By Matt Noonan
On Thursday, Noontime Sports had the chance to catch up with both Tufts University’s men’s and women’s basketball coaches.
Here are some highlights from both interviews.
Men’s Basketball head coach Bob Sheldon:
On defeating Williams College: “It was a big win for us. I felt that with our team, we’ve been up and down, and we needed to know how good we were as a team. I think myself and the staff felt we were good, but they needed to know. We needed a signature win, and I felt that when we went in there, the whole team was focused, the energy was there, it was the first [NESCAC conference] game, it was a nice crowd for them, and to go in there and play them, and beat them there is something that I don’t know how far it’s going to pay forward. It’s just indescribable, [and my team] was confident going into their next [game], and even though it wasn’t our best shot against Middlebury, [but] we were down six with four minutes left, [but], I think it’s going to take us a long way.”
On playing non-conference opponents: “We’ll play anybody. Our belief as a staff is that if you deserve to get a bid at the end and have a good record, you need to play the best teams. So, we play anybody that’ll play us, and once we get into our league, it’s Friday night, Saturday afternoon, and it’s tough. There are no nights off, and so we want to play MIT and Babson, [as well as] Salem and Brandies and those teams that are good, so that we’re ready when we get to the league because if we win the league, it’s an automatic bid, but if you win those games, it gets you ready to win the league to get the automatic bid. And we’re very disappointed in those two losses, [against MIT and Plymouth State], but part of that is that we’re pretty young. We play C.J. Moss, a freshman a lot; we play Ben Ferris a freshman a lot. Both our point guards are sophomores, and we were missing our starting point guard from last year, [but Oliver Cohen] is back now. But, those games are disappointing because we know we can win them, but part of it was we’re young, and we got into those situations and we really weren’t ready mentally. [When] we go to Williams and play a game like that or even the Babson game or [Plymouth] was a close game right down the end, and so was Salem State, so those games are just helping us, and just like I said, we needed that one big win to kind of let them know how good they are, and maybe get a little bit of a swagger going, and now we’re going to test that this weekend.”
On earning an eventual home victory: “We need to get a win at home, and that’s been the main focus after Middlebury. If we can [get a win on] Friday, and use that to feed off on Saturday, and then go into Tuesday, I think we’ll be alright, but Friday night has been our focus, and we really are focused on beating Bowdoin College.”
Women’s Basketball head coach Carla Berube:
On the 11-game winning streak: “I think a lot has to do with just developing some good chemistry on the court. The first two games were two tough opponents to start off, and we have some young players that are getting some time, so I think it’s just taken a little while to sort of find the groove on the floor, and finding the balance of our returners, our experienced players with those freshmen. [Also], I think just playing fundamentally sound basketball, and when you do that you’re in every game, and we’ve been lucky enough to [succeed quite well over the past few weeks].”
On defeating Williams College: “I think we just played very good half-court defense. I think we did a good job of contesting all of their shots, and also doing a good job on the defensive boards. I think shooting percentage goes up when you’re taking two foot shots rather than contested shots from the outside, so we did a good job of keeping them off the boards, and contesting their shots. Williams missed some easy looks, too, so all those three things together I think led to that percentage, but for the most part, I think we were there on every shot, making it hard for them.”
On gaining momentum from beating Williams: “I hope so. I think we have a bit of a chip on our shoulder, and I think we went into that game with that mentality and we have the mentality that we’re to do everything possible to outwork our opponent, so I think that helps us to see what we’re capable of doing, night in and night out, but it’s only going to happen if you bring that same intensity, that same aggressiveness, that same chip that we had, so I hope that it gives us some confidence, but also we recognize how it happened, and why it happened.”
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