of Irving to the Celtics in exchange for all-star point guard Isaiah Thomas, small forward Jae Crowder and an all-important 2018 first round pick help secure a sound future for Cleveland regardless of where LeBron James signs in 2018.

No. 5 San Antonio Spurs

While the Spurs won more than 60 games last season, other teams’ additions of valuable talent may cause them to slip slightly. Small forward Rudy Gay will prevent them from slipping too much and, as we have seen for several years now, direction from Head Coach Gregg Popovich will help them to plug in various role players. And we can’t forget that small forward Kawhi Leonard, who is on the cusp of his prime, may get even better.

No. 6 Boston Celtics

The acquisition of Irving is a solid, young replacement for Isaiah Thomas. This team is built to contend now as well as in the future with solid, young talent in forwards Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. However, even with the inclusion of small forward Gordon Hayward, they are still not on par with the Cavaliers. Regardless, count on Head Coach Brad Stevens keeping them in the hunt for the conference finals.

The FBI announced that 10 people, including four college basketball assistant coaches, have been arrested for fraud and corruption after a two-year investigation into bribes and other malpractice in college basketball Sept. 26.

The investigation names University of Southern California’s Tony Bland, Arizona University’s Emanuel Richardson, Oklahoma State University’s Lamont Evans and Auburn University’s (Ala.) Chuck Person as perpetrators of fraud and corruption schemes in the U.S. Department of Justice’s press release.

Each of the assistant coaches could face up to 80 years in federal prison for bribery conspiracy, solicitation of bribes, honest services fraud conspiracy, honest service fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and Travel Act conspiracy, according to the DOJ.

On Sept. 27, the University of Louisville (Ky.) announced that then-men’s basketball head coach Rick Pitino and long-time Athletic Director Tom Jurich had been placed on administrative leave for their involvement in the scandal, according to The New York Times. Pitino’s attorney said in a statement that Pitino had “in effect, been fired.”

The FBI also arrested top Adidas employees James Gatto and Merl Code, former NBA agent Christian Dawkins, financial adviser Munish Sood, Jonathan Brad Augustine, director of the Adidas-sponsored One Family AAU program, and Rashan Michel, a former NBA official and founder of Thompson Bespoke Clothing, according to the DOJ.

The FBI began the undercover investigation in 2015, and managed to keep it hidden until the announcement of the arrests, according to the DOJ. Using wiretapping surveillance video and undercover agents, the FBI discovered that assistant coaches had accepted bribes in exchange for pushing athletes towards certain financial advisors and companies, ESPN reported. On the other hand, it also found that top Adidas employees funneled money indirectly to student-athletes’ families to persuade the athletes to attend Adidas-sponsored schools, like Louisville, and sign with Adidas when they reached the professional level, according to ESPN.

Specific allegations include a payment of $100,000 from Adidas to an unknown player’s family to ensure the player went to Louisville, with the permission of then-coach Rick Pitino, according to ESPN.

Other accusations include Auburn Assistant Coach, Chuck Person, accepting bribes of $91,500 to push an athlete toward a specific financial advisor, according to ESPN.  

While these recent developments have tainted the NCAA, the FBI warned this may be far from over.

“We have your playbook,” FBI Assistant Director Bill Sweeney said in a recent interview with ESPN. “Our investigation is ongoing. We are conducting additional interviews as we speak.”

The National Basketball Association (NBA) has another superteam to add to its list of championship contenders. The New York Knicks agreed to trade 10-time All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder Sept. 23. The Thunder will send center Enes Kanter, forward Doug McDermott and a future second-round pick to the Knicks in return for the superstar.

Anthony, 33, will join an Oklahoma City core that consists of reigning MVP Russell Westbrook and four-time All-Star forward Paul George. Together, the three superstars will form a new “Big Three,” making the new-look Thunder yet another formidable Western Conference contender alongside the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs.

The trade follows a summer swirling with trade rumors surrounding Anthony and the New York Knicks.

In April, former Knicks’ President of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson said that Anthony would “be better off somewhere else,” according to NBA.com. Jackson continued shopping Anthony throughout the league until June 28, when the Knicks and Jackson agreed to mutually part ways.

With Jackson’s unexpected departure, some believed the Knicks would keep Anthony on the roster. However, new General Manager Scott Perry reiterated that the Knicks would still attempt to unload Anthony to another team.

Anthony’s 2014 contract included a rare no-trade clause, which allowed Anthony to veto any potential trade. That made swapping him a major challenge for the Knicks.

