Mass. College Hoops: Wheaton Prepares For Its Final Stretch

By Matt Noonan

Wheaton College women’s basketball head coach Melissa Hodgdon is all about taking it one day at a time.

“We really just take it one game at a time,” said Hodgdon, who’s guided the Lyons to a 15-4 overall mark this season. “We’re 1-0 today and everyday our goal is to get better.”

The message of getting better will indeed be echoed this evening when the Lyons return to Emerson Gymnasium to prepare for Clark University, their first of six remaining foes.

Wheaton, which is currently in third place in the NEWMAC, won its first 12 contests before falling to MIT earlier this month, 60-59. And since their loss to the Engineers, Wheaton has won three of six contests (all three of those wins were second meetings, which secured season sweeps).

Yet, while Hodgdon was pleased with her team’s effort last night, a 77-58 victory over Emerson, she certainly believes the month of January helped the squad prepare for its final stretch.

“It’s always good to get a win, but sometimes you learn more from losses,” said Hodgdon.

“The Smith game was a great basketball game. It was a phenomenal basketball game to watch and I’ve obviously watched it 100 times since we’ve played it, but you get to see things (from a different angle) and I’ve learned things (from it, too).”

The lessons from the Smith-Wheaton game will definitely be used down the stretch, but so will the squad’s team play from last night, a key factor in their win over the Lions.

As Hodgdon said, “(This group) can pick each other up. Last night, (Rebecca Arnone) got in foul trouble, so (we received help from) Alyssa Almario, Laura Pierce and (Kirsten Ferrari). I feel like we’re pretty well balanced, but its just having that mentality that it’s not one person because they’re all capable of doing it.”

With a pair of practices lined up before their second meeting with the Cougars, Hodgdon will focus on using the additional time to help the Lyons improve, while also adhering to their 1-0 philosophy.

“I know Clark will come in here and they have to win, but we have to win and it’s kind of like play the best that day and that day is the championship game,” said Hodgdon. “I feel like we’re in a good spot health-wise, mentally and physically to go in and give them our best shot.”

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