Bullets blast through tournament, start season 2-0
By Shannon Keeler, Staff Writer
The Gettysburg women’s basketball team made school history last season by finishing off their season as Centennial Conference Champions as well as the national leader in defensive opponent field-goal percentage. Luckily, the team entered the season with a roster relatively unchanged. With an entire team of returners, along with three additional first-years, the only difference now is that the squad has experience on their side.
With tons of experience and talent returning to the court, the Bullet’s kicked off their season on a high note and arrived home to Gettysburg as Frostburg State University and Jim Crawley Tournament champions.
Their opening game was filled with intrigue, as they faced William Paterson University, the same team that knocked them out of the first round of the NCAA III playoffs last season. Gettysburg was up for the challenge. They won their revenge by defeating #18 ranked Patterson in a nail-biting 51-47 win in the opening round of the tournament.
Sophomore forward Jessica Porter was determined to win this time around, and led the Bullet’s with 15 points Friday.
“It was definitely a motivator for us, last year they kicked us out of the NCAA,” Porter said. “So when we heard we were playing them, it really pushed us to prepare for the game and give it our all.”
It was an intense, tightknit game with multiple lead for the majority of the first half, until Gettysburg scored a consecutive 15 points to end the first period on top with a 31-18 lead.
Paterson did not give up, however, and managed to put a dent into the deficit, cutting the lead to just two with 3:54 to go. The Bullets rallied and relied on their execution from the foul line to keep the lead. Senior Alyssa Isler went 1-1 and senior Caroline Murphy sealed the game with a solid 4-4.
With three double-digit scorers and relentless defensive pressure the Gettysburg managed to obtain the crucial first win.
The Bullets relied on their defensive skill and kept Paterson at a 24.3% shot percentage in the first half. Another game-breaking statistic was Gettysburg’s 81.3% percentage from the charity stripe.
Senior Alyssa Isler had ten points for the Bullets and five rebounds and senior Caroline Murphy put up 14 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore forward Emily Duggan chipped in five points and six rebounds.
On Saturday, the Bullets finished off the tournament strong beating King’s College in a 63-47 tournamentwinning victory.
Co-captain Caroline Murphy started off her senior season strong with not only an impressive showing Friday night, but also on Saturday. She canned 12 points, nine rebounds and three assists against King’s College.
“We went into the game against Paterson really focused on fixing our mistakes from last year,” Murphy said. “It was a close game, it wasn’t easy, but we executed and then did it again on Saturday. It felt good to kick off the season with confidence.”
Gettysburg entered Saturday’s game with confidence and never fell behind. King’s attempted the first shot, which was rebounded by Murphy and was consecutively converted into a three-pointer by Isler to begin the game.
The Bullets had a strong first half finishing off with a score of 38-18, never letting King’s get less than five points in reach of them.
They continued their domination straight through the second half and never fell below a twelve point lead.
Isler bucketed eleven points and was the leading scorer for the game. Senior Rianna Doane scored eleven points and had three steals. Porter and Senior guard Katie Earley both chipped in eight points, and Duggan finished off with six points.
Following the game, Murphy was awarded Most Valuable Player. The 6’1 senior forward is one of the top returning players of the Cen tennial Conference and led the Bullets in points, rebounds, assists, and blocks last year. Murphy is Gettysburg’s alltime leader in free-throw percentage at 85%, a remarkable statistic.
“Over time I’ve grown each year more and more confident, and I focus on what I can control, making foul shots, rebounds, and making the easy lay-ups,” Murphy said. “My teammates look for me to make foul shots, and I’m confident in myself to do so.”
When asked what will drive the team to be successful, Porter remarked upon the team chemistry.
“We have a lot of leadership and team chemistry, so having everyone come back really just transferred over nicely, and everybody is building upon their experience and pushing ourselves and each other to perform.”
Murphy also had a very similar response, “The team chemistry is already there, were a small team and spend a lot of time together, and that translates on the court.”
The Bullets are a stronger, more experienced team than last year. Success is never guaranteed, but all the pieces to the puzzle are there, the only question is whether they’ll fall into place.
“Our goals are to win all the home games this year, as far as the conference goes, it’s going to be tough, and we have to stay focused,” Murphy said. “It’s a long season with tough competition but that’s what makes it fun. I’m confident, I know the team’s confident, and we’re ready to show why we got voted number one.”