Previous reports suggested that Anthony would only waive his no-trade clause for the Rockets. However, Anthony recently expanded his list to include the Thunder and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Anthony waived his no-trade clause and $8.1 million trade-kicker to complete the deal with the Thunder.

The trade marks Anthony’s third NBA team. He was originally drafted third overall by the Denver Nuggets in the 2003 NBA Draft and played there for almost eight seasons.

The acquisition of Anthony is only one of Oklahoma City General Manager Sam Presti’s blockbuster moves this summer. In July, the Thunder acquired a disgruntled forward Paul George from the Indiana Pacers in exchange for guard Victor Oladipo and forward Domantas Sabonis.

The reshaped Thunder team will look to dethrone the reigning NBA Finals Champions, the Golden State Warriors, who’ve won the Western Conference the last three years. However, the Thunder must first reconcile with the loss of key rotational players in both Kanter and McDermott.

Kanter, 25, was a first-round draft pick by the Utah Jazz in 2011 and typically served as the first man off the bench for the Thunder last season. He averaged 14.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game last season. McDermott was a lottery pick by the Chicago Bulls in 2014. He averaged 6.6 points per game for the Thunder after being acquired during the February trade deadline.

Familiar faces will reunite Oct. 19 when the Knicks travel to Oklahoma City to begin the regular season.

The Emory Eagles prevailed over Texas Lutheran University 82-69 March 3 in the opening round of the NCAA DIII men’s basketball tournament in Abilene, Texas before falling to regional host Hardin-Simmons University (Texas) 85-95 in the second round March 4.

Emory’s first opponent, the Texas Lutheran Bulldogs (19-10), boasted an impressive backcourt with three seniors: guard Jordan Kouremetis, forward Zach Behr and guard Sterling Holmes.

“We knew there were three guys that could really go on their team,” Emory sophomore guard Gebereal Baitey said. “[Behr] found a way to get going, but we did such a good job [defending] the other two that it didn’t really matter.”

With a close score from the start, the X-factor in the first half was none other than freshman guard Nick Tupanjanin. With four three-pointers in the first half alone, Tupanjanin gave Emory the burst it needed, helping the team jump ahead to a 35-19 lead with four minutes remaining.  

“[Tupanjanin] got great looks, knocked them in and really gave us a lift,” Head Coach Jason Zimmerman said. “Those shots kept us in the lead going into halftime.”

Jumpers from Texas’ junior forward Harris Jowell and Behr, however, helped the Bulldogs close the gap to just six points at halftime, 39-33. The Bulldogs dug down in the second half, gradually trimming down the Eagles’ lead. Clinging to a one-point lead with five minutes to play, Emory needed someone to step-up offensively and junior forward Adam Gigax delivered, taking control of the court.

The Emory forward netted 12 points in the final five minutes, including a run of nine straight in the span of two minutes, showing why he’s the UAA’s leading scorer this season. Combined with a strong Emory defensive front that allowed only six points from the Bulldogs in the last five minutes, the Eagles secured a 82-69 victory and a ticket to the second round.

Hardin-Simmons awaited Emory in the next round. Coming off of a 109-103 offensive explosion in their first round against LaGrange College (Ga.), Hardin-Simmons (24-6) was led by one of  the best individual players Emory faced this season: senior forward Nathaniel Jack.

“[Jack] could jump, not only high, but with very little gather, and he got a lot of second chance points, rebounds and tip-ins because of that,” Baitey said. “They had so many other guards on the floor we had to put a big on him, which was a bit of a tough match up for us.”

The game’s pace was quick, with each team shooting well out of the gate. For the Eagles, senior forward Austin DaGue provided a lift with 15 points and seven rebounds in the first half. He finished the game with a double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds.

Baitey, like DaGue, also stepped up throughout the season. The sophomore guard led the team in minutes played, 32, in the game against Texas Lutheran and followed that with one of his best offensive performances against Hardin-Simmons.

“It wasn’t so much that I was controlling the floor in the way that [junior guard] Whit Rapp does, but it’s the energy that I bring on both the offensive and defensive ends,” Baitey said. “That’s something that I’ve always taken pride in.”

Emory played well in the first half, but Hardin-Simmons was better. Led by senior guard Christian O’Neal’s 17 points, the Cowboys countered every time the Eagles made a move. Shooting 53 percent from the field, Hardin-Simmons took a 50-41 lead into the break.

