Women’s basketball off to a strong start

After a victory over then-nationally ranked No. 24 Stevens on Nov. 19, the Mustangs are coming off wins against FDU-Florham and Marymount (Va.) and losses to Salisbury University and No. 18 Albright.

A slow start against Salisbury resulted in the Mustangs falling to the Seagulls 63-55 on the road on Nov. 22. Senior Sara Tarbert recorded a consecutive double-double as she led both teams with 24 points and 14 rebounds.

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Senior forward Sara Tarbert makes her way down the court against the Albright Lions. (Photo by Sabina Moran)

In the game, the Mustangs were outscored in the opening quarter 16-6. Despite the slow start, Stevenson attempted to rally in the second and third quarters, outscoring the Seagulls 16-13 and 19-16. The Mustangs’ comeback fell short in the fourth quarter as the Seagulls limited the Mustang offense and went 5 for 8 at the free-throw line in the final minutes of the game.

During Stevenson’s Thanksgiving break, the Mustangs had their home opener on Nov. 26 as they defeated FDU-Florham, 68-61. Tarbert again recorded a double-double with 13 points and had 12 rebounds. Junior Kaitlyn VanTash also had a strong performance, scoring 13 points.

Against Marymount (Va.) on Nov. 27, the Mustangs outscored the Saints 21-7 in the fourth quarter to win 57-44 . Despite only scoring 2 points in the opening quarter, the defense for the Mustangs held the Saints to just 7 points in the same quarter.

“I’m really happy with how we responded on the defensive end,” said head coach Jackie Boswell. “We know we’re going to have some offensive droughts like that, but nothing can stop our defense.”

Tarbert again recorded a double-double against the Saints, with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

On Nov. 30, the Mustangs hosted No. 18 Albright, as the Lions were the first Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Commonwealth opponents of the season. Albright was ranked No. 11 in the first D3hoops.com poll, but fell seven spots to No. 18 in the latest poll after a 3-1 start heading into the matchup with the Mustangs.

Despite Tarbert recording her fifth consecutive double-double of the season, the Mustangs fell to the defending MAC Commonwealth champions 61-55.

“I think it comes down to keeping our composure. We can’t get rattled when we have a slow start because it’s not going help us,” said Tarbert. “Once we do start hitting shots, it helps build our confidence.”

With the team’s 3-2 start to the season and averaging a double-double every game, Tarbert demonstrates why she earned D3hoops.com pre-season All-American honors. She also earned her second straight (MAC) Commonwealth Player of the Week award, for the ninth time in her career.

The Mustangs hope to be back in winning form as they begin a two-game road trip on Dec. 3 facing the Widener Pride and concluding with a matchup against Lebanon Valley on Dec. 7.

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