Although the Wheaton women’s and men’s basketball teams have had two very different types of seasons thus far, both teams have been fighting to win games. The experienced women’s team has a 13-6 overall record, 9-2 in conference, while the men’s team has a 4-14 overall record, 1-7 in conference, during a rebuilding year with 6 conference games left to go.
The women’s team has high chances of hosting the NEWMAC Tournament if they can surpass Babson College and Springfield College in the conference standings before the post-season. Grasping the 1st seed and winning the tournament would mean an automatic bid into the 2015 NCAA Tournament. Their only conference losses were against Springfield earlier in the season and a recent loss to Coast Guard this past weekend. With 6 games left, 5 league games and 1 out of conference game left on the schedule, the team expects to be challenged with each opponent.
“We approach every game as a 1 game season,” said Head Coach Melissa L. Hodgdon before the Coast Guard game this past Saturday. “So right now we are 0-0 going into the Coast Guard game tomorrow-with the hopes of performing to our best to be 1-0 after the game.” Coast Guard would go on to end Wheaton’s 8-game winning streak but the team remains with the same ‘one game at a time’ mentality heading into their game Wednesday against Pine Manor.
The Lyons play a very difficult schedule every year against the top teams in the region and against strong in-conference teams as well. The team was recently ranked 75th in the nation just last week winning out the majority of their games but falling short against NCAA powerhouses Tufts University and George Fox University who are currently ranked No. 4 and 5 in the national rankings on D3hoops.com. Coach Hodgdon is optimistic about these non-league games preparing the team even further for each game they play. “Our 9 non-conference games we schedule to challenge us and make us better,” said Coach Hodgdon.
The men’s team has had a rebuilding year with some of their key players playing in their first college season’s, injuries contributing to big losses, and an elite NEWMAC conference with some of the most thriving teams in the country.
Freshman guard Ryan Fogarty ’18 and forward Liam Bruno ’18 have both played in all 18 games this season. The first-years have been main contributors in each game and have helped the Lyons compete this season. Junior guard Billy Battaglia ’16 has nearly doubled his points per game numbers from last year now averaging 19.3 pts/g and shooting 42.9% from the field. Senior Eddie Capstick ’15 has also nearly doubled his scoring percentage per game and rebounds per game from last year now at 9 pts/g and 4.3 reb/g.
With sophomore Quinton Dale ’17 out for the entire season due to injury, the team has missed one of their most contributing players from last season and one of the better young emerging players in the NEWMAC conference. They anticipate his return to the court next season will help the team win games and become even more competitive.
“Our conference is one of the top conferences in the country with 4 teams nationally ranked in the top 25,” said the teams top scorer Billy Battaglia ’16. “Making the conference tournament is a big accomplishment. We have 6 games left and I think our win Saturday over Coast Guard may give us the spark we needed to make a post season push.”
Both of Wheaton’s basketball teams strive to be successful in and out of conference play. The experienced women’s team that consists of mainly seniors has had more success this season winning the majority of their games. Even though the men’s side has a losing record thus far this season, the team looks very promising for seasons ahead of them, as they will be one of the more experienced teams in the league and have a chance at being one of the top teams in a very competitive league.