Emory played evenly against their opponent in the second half, but failed to close the gap. Strong performances from Baitey (17 points) and senior forward Jim Gordon (20 points, seven rebounds) weren’t enough to hinder the Cowboys, who benefitted from outstanding performances from Jack (26 points, 15 rebounds) and senior guard Dashun Dixon (20 points).

In many of ways, Emory lived and died by the three this season. Unfortunately, it was the latter March 4. Shooting only 22 percent from three-point range against Hardin Simmons, Emory couldn’t quite find its touch behind the arc. Combined with 34 made free-throws for the Cowboys, the Eagles lost the chance to play in what would have been their fourth straight strip to the Sweet 16, falling 85-95.

“We had our second worst shooting night from three on the year,” Zimmerman said. “[It] led to a tough night for us.”

With the season officially at its end, Emory seniors guard Jonathan Coles, guard Jonathan Terry, DaGue and Gordon have suited up in their uniforms for the last time. They leave a four-year legacy that boasts 80 wins, three Sweet 16 appearances, two UAA Championships and kept the Eagles’ run of consecutive NCAA tournament appearances alive. Now at five in a row, Emory’s run is the second longest for an UAA team, after New York University’s seven straight appearances.

“There is a lot to be proud of with these seniors, and I’ve been blessed to coach them,” Zimmerman said. “I am really looking forward to continuing to build the program and keep it at the level that these guys have got it to.”

Hawks guard Tim Hardaway, Jr.'s 36 points kept Atlanta close despite a record-setting evening from the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers.
Hawks guard Tim Hardaway, Jr.’s 36 points kept Atlanta close despite the Cavaliers’ record-setting performance. / Kevin Kilgour, Sports Editor

Recent history between the Atlanta Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers has not been kind to Atlanta. In both 2015 and 2016, the Cavaliers swept the Hawks in the Eastern Conference playoffs, ousting any hopes of postseason glory. The most recent slap from Cleveland came they stripped Atlanta of guard Kyle Korver in a trade this past January.

“I think at points we’ve rubbed them wrong,” Cleveland guard Iman Shumpert said before the game. “No matter what you make of their team, they are always a bunch of guys that are going to come out there and compete, so we are gonna have our hands full.”

To say the Cavaliers rubbed the Hawks wrong at times may be the biggest understatement of 2017. Over the past few years, the Hawks fielded some of the best teams in franchise history. Yet time and time again, the Cavaliers crushed any hopes of postseason glory.

“When you play a team in the playoffs, you see them every other day for two weeks,” Hawks forward Kent Bazemore said prior to the matchup. “You get tired of them. There is mutual respect between both teams, but it’s always a war.”

When both teams prepared to take the floor at Philip’s Arena in Friday night’s nationally televised matchup, it was safe to assume something special was about to happen.

Rivalry aside, Friday night was a special evening for the Hawks. Dressed in their blue and green throwback jerseys, Atlanta honored the contributions of former player and NBA legend Pete Maravich by holding a ceremony at halftime, featuring speeches from Hawks legends Dikembe Mutombo and Dominique Wilkins. The atmosphere was electric as the banner dropped and Maravich’s No. 44 jersey was officially retired.

Despite the evening’s festivities, the Cavaliers were more than willing to spoil the party. With 13 points in the first quarter alone, Cleveland guard Kyrie Irving led an explosive offense to 39 points and a six-point lead.

Maravich's number 44 banner in Philip's Arena.
Maravich’s No. 44 banner. / Kevin Kilgour, Sports Editor

In a night full of special moments, another came when Korver entered the game with 3:17 to play in the first quarter, this time in a Cavaliers jersey. His first game back in Atlanta since the Jan. 8 trade, Korver was welcomed back to Philips Arena with a strong chorus of cheers. At the quarter break, the Hawks paid tribute to their former all-star with a montage of Korver’s most memorable moments in Atlanta.

“There were a lot of emotions during the game,” Korver said. “It was good to be back home.”

Cleveland would continue to dominate in the second, piling on another 38 points for a 77-60 lead at halftime. With strong three-point shooters at nearly every position, the Cleveland brutalized the Hawks from behind the arc. Often switching Hawks center Dwight Howard onto Cavaliers’ forwards Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye, Cleveland’s smaller, quicker lineup made it easy to find open looks from three.

The start of the third quarter saw more of the same as Cleveland continued to lay it on, stretching their lead to 25 points. In one sequence, Cleveland forward LeBron James hit two consecutive three-pointers, including a fadeaway off one foot from the corner that made it seem as though anything and everything that the Cavaliers put up was going to fall in.

