Explorers Extend Win Streak To 5 In Win Over Lowly Bonnies

Sports

Nicholas Signoretta, Editor

La Salle Women’s Basketball Week In Review 1/31/23

The final from Tom Gola Arena. (courtesy lasalle_wbb)

Beating up on league bottom feeders is not the most glamorous activity in which a team can partake on a January afternoon, but it’s something good teams have to do to keep pace with the front of the pack.  The La Salle Women’s basketball team (14-8, 5-2) took care of A-10 cellar dweller St. Bonaventure (4-20, 1-8) 65-52 at Tom Gola Arena this past Saturday, Jan 28th, to extend their most recent win streak to five games, their longest streak since the 2019-20 season, and their longest such streak in conference play since the 2016-17 season.

The game opened with some back and forth until the Explorers opened up to a ten-point lead late in the 1st Qtr.  The Bonnies narrowed the lead down to five just before the close of the 2nd Qtr, but the Explorers would score to take a 30-23 lead into the half.  The 3rd Qtr featured some solid play by the visitors to narrow the La Salle lead to one point at 37-36, but the ensuing 19-3 run by the Explorers put the game away for good.

Mia Jacobs is following her sisters’ dominance when it comes to La Salle women’s basketball. (shotbyscornely)

La Salle’s win was highlighted by stellar outings from some of Australia’s finest exports, Claire and Mia Jacobs.  Claire led the squad with 21 points, going 4 of 7 from beyond the arc, while her younger sister Mia dropped 17, burying 3 of 5 from range.  Charity Shears also reached double-digit points herself, hitting 2 of 5 from three to finish with 10 points, while Kayla Spruill got big down low with 9 boards, all complemented by Molly Masciantonio’s 4 assists.

Molly Masciantonio is currently operating as one of the nation most efficient point guards. (courtesy lasalle_wbb)

With this weekend’s result giving the girls a 5-2 mark in conference play, La Salle find themselves sitting third in the A-10 with a month of basketball left to play in the regular season.  Several upsets around the A-10 this weekend, including Davidson, Fordham, and Saint Joe’s all falling on the road have left the Explorers as the lone team with two conference losses.  With league leader Rhode Island (17-3, 8-0) not on the remaining schedule, La Salle has some mild upside when it comes to possible seeding for this year’s A10 Women’s Basketball Championships in Wilmington, Delaware.

The girls are hard at work to secure the programs best campaign since the turn of the century. (courtesy shotbyscornely)

This upcoming week’s slate features a midweek matchup at the struggling VCU Rams (6-14, 3-5) who have lost ten of their last thirteen and a major home matchup against the UMass Minutewomen (17-4, 7-1) who are just ahead of the Explorers in the conference ladder.  The VCU game will start at 11AM EST on Wednesday, Feb 1st, while the UMass game will begin at 2PM EST on Saturday, Feb 4th.  Both contests will be broadcast on ESPN+.  Hopefully I can bring you coverage regarding those matchups, but if I am once again relegated to talking about our exhilarating men’s team, just know that I hate Enrique Carrasco.

La Salle Men’s Basketball Week In Review 1/24/23

Sports

Nicholas Signoretta, Editor

Courtesy of lasallembb

Society’s favorite La Sallian newspaper, may have taken the past month off to enjoy the winter holiday and delightfully dreary weather that plagues the northeastern United States, but the ever-middling La Salle Explorers men’s basketball squad was not afforded the same opportunity.  While the average resident of 20th & Olney was bumming around all break, Coach Fran Dunphy and the boys were hard at work on the hardwood battlefield.  As always, a new calendar year ushers in good ol’ conference basketball play, and with that, the realization that over eighty percent of the teams in NCAA Division 1 are not making the tourney and will be deeply irrelevant come mid-March.  La Salle, for twenty-nine of the past thirty years, has fallen into this irrelevant grouping.  Hopefully, the Explorers buck the trend this year (they were picked to finish bottom three in the league in most publications).

