While the rest of us enjoyed a three-day weekend, University of Rhode Island women’s basketball opened up the season with their first two official games.
The Rams won the season opener over UMass Lowell at the Ryan Center on Friday and lost Monday night when they hosted the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
The Rams opened the season at home Friday at 5 p.m., where they won 81-64 behind an amazing effort from the younger members of the team. Seven players made their URI debut in this game, with three of them scoring in double figures.
Redshirt sophomore Elemy Colome scored a team high 19 points while contributing nine assists and five steals in her debut. Freshman Abby Streeter added 17 points, with 15 of them coming from behind the arc, and fellow freshman Marta Vargas also added 12 points of her own. Sophomore Nicole Jorgensen was a force in the paint, scoring 15 points and pulling down 7 rebounds.
The Rams scored 33 points from deep, connecting at a 45.8 percent rate from three-point range. The bench, led by Streeter and Jorgensen, contributed 37 points in the victory. The Rams were missing a key player in senior Charise Wilson, who did not play due to injury, according to Rams head coach Daynia La-Force.
On the defensive side, the Rams forced 24 turnovers and turned those into 34 points. URI forced a poor shooting night out of the River Hawks, as UMass Lowell shot 23-59 for a shaky 39 percent.
Monday night, the Minnesota Golden Gophers traveled all the way to the Ryan Center for the second game of the season. The Rams lost this matchup, 82-60.
Jorgensen, who was a huge factor last Friday, did not play in this matchup and was seen in a walking boot around her right foot. However, Coach La-Force noted that Jorgensen will be ready for the next game, Friday night at Samford.
“Our rebounding suffered,” La-Force said. “Our inside presence wasn’t the same without her in the lineup. I thought we really could’ve pounded the ball inside if we had Nicole. We didn’t have that front-line presence we thought we would have.” The Rams were outrebounded 61-33 on Monday.
Wilson made her season debut, scoring seven points with five assists. Junior Dina Motrechuk and Streeter led the offense for the Rams, both scoring 13. Motrechuk also pulled down seven rebounds before fouling out early in the fourth quarter. Motrechuk played only 14 minutes after getting into foul trouble early.
Streeter connected on four three-pointers in the loss, giving her nine threes in her first two games. Overall, she’s shooting 56.3 percent from long range. “Abby’s a confident shooter,” La-Force said of her freshman guard. “She’s told to have her hands ready and her feet set and knock down shots, and that’s what she’s been doing.”
Minnesota point guard Kenisha Bell gave the Rams defenders headaches all night by attacking the paint and finding open shooters. Bell led all scorers with 22 points, 10 from the free-throw line, and eight assists for the Gophers. Carlie Wagner contributed with 18 points herself.
After shooting 55.4 percent from the field Friday night, URI was held to a cold 32.8 percent by the Gophers defense.
Rhode Island travels to Samford on Friday, Nov. 17 to take on the Bulldogs. Overall, Coach La-Force is pleased with what she’s seen in the first two games, however acknowledges that there is work to be done. “I think offensively, we’ve got a lot of weapons, and we have great inside presence,” La-Force said. “Defensively we still have to work on locking our opponents down and following the game plan.”