Mutombo, Wilkins, and representatives from Maravich's family all spoke at the ceremony.
Family and teammates were present to celebrate. / Kevin Kilgour, Sports Editor

Even if the crowd had given up, Atlanta’s players did not. With 36 points on 65 percent shooting, guard Tim Hardaway Jr. offered the Hawks a lift they desperately needed, helping his team make some deep cuts into a seemingly insurmountable lead.

“All the pressure is off when you are down that much,” Hardaway, Jr. said. “My teammates did a great job of finding me. I forced a couple here and there and they got on me about it, but kept telling me to be aggressive.”

With the two teams neck and neck, 124-123 Cleveland, it was Korver who put the nail in the coffin, draining a three with a little over a minute remaining to put Cleveland ahead for good.

“Kyle being Kyle, he knocked it down when the game mattered most and that’s why he is one of the best,” Hardaway, Jr. said.

Making an NBA record 25 three-pointers in a single game, the Cavaliers were simply too good. Irving led the way with 43 points for the Cavaliers, while James added on 38 of his own to help the his team to a 135-130 victory Friday.

“To some degree, it feels like you are trading twos for threes,” Atlanta Head Coach Mike Budenholzer said. “You come in trying to take away the three-point line, but it’s a lot harder the way that James and Irving create and draw attention.”

Despite the loss, the Hawks remain No. 5 in the East, while the No. 1 Cavaliers stretch their lead in the East over the No. 2 Boston Celtics.

Emory freshman forward Erin Lindahl puts up a shot in the Eagles' final home game of the season. Photo courtesy Mathew Hammond.
Emory freshman forward Erin Lindahl puts up a shot in the Eagles’ final home game of the season. Photo courtesy Mathew Hammond/Staff.

The Emory women’s basketball team closed their 2016-17 season with a tremendous win against the University of Rochester (N.Y.) Yellowjackets 73-57 Saturday, Feb. 25. Star senior point guard Shellie Kaniut closed her career with a bang, leading the Eagles in scoring with 20 points.

Kaniut was one of three seniors to play their final game at the WoodPEC. Senior guard Fran Sweeney and senior guard/forward Michelle Bevan also played their final game in front of the Emory faithful.

Head Coach Christy Thomaskutty praised her seniors for their hard work and contributions to the basketball program.

“[Kaniut, Sweeney and Bevan] are three special young women,” Thomaskutty said. “Each one of them has given their heart and soul to this program and university.”

Outscoring the Yellowjackets 21-8, Emory scorched Rochester in the first quarter. The Eagles established a 13-point lead, concluding the quarter with a 9-0 run. Kaniut was strong out of the gate, posting 10 points.

In light of Kaniut’s brilliant performance, the point guard  affirmed that it was her ability to make her teammates better that was most important.

“The best part of it is when you’re playing well and making others better,” Kaniut said. “It wasn’t just me having a big game, but I thought a lot of our younger players stepped up. Everyone rose to the occasion.”

Rochester battled back, cutting Emory’s lead down to two points before the end of the half. The Yellowjackets stepped up on defense to limit Emory to eight points in the quarter.

After seeing their lead nearly vanish, the Eagles were poised to distance themselves from Rochester. Emory bounced back and started off the third with six unanswered points. Rochester attempted to chip away at Emory’s lead, but the Eagles remained strong.

Thomaskutty recapped how her team was able to respond to a challenging second quarter and control play again in the third.

“We had a little bit of a letdown and foul trouble in the second,” Thomaskutty said. “However, in the third quarter we just kept on plugging away. Our seniors and younger players both propelled us.”

With a 47-39 lead entering their final quarter, the Eagles fought hard for victory. Emory’s execution was magnificent, growing their lead until the final buzzer; the Eagles’ offense shined as they scored 26 points to Rochester’s 18. Riding the offensive momentum, Emory finished with a 73-57 win.

Thomaskutty reflected on what made her team effective in their preparation and matchup against Rochester.

“Every player had a good couple of days of practice leading up to the game,” Thomaskutty said. “In all three phases: offense, defense and rebounding, we battled during every possession.”

Kaniut considered the victory a great way for the seniors to end their careers and for the underclassmen to establish a benchmark moving forward.

“It was an awesome way to wrap my own and other seniors’ careers,” Kaniut said. “It also sets up the team really well heading into next season.”

Emory’s victory advanced the squad to a 6-8 UAA record and 15-10 record overall. The Eagles finished  fifth in the UAA, an improvement from last season’s seventh place finish.

