BRUNSWICK

The Bowdoin College men’s and women’s basketball teams have found success over the course of the season, especially in the New England Small College Athletic Conference. However, the signs of playoff basketball came through, concluding the regular seasons of both teams on a rather dramatic note.

The Polar Bear men (17-7, 7-3 NESCAC) entered their final two conference matchups against rival Bates and Tufts sitting as the No. 4 seed in the NESCAC, needing at least one big win to improve their spot heading into the conference playoffs. Well, the men went to work, finishing out conference play with two wins and jumping two spots to No. 2.

LUCAS HAUSMAN, top photo, and Sara Binkhorst lead the Bowdoin College basketball teams into NESCAC quarterfinal action on Saturday at Morrell Gymnasium in Brunswick.

LUCAS HAUSMAN, top photo, and Sara Binkhorst lead the Bowdoin College basketball teams into NESCAC quarterfinal action on Saturday at Morrell Gymnasium in Brunswick.

“They were both very big games and big wins and that gave us a lot of confidence heading into the conference tournament,” men’s coach Tim Gilbride said. “Winning those two games gave us confidence in knowing that we can play with anybody in the league.”

For the nationally-ranked women (21-3, 9-1 NESCAC), they found their 18-game winning streak come to an end against Tufts this past Saturday. Tufts and Bowdoin entered the game undefeated in conference play at 9-0 and tied for the top spot in the NESCAC. The Jumbos captured the 66-55 victory in Medford, Mass., to take hold of the No. 1 seed, while the Polar Bears grabbed the No. 2 slot.

“I think that it’s critical to rebound from that contest and I think we have,” women’s coach Adrienne Shibles said about the endof season loss. “We’ve had a great week of practice. We’re all on the same page and that loss taught us a lot about ourselves and it’ll make it better for our upcoming game.”

Men

Both teams will host a quarterfinal matchup to start the playoffs on Saturday, starting with the men’s squad facing No. 7 Williams (15-9, 5-5 NESCAC) at 2 p.m.

Bowdoin will look to make a quick jump right out of the gate, with junior guard Lucas Hausman receiving back-to-back Player of the Week honors for the conference, including a recent 44- point performance against Bates last Friday. Hausman’s career-game total tied former Polar Bear Bill Fraser’s record set in 1954.

Hausman is currently averaging 24.7 points per game in conference play, ranked at No. 1 over all active NESCAC players. He has also been a force at the free-throw line, coming out on top of the league, making 65-of-70 shots.

Senior captain Bryan Hurley has been largely considered the play-maker for the Polar Bears, at least on paper. The guard ranks third among all conference players in assists with 59, while 75 of his total 112 points have come via the 3-pointer.

The Polar Bear offense ranks seventh out of the 11 teams in the NESCAC, averaging 70.5 points per game, while their No. 1 ranked defense has kept opponents to an average of 63.3 points per game.

Williams sits toward the top in the No. 2 spot on offense, while coming in at No. 9 on defense. The Ephs have scored an average of 75.5 points per game, while allowing 71.2 points per game. The two teams have met only once this season, with Bowdoin taking home the 67-60 victory back on Jan. 16.

“They’re a very good shooting team, they like to shoot ‘3s,’” Gilbride said of Williams’ offense. “They’ll be a tough matchup in that way, especially since they have five guys that can really shoot.”

Saturday’s matchup will feature Williams’ Daniel Wohl, who comes in right behind Hausman in the conference with 20.9 points per game. The Polar Bears will have to be aggressive inside the paint, even with 7-footer John Swords, as Wohl comes in averaging nine rebounds a game, good for fifth in the league.

Another component to the Ephs squad is outside shooter Hayden Rooke-Ley. The senior has collected 22 of his 31 field goals from beyond the arc, enough to give him an average 19.3 points per game.

Women

The women will play immediately after the men on Saturday, with an estimated start time of 4 p.m. against No. 7 Middlebury (11-13, 3-7 NESCAC).

Polar Bear Sara Binkhorst has been everything a team wants during the season. The senior guard ranks sixth overall in points per game with 15, but her 3- point shooting is off the charts, leading all conference players with 50 percent of her shots sinking from beyond the arc. Binkhorst has been a repetitive mention throughout the season, including a recent NESCAC Player of the Week honor.

Teammate Shannon Brady has played a large impact role on the team, both offensively and defensively.

Brady, who is in her third year, averages 16.7 points per game in conference play. However, her 18 blocks on the season brings her in at third best in the NESCAC.

Bowdoin’s offense has been difficult to stop for most opponents, as the Polar Bears have found themselves ranked 18th in the nation (D3hoops.com).

The Polar Bears came out with a victory at Middlebury just two weeks ago (53-43). If Bowdoin’s second-ranked offense (68.3 points per game) can continue to roll, Middlebury, which is No. 6 defensively and has allowed 57.1 points per game, will have some work to do.

“They are a great team and our former assistant coach (KJ Krasco) is at the helm for them this year,” Shibles said. “We’re absolutely not going to take them lightly. Our focus is largely on our defense, there were some things from this past weekend that we needed to improve on. They have a talented freshmen point guard (Sara Kaufman) that we’re going to have to work hard against.”

The Panthers offense has spread itself out this year, with leaders such as sophomore Elizabeth Knox leading the team with 335 points overall. On the defensive end, freshman guard Sara Kaufman ranks sixth among conference players in defensive rebounds with 57.


Comments are not available on this story.