The University of Rhode Island Rams women’s basketball team defeated the University of Bridgeport Purple Knights 61-43 on Monday night at the Ryan Center in Kingston.
The Rams hosted the Purple Knights, a Division II school, in an exhibition game to kick off their 2016-2017 season. URI’s first official game comes on Friday night in a road matchup against the National Championship runner-up Syracuse Orange.
“It was a game of adjustments,” Rhode Island head coach Daynia La-Force said after the game. “We did not have any idea what they were going to do. We had no clue of their personnel.”
The lack of knowledge on their opponent certainly showed in the first half for the Rams. Rhode Island held a 30-21 lead going into the break, but only managed to shoot 30.6 percent from the field. Going into the second half, La-Force knew the team needed to make some changes on the offensive end.
“We came out in the second half and played with a lot more confidence,” La-Force said. “In the second half we took better shots.”
URI controlled the second half. Junior Charise Wilson struggled from the field, shooting just 3-16, but her defense and ability to share the ball allowed the Rams to dictate the pace of the game. Wilson had three steals and four assists in the second half.
“She (Wilson) did not get many looks on the perimeter,” La-Force said regarding her star guard’s play. “She is a dribble-drive player that likes to get to the rim. We did not get her enough chances on the perimeter, but she’s a winner. She is happy we got the win tonight.”
Despite her struggles, Wilson figures to be the focal point of the Rams’ offense, and one of the top players in the conference after earning all-conference honors in the preseason. However, there still exists the question of who else can the Rams look to down the stretch? The answer may have emerged in Monday’s game.
Rhody got a strong performance from sophomore Dina Motrechuk, who shot 7-for-10 from the field, tallying 20 points to go along with 15 rebounds. Motrechuk showed her ability to crash the backboard and finish well around the hoop. La-Force is hoping that her interior play coupled with the 3-point threats Rhode Island possesses will put the team in a great spot this season.
“We played with composure and shared the ball really well,” La-Force said. “That is what an exhibition game is, for you to go out there and test your skills. For coaches it is an opportunity for us to evaluate where we are, and go back to the drawing board.”
The Rams now head to Syracuse on Friday night, a team they pushed to the limit a year ago, and will be back in Kingston at the Ryan Center on Sunday Nov. 13 for their home opener versus Marist College.