Senior forward Austin DaGue blocks a shot from Rochester senior guard Sam Borst-Smith in Emory's 63-62 victory. Hague contributed an impressive 22 points on the afternoon. Photo courtesy Nafimul Huda/Senior Staff.
Senior forward Austin DaGue blocks a shot from Rochester senior guard Sam Borst-Smith in Emory’s 63-62 victory. Hague contributed an impressive 22 points on the afternoon. Photo courtesy Nafimul Huda/Senior Staff.

Saturday’s home win against the Yellowjackets of Rochester University (N.Y.) provided the exclamation point on the end of a four game win streak to close out the regular season. The Eagles took down the No. 2 team in the UAA and honored the accomplishments of four senior athletes. Emory finished No. 3 in the UAA (9-5) with an 18-7 overall record and received a bid to  compete in the NCAA D-III men’s basketball tournament next weekend.

Prior to the game, Emory’s four seniors took the floor in recognition of their accomplishments and contributions to the basketball program. The seniors, guard Jonathan Coles, forward Austin DaGue, forward Jim Gordon and guard Jonathan Terry, helped the Eagles to 79 wins, two UAA titles, two Sweet 16s and an Elite Eight since the start of their freshman season in the Fall of 2013.

The seniors and junior forward Adam Gigax started the game. Whether it was due to the jitters from the senior celebration or the intensity of each team’s defense, turnovers plagued both teams early on. After the first 10 minutes of play, the two teams combined for only 20 points.

Coles acknowledged that playing on senior day brings its own unique challenges.

“You try not to think about it too much and try to treat it like any other game, but obviously this is the last time that we are going to play here, so it has a little bit of a different feel,” Coles said.

The Eagles were the first to strike. Gordon, DaGue and junior forward Donald Avant helped the team to a 20-11 lead with five minutes left to play in the first. However, this brought the Yellowjacket offense to life and they poured in 20 points during the final five minutes of the half to give Rochester a slim 31-30 lead.

The game assumed a more consistent rhythm in the second half; the rust from the first disappeared as each team embraced the flow of the game.

The biggest change in the second was the Eagles’ attention to post play. After an easy feed from sophomore guard Gebereal Baitey to DaGue resulted in a lay-in at the rim, the Eagles continued to feed DaGue down low. With junior forward Christopher Avant out with an injury, DaGue proved to be a critical asset, finishing with 22 points and six rebounds on 70 percent shooting from the field.

“DaGue had one of the best games of his career,” Head Coach Jason Zimmerman said. “He has been playing better and better the past two weeks and he was really special today.”

Neither team shot particularly well (35 percent for Rochester and 36 percent for Emory), resulting in a physical, low scoring affair. A three from Rochester senior guard Sam Borst-Smith gave the Yellowjackets their largest lead of the game at 54-48 with just under nine minutes to play; however, the Eagles closed the gap thanks to five straight points from DaGue.

Tied at 60 with 90 seconds remaining, junior guard Whit Rapp drained a clutch three that gave the Eagles a 63-60 advantage. The Yellowjackets quickly answered, cutting the lead to one. After an Emory miss on the following possession, Rochester had an opportunity to take the lead.

One name that was not mentioned often at the scorer’s table Saturday was that of Gigax, who had one of his worst outings of the season. The UAA leader in points per game, Gigax provided only two points Friday night. However, in a play that would determine the outcome of the game, Gigax came up with a critical defensive stop.

Receiving a pass on a strong cut to the rim, Rochester sophomore forward Andrew Lundstrom seemed to have a clear path to the rim and an easy lay-in that likely would have won the game for the Yellowjackets. However, the junior recovered to stuff Lundstrom at the rim, denying Rochester the lead and ultimately securing a 63-62 victory for Emory.

“[Playing on senior day] motivated us more, got us riled up,” Terry said. “This was our last time at home for sure, so we wanted to go out and make the best of it. We had a really good crowd here and that gave us a lot of energy.”

After the game, Zimmerman was pleased that the seniors could savor one final home victory.

“I’m really happy for the seniors to win their last game at home,” Zimmerman said. “Hopefully we get to keep playing.”

Zimmerman’s hopes were fulfilled Monday when Emory received the NCAA D-III tournament bid. In the first round, the Eagles will take on the Bulldogs of Texas Lutheran University (19-9) Friday at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Tex. The winner will advance to the second round for a matchup Saturday against the winner of Hardin-Simmons University (Tex.) (22-6) v. LaGrange College (Ga.) (18-10).

