The University of Rhode Island women’s basketball team improved to 3-4 after they defeated Dartmouth University, 57-41, at Leede Arena in Hanover, New Hampshire, behind a stout defensive effort on Friday night.
“The win was very important,” head coach Daynia La-Force said. “Their resiliency hasn’t changed since day one, even after a loss and they want to win and they want to get better. I was proud of their effort and I was proud of the way they responded after a loss.”
Sophomore guard Charise Wilson led the Rams with 19 points, along with two steals, two assists and four rebounds. Wilson has become one of the most important players on the team and has helped set the tone from a leadership perspective. He was named the 2015 Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year, 2015 Atlantic 10 Third Team All-Conference, 2015 Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team and was a six-time Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week, according to gorhody.com.
“She’s just been so much more of a vocal leader for us this year and it’s something we kind of challenge her to be as part of her progression as one of the better players in the program’s history,” La-Force said. “We just want her to add a little bit to her game which means adding a little bit more leadership from her position, not only through her example but by communicating and getting players to play better as they follow her.”
After racing to a 24-18 halftime lead, the Rams sustained their momentum and increased their lead to 33-24 at the six-minute mark of the third quarter. The Rams took a 41-30 lead entering the fourth quarter and continued their aggressive defensive play.
“I think our team is starting to develop into a team that is very deep like I thought we would be at the beginning of the year,” La-Force said. “It’s taken us a little bit of time to find out way and find a solid core group of players that could help us. Everyone has accepted their roles and is doing a nice job helping the team win.”
The Rams defense played well, holding Dartmouth to 28 percent (14-of-50) from the floor. The Rams also collected 27 defensive and 35 total rebounds. The increase of defensive rebounds is a result of lineup changes and improvements the team has made. “We moved on to two posts and three guard lineups and I think that has helped our rebounding a lot better than when we were playing with four guards,” said La-Force. “Our two post players combined had 19 rebounds and we were able to get stops on the defensive end by finishing up the play with a rebound. I think inserting two post players in the lineup really helped us become a better defensive rebounding team.”
Senior Samantha Tabakman had her third double-double of the season, and finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds. She also had four blocked shots and became the fourth player in program history to reach 100 for her career. “She’s huge for our team,” La-Force said. “She’s doing an exceptional job with being a leader for us on the floor.”
Redshirt junior Kallie Banker added eight points, two defensive rebounds and two assists against Dartmouth. “I think we have people coming off of the bench doing a wonderful job on both ends of the floor,” La-Force said. “In order for us to win, we have to have at least three people in double figures and be able to control the boards.” Freshman forward Jalissa Ross had a career-high nine rebounds including four points.