Basketball Ready For 2011

After closing out 2010 with a 64-36 victory over Fisher College, Pine Manor will open the 2011 half of its schedule on Wednesday, January 5, with a contest against Wheelock College. The contest will be the final non-conference game for Pine Manor before it begins Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) play on Saturday, January 8, when it welcomes Rivier College to Pine Manor Gym.

Click Here for Live Stats vs. Wheelock College on January 5, 2011

Despite having to battle both opponents and injuries throughout the first half of the 2010-11 season, Pine Manor has already eclipsed its win total from last season. Sitting at 3-6, Gator head coach Alex Gould is pleased with the progress the team his team has made.

“I think we have put ourselves in a good position to accomplish the goals that we set for ourselves,” said the Gators second-year head coach. “We were hoping to build on last season,” said Gould of a challenging season that ended on a high note when a putback by Paulette Wright (left) (Baltimore, MD/Seton Keough) gave Pine Manor a 75-73 victory over St. Joseph College in the regular season finale. For Wright, it was a fitting end to an outstanding season as she received GNAC Player of the Week honors following the victory and a season that saw her average a double-double at 12.6 points per game (PPG) and 10.9 rebounds per game (RPG).

This season, the Gators have had to operate for the most part without their top scorer and top rebounder from just a season ago as Pine Manor lost Wright to injury following a season-opening loss to Curry, 86-68, on November 15. The injury to Wright—as well as a rash of bangs and bruises that has plagued the roster all season—has created an opportunity for others to make significant contributions for the Gators.

“We’ve been competing in every game,” said Gould. “So far everyone has been buying in, and I think our captains can be given a lot of credit for some of the success we have had early in the season.” Pine Manor’s veteran backcourt of junior tri-captain Phibe Pham (right) (Boston, MA/Snowden) and tri-senior captain Enjolee Phillips (Hartford, CT/Weaver) has helped guide the Gators despite the absence of Wright, who is also a tri-captain this season.

“They’ve all brought a lot of positive energy to the program, and they are doing a great job of leading by example,” said Gould. “When you have injuries, you need to stay positive, and they’ve done a good job of doing that for the team.”

Pine Manor has also received solid contributions from Tia Nelson (left) (Rockport, MA/Rockport), the sophomore forward who has established herself as not only one of the premier three-point shooters in the GNAC but in the nation as well. Nelson, who has been a mainstay in the Gator lineup since she arrived in Chestnut Hill, is currently eighth in nation for NCAA Division III, having made 3.3 three-pointers per game this year. Nelson’s 29 total three-pointers made are tops in the GNAC while her 337 total minutes played are also tops in the conference.

However, no one has answered the call more for Pine Manor than junior Therline Dumeran (Cambridge, MA/Cambridge Rindge). Dumeran, is currently one of the top-ten rebounders in the nation for NCAA Division III, at 14.0 RPG and is also averaging a double-double thanks to her 15.3 PPG.

Click Here for more about Therline, PMC’s Student-Athlete of the Month for December

“A lot of people have stepped up but [Therline] has done a great job,” said Gould. Dumeran’s contributions have more than helped to make up for the loss of Wright’s production in the Pine Manor lineup and the prospects of seeing the two play more games together has Gould eager to begin conference play. “It’s definitely going to be exciting to watch, especially with GNAC play coming up. We are really excited to be able to put two players together who can produce like that. I think it will be good for everyone.”

The individual success of many players on the roster has translated into team success for Pine Manor, despite the result of a few games this season. A 46-point loss to Wentworth early in the 2009-10 season was a low point for Pine Manor. However, despite a loss to Wentworth again early this year, Pine Manor has already seen the difference a year can make. The Gators dropped a close, 61-56, decision just days after defeating Bay Path, 75-46, on November 29 for its first victory of the season.

“I was really pleased with the effort against WIT—you always want to get a win, but it shows the strives that we’ve made as a program. To go from a low point last year, to playing a good, competitive game this year, that’s exactly what we want to see,” said. Gould. After falling to WIT, the Gators bounced back to win in impressive fashion, 62-36, as they defeated Gordon College a few days later on December 4.

With everyone rested following semester break, Gould hopes to see the Gators take more steps as a program when Pine Manor enters GNAC play. “At the beginning of the year, [the team] made it our goal to finish in the top eight and make the conference playoffs,” noted Gould. For Pine Manor, a trip to the GNAC tournament would be the first since 2005, when the then eighth-seeded Gators lost to Emmanuel, 82-54, in the quarterfinals of the GNAC playoffs.

“I hope we will stay healthy, and then I think we can accomplish our goals for the season,” said Gould. “We want to continue to build on last season, continue to compete and continue to be a competitive team. We need to keep working hard for 40 minutes, sharing the ball, finding the best shot and playing good defense. If we can do those things, we will continue to see results as a team and as a program.”

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