Freshman forward Erin Lindahl drives in the Eagles' game against Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.) Sunday.
Freshman forward Erin Lindahl drives in the Eagles’ game against Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.) Sunday. Photo Courtesy Gabrielle Davis / Photo Staff.


The Emory women’s basketball team recorded its first victory in over two weeks and snapped a four-game losing streak in its first game of the weekend. The Eagles’  victory Friday, Feb. 17, against the Case Western Reserve University (Ohio) Spartans was followed by a loss Sunday, Feb. 19, to the Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.) Tartans. The Eagles currently are 5-8 in UAA play and 14-10 overall.

On the tails of a lengthy losing streak, the Eagles rediscovered their winning ways against Case Western. Five different players scored for Emory, helping the team start the game with a 14-9 advantage.

Case Western battled the Eagles hard in the second quarter, inching one point closer to Emory at the half. Sophomore center Ashley Oldshue was Emory’s most reliable offensive player in the quarter, scoring 10 points. Oldshue’s contributions helped Emory carry a 35-31 lead into half-time.

Emory maintained the upper hand, leading by as much as 13 points with less than three minutes in the third. However, the Eagles  52-39 lead was slashed to a 52-47 advantage following a late run by Case Western to end the quarter.

Head Coach Christy Thomaskutty noted that her team played with a lot of energy in the second half.

“I thought in the second we channeled our energy,” Thomaskutty said. “By doing so we were able to play a really good game overall against a tough match-up for us in Case Western.”

Despite the challenging end to the third quarter, the Eagles glided to a victory in the fourth. Emory amassed a comfortable lead against Case Western and gave the Spartans no prospect of a comeback. The Eagles outscored Case Western 27-20 in the final quarter and walked away with a 79-67 win.

Emory’s leading scorer and rebounder in the game was Oldshue, who racked up 21 points and totalled eight boards. She was joined by senior guard Shellie Kaniut, who scored 16 points and freshman guard Allison Chernow, who led the team with nine assists.

Oldshue spoke about how consistency gave Emory an upper hand in the game and how it boosted the team’s morale.

“We came out against Case pretty consistent, a lot more consistent than we have been in a while,” Oldshue exclaimed. “The win was a big boost to team morale, considering that we are so close to ending the year and we want to end really strong.”

Thomaskutty indicated that the team’s guard play and ball movement were two major factors in the victory.

“[Case Western] was bigger than us, so we definitely wanted to give a lot of ball pressure to help match-up with their bigger guards,” Thomaskutty said. “Offensively, we moved the ball really well, and anytime we have had over 18 assists in a game we have done really well.”

Unfortunately, Emory ended with a much worse result in its second game of the weekend, defeated by Carnegie Mellon in a lopsided 82-60 Tartan victory.

Emory came out of the locker room strong to begin action Sunday, outscoring Carnegie Mellon 22-21 in a tightly contested first quarter. With two three-pointers, senior guard Fran Sweeney was instrumental in contributing to Emory’s offensive attack in the first.

The Eagles lost traction in the second quarter as the Tartans jumped ahead to a 39-33 lead before the half. Carnegie Mellon outscored Emory by an 18-11 margin in the quarter.

Down by six, Emory had a manageable deficit at the beginning of the second half. However, the third quarter turned disastrous for the Eagles  as they were outscored 32-10. Emory yielded 18 points to Carnegie Mellon’s star center/forward, junior Lisa Murphy. Her 18 points helped Carnegie Mellon carry a 28-point lead into the fourth.

Thomaskutty explained that the team defense was unable to find any remedy for Carnegie’s offense in the third quarter.

“Our defense let us down and [Carnegie] got almost anything that they wanted,” Thomaskutty said. “We were supposed to double the low post and we were slow getting there.”

Although Emory outscored Carnegie Mellon 17-11 in the fourth quarter, Carnegie Mellon’s lead proved insurmountable. The Tartans comfortably handled the Eagles and won the game 82-60.

Oldshue once again led Emory in scoring and rebounding with 15 points and seven rebounds. In a dominant performance, the Tartan’s Murphy scored 35 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. The Eagles could not find a way to stop the Carnegie Mellon junior in the paint, and allowed the Tartans easy buckets and costly second-chance opportunities.

Oldshue considered Carnegie’s post presence to be one of the greatest  challenges Emory faced.

“A team like Carnegie is a challenge defensively because they have a good post presence,” Oldshue said. “You can’t help too far off their guards either because they can beat you as well.”

Emory will conclude its regular season at home Saturday, Feb. 25, against the University of Rochester (N.Y.).