December 7, 2020 

Amanda Kalin, Sam Breen help pace Atlantic 10 this week

#2020goals include an entire week where everybody plays; not quite there yet!

Welcome to The Next: A basketball newsroom brought to you by The IX. 24/7/365 women’s basketball coverage, written, edited, and photographed by our young, diverse staff, dedicated to breaking news, analysis, historical deep dives, and projections about the game we love.

Subscribe to make sure this vital work, creating a pipeline of young, diverse media professionals to write, edit and photograph the great game, continues, and grows. Subscriptions include some exclusive content, but the reason for subscriptions is a simple one: making sure our writers and editors creating 24/7/365 women’s basketball coverage get paid to do it.


Rhode Island women’s basketball team in a huddle. Photo courtesy of Rhode Island Athletics.

Despite the uncertainty of COVID-19 making every game on the schedule tentative, the galaxy of stars in the Atlantic 10 continues to shine whenever they get onto the court. Let’s take a closer look at who is showing out so far:

Davidson

Davidson did not play last week and is scheduled to return to the court in search of their first win on Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 4 p.m. against Charleston Southern University.  

Dayton 

In Dayton’s lone game this week the Flyers fell 77-74 against Akron. The Flyers fell behind early after Akron hit seven 3s in the first quarter and could not overcome the 17-point first-quarter deficit.

Despite the slow start, the Flyers have multiple positive takeaways from the game. Dayton outrebounded Akron 44-28, Erin Whalen had 26 points, just one less than her career-high and freshman Tenin Magassa continued her efficient start to the season with nine points, four rebounds and four blocks in just 15 minutes. 

The Flyers have just three nonconference games over the next three weeks before the start of conference play. 

Duquesne

Duquesne earned its first win of the season with a 69-67 win over Saint Francis U.  

Senior Amanda Kalin led the Dukes to victory with a career-high 25 points and scored the game-winning layup. 

Duquesne had just nine free-throw attempts compared to Saint Francis’ 23, something that will need to improve as the season continues. 

The Dukes open conference play on Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. against St. Bonaventure before playing two more nonconference games to end 2020. 

Fordham

Fordham played just one game this week after the matchup against Manhattan was canceled due to COVID-19 issues within the program. The Rams lost 68-62 to Quinnipiac University on Dec. 5 in the team’s first game in a week and a half. 

The young Fordham team struggled shooting from the free throw line, making just 11 of their 19 shots. However, the Rams also shot 35.8 percent of their shots from the field and 37.5 percent from behind the arc. 

Anna DeWolfe once again led Fordham in scoring with 21 points against the Bobcats. Though Katie McLoughlin and Kaitlyn Downey both scored 12 points, the Rams need to continue developing other scorers to pair with DeWolfe. 

George Mason 

The Patriots went 1-1 last week, beating Longwood University and losing to James Madison University. Mason was able to find their 3-point shot, averaging 8.5 threes per game this week. 

Though the team has continued to share the ball, Marika Korpinen has proven she can be a go-to shooter and take over point guard duties when necessary, a position she seldom played prior to this season. 

Despite starting Tuesday’s game strongly, Mason struggled in the first half, scoring 15 points or less in the first two quarters Sunday against James Madison, something they will need to continue to work on as conference play approaches. 

George Washington

GW suffered its first loss of the season to Virginia Tech on Tuesday and the Colonials’ game against Virginia was canceled due to the Cavaliers’ injury issues. 

Against the Hokies, GW was led by two newcomers, graduate student Jasmine Whitney and freshman Ali Brigham, who both scored 13 points. On a team with lots of new faces, it is important for the Colonials that their newcomers are adjusting so quickly. However, the team will need to try to develop me than two double-digit scorers in a game. 

La Salle 

After not playing in the first week of the season, La Salle went 2-1 in week two, losing to Towson but winning its next two against Monmouth and Saint Francis U. 

The Explorers were on fire from behind the arc this week, averaging 10.3 made threes per game. Junior Kayla Spruill has gone 9-for-18 from three so far this season. Making threes at this rate will help La Salle continue to win games.