Courtesy of shotbyscornely

Since the last publication of my Men’s Basketball Review, La Salle has unfortunately settled into the dreaded swing of mediocrity.  A steaming record of 8-11 has been complemented with a sterling mark of 2-4 in conference play.  Highlights of the winter break include a 77-75 OT win over the Rhode Island Rams, a 78-77 upset win at the UMass Minutemen, and covering the spread at Saint Louis (very rare).  While this start might not be ideal, there is a silver-lining somewhere in there.  While our beloved Explorers might be average at best, the Atlantic 10 as a whole this year is frankly a steaming pile of disappointment.  A league that began the year with a ranked Dayton team has fallen off in the whooping three months since the season tipped off.  The conference is hellbent on the path to having just one team dancing come March, and that squad seems poised to fall to an average Big 12 in their opening tournament matchup.  So the silver-lining is that La Salle is not the only “bleh” team in the A-10 this year.  Everyone seems to be on their way for a forgettable 2022-2023 season.

This upcoming week, the Explorers get a home date against the Davidson Wildcats (9-10, 2-5) on Tuesday, Jan. 24, as well as a trip to Kingston, Rhode Island, to face the Rhode Island Rams (6-13, 2-5) on Saturday, Jan. 28.  I pray they win these contests as they would make next week’s article exciting to write (but equally as painful).

La Salle Men’s Basketball Week In Review 12/6/22

Sports

Nicholas Signoretta, Editor

Courtesy of doms.pov

La Salle University Men’s Basketball had a decent rebound week to kick off their post-Thanksgiving stretch.  After a tough trip two weeks ago in the Jamaica Classic, the Explorers got the benefit of staying home in the City Of Brotherly Love for all three of their most recent contests. 

The Explorers opened the week with a home contest at the ever-cozy Tom Gola Arena against the Binghamton Bearcats on Saturday, Nov. 26th.  A narrow 65-62 victory almost slipped through the Explorers’ grasp as the Bearcats rallied back from multiple second-half deficits to take a lead with just under five minutes to play.  Luckily, the boys from 20th and Olney rallied to bring home that sweet Thanksgiving break W. 

The next contest the Explorers played was at the pinnacle of all Philadelphia basketball venues, the Palestra.  In the first leg of a Philly Big 5 doubleheader, the Explorers tipped off against the second best university north of Market Street, the Temple Owls.  While Temple may be a subpar university off the court, the Owls were the dominant squad on the hardwood.  Temple guard Khalif Battle had a big night at the Cathedral of Basketball, leading all scorers with 22 points and guiding his squad to a 67-51 victory.  The Explorers had a lead with under nine minutes left in the game, but Fran Dunphy’s first game back against his former employer was spoiled as La Salle was outscored 28-7 down the stretch, and the Owls improved their record against the Explorers to 25-7 this millennium.

La Salle closed out the weekend with another game at the Palestra.  Their foe was a Big 5 team that also formerly employed Coach Dunphy, the Penn Quakers.  Despite the Quakers’ home court advantage, that subpar excuse for a basketball team was no match for the mighty Explorers, led by guards Anwar Gill and Jhamir Brickus, who dropped career highs of 26 and 25 points, respectively.  Penn guard Jordan Dingle(berry) scored a career high 37 points, including a three point heave at the buzzer to send the game to overtime, but the Quakers never had a chance to top the overpowering force of the Explorers.

Courtesy of shotsbycornely

With those three games in the books, La Salle now sits at a nice and even 4-4.  Home matchups against the Bucknell Bison (6-3) on Tuesday, Dec. 6th, and the Drexel Dragons (4-5) on Saturday, Dec.10th, await the Explorers.  With the rest of the out of conference slate looking rather winnable besides an away date with the Cincinnati Bearcats (6-3) on Saturday, Dec. 17th, La Salle has a solid chance to enter conference play with a winning record and a reason to exist come mid-February.  Quite the ask.