Emory women’s basketball had two respectable performances over the weekend with a close defeat at the hands of New York University (NYU) Feb. 16 and a victory in a balanced effort against Brandeis University (Mass.) Feb. 18.
The two games bring the Eagles to an overall record of 13-11, 7-6 in the University Athletic Association (UAA).
In the game against NYU, Emory looked to build on the success they had last weekend when they defeated Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.) and Case Western Reserve (Ohio) on the road. The Eagles had three double-figure scorers: Sophomore forward Erin Lindahl (11 points), junior guard Azzairia Jackson-Sherrod (12 points) and junior center Ashley Oldshue (17 points) who also shot a perfect 4-4 from the charity stripe. Emory also received a big spark off the bench in what turned out to be a standout cameo appearance by sophomore point guard Hazel Carmona.
“Carmona plays the one or two guard for us,” Oldshue said. “She scored seven points in two minutes in the first half, which was big for us. We had a lot of trouble scoring on their defense where they pack the lane, which helped our guards get more space to attack the basket.”
After Emory fell into a hole at halftime, Emory lost in close fashion as the gap proved too much to overcome. The Eagles fell to NYU 63-58. The unrecoverable deficit in the game highlights a larger trend that Oldshue said is an area upon which the team is looking to improve.
“We have struggled with cutting off [the] team’s momentum all season,” Oldshue said. “We had some trouble scoring in the second, and they came out aggressive for the entire game. We have to be more aware of when a run is starting and try to cut it off earlier.”
Despite the Eagles’ deficit going into halftime, the team responded well to start the second half, giving themselves a chance down the stretch.
“We just started playing tougher and more [aggressively] to match their physicality,” Oldshue said. “NYU is always a good hustle team with good physicality. We made a few offensive adjustments which helped. If we had started to build momentum earlier, [then] it could have changed the course of the game more.”
In the end, Emory failed to make a comeback due to losing key battles on the glass.
“Down the stretch, there were [a] couple times where we gave up too many second chances,” Oldshue said. “[Head Coach Misha Jackson] always says we have lost when the rebound margin is close or we are behind in it. It was more things we could have done earlier than final plays, in retrospect.”
Emory’s balanced effort on both ends of the floor defined the game against Brandeis.
“Against Brandeis, we were a pretty balanced team,” Oldshue said. “[Sophomore guard] Allison [Chernow] was shooting well and Erin [Lindahl] was playing really hard. [Sophomore guard] Safiya [Dzotsi] is always playing hard. It was a good balance compared to games we’ve had this year.”
Trailing by four at the half, the Eagles responded by taking a commanding eight-point lead going into the fourth quarter. The 12-point swing proved critical in pulling out a 57-50 victory.
“We took the aggressor role in the second half to control the tempo and make them defend all the options we have in our offense,” Oldshue said. “It was partly a toughness piece more in the second half then we had in the first.”
The team addressed ball security between the games. The significantly lower turnover margin proved to be a pivotal factor in their victory against Brandeis. Another key area was improving on the boards, which was a big factor in Emory’s loss against New York.
The game against Brandeis also happened to be the final home game of the season for Emory. With no seniors on the roster, the Eagles faced an unusual scenario on what would have normally been the team’s senior day celebration. The team has embraced its relative youth, and players believe it will benefit them moving forward.
“It doesn’t really impact us on a team dynamic perspective,” Oldshue said, referring to the team’s lack of seniors. “We only have three upperclassmen. We definitely have a young team. It helps with confidence going into next year knowing everyone is returning.”
The Eagles are set to close out their regular season at Rochester University (N.Y.) Feb. 24 at 2 p.m.