Spruill, Claire Jacobs and Molly Masciantonio are all averaging at least 10 points per game, providing a solid scoring core for La Salle. 

UMass

UMass improved to 2-1 this week by defeating Fairfield 71-50, spearheaded by Sam Breen and Taylor Sydney who continued to carry the scoring load with 21 and 20 points respectively. 

The Minutewomen are shooting well from the floor (46.3 percent) and from behind the arc (37.7 percent), but have struggled from the free throw throw line, shooting 66.7 percent, eighth in the conference. The team will need to work to improve in its three games this week as UMass is not scheduled to play a game between Dec. 13 and Jan. 1. However, the team currently sits in first place in the conference in scoring (78.3 points per game) and margin of victory (13.7 points per game).

Due to a scheduling change, UMass opens up conference play against Rhode Island on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. The game was originally scheduled for Nov. 28. 

Rhode Island 

The Rams narrowly lost to Penn State this week 70-69, battling back after being down double digits early. The Rams had six players with at least seven points, including Emmanuelle Tahane who led the team with a career-high 17 points. 

Freshman Catherine Cairns also had a career-high 11 points in just her second career game. 

Rhode Island will need to improve its turnovers, as Penn State scored 21 points on 17 Rams turnovers. However, the Rams have limited opportunities to do so, with just two games currently scheduled, both this upcoming week, before 2021.

Richmond

Richmond went 3-0 this week defeating Navy, Gardner-Webb and William & Mary by an average margin of 15 points per game. 

The Spiders, who have struggled in recent years, appear to be building the pieces for a run in conference play. Five players, Kate Klimkiewicz, Addie Budnik, Claire Holt, Siobhan Ryan and Grace Townsend, are averaging at least eight points per game, providing a wide range of scorers making it more difficult to defend Richmond. 

Klimkiewicz ranks seventh in the conference in scoring (15 per game), Budnik averages 3.5 blocks per game, while Elaina Chapman ranks fourth in rebounding (9.0 per game). Additionally, Townsend, a freshman, leads the conference in field goal percentage (75 percent). 

St. Bonaventure

St. Bonaventure has yet to play a game after the program announced it paused all team activities on Nov. 24. The team is scheduled to play its first game Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. against Duquesne. 

The Bonnies have added three nonconference games scheduled between Dec. 13 and Dec. 22. 

Saint Joseph’s

The Hawks are scheduled to start their 2020-21 season on Dec. 13 against Lincoln University. The team previously had to pause team activities after a member of their Tier 1 personnel tested positive, as announced on Nov. 21. 

Saint Louis 

Saint Louis went 2-0 last week after its season opener was postponed the week before, defeating Memphis in overtime and Bradley just two days later. Six Billikens average at least 7.5 points per game, Ciaja Harbison, Myriama Smith Traore, Myia Clark, Rachel Kent, Julia Martinez and Peyton Kennedy, providing Saint Louis with a multitude of scoring threats. 

In the small sample size of the season so far Smith Traore is averaging 12 points, 12 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game while Harbison is sixth in the conference averaging 19.5 points per game. 

The Billikens will look to keep their winning streak alive against Tulsa and Southern Illinois this week. 

VCU

VCU went 1-1 this week, defeating the University at Buffalo and losing to Old Dominion University. Despite shooting just 31 percent as a team against Buffalo, Taya Robinson continued her dominance, scoring 20 points, including 7-for-7 from the free throw line. 

However, the Rams struggled to capitalize on ODU’s 17 turnovers, scoring just 17 points, while the Monarchs turned VCU’s 17 turnovers into 25 points. 

On the other hand, VCU has been able to rely on several players to provide high-volume scoring for the team, making the team more versatile overall. Against ODU four players scored in double-figures, but reigning A-10 Sixth Woman of the Year Madison Hattix-Covington was not one of them, demonstrating the team’s extreme scoring depth. 

Written by Natalie Heavren

Natalie Heavren has been covering women’s basketball since February 2019 and currently covers both the Atlantic 10 and the WNBA.

Leave a Comment