A-10 Out Of 10 In Disappointment: La Salle Women’s Basketball Week In Review 3/7/23


Nicholas Signoretta, Editor

Molly Masciantonio driving to the rim for an easy bucket. (courtesy of @a10conference)

La Salle women’s basketball capped off what was a season of promise and potential with a putrid display in last week’s season finale in the A10 Tournament.  Picked to finish second in the A10 preseason poll, the Explorers find themselves looking at an offseason of regret after maxing out as the #8 Seed and falling in their first game in Wilmington, Delaware.

An early 11AM EST start was on the docket for the Explorers (17-14, 8-7) as they squared off against the #9 Seed George Mason Patriots (16-14, 8-8) on Mar 2nd in the Second Round of this past week’s A-10 Tournament at Chase Fieldhouse.  The Patriots opened the game strong, taking a 18-13 lead at the end of 1st Qtr, but a 7-1 Explorers run gave La Salle their first lead of the game midway through the 2nd Qtr.  A little back and forth saw the Patriots exit the half with a 34-30 lead.  The 3rd Qtr saw George Mason extend their lead to six with a score of 44-38, but an 8-2 La Salle run had the score locked at 46-46 with a little over six minutes remaining in the 4th Qtr.  From there, the Patriots pulled away, fending off one or two Explorers runs as they went on to win the game 64-58.

The final from Chase Fieldhouse. (courtesy of @lasalle_wbb)

With the season over and no more women’s basketball left to play or to write about, I am left with a void in my soul.  Out of all the teams I have written about this year, I enjoyed covering this one the most (probably because the squad is not a flaming dumpster fire).  Alas, I bid this team farewell and hope to be blessed to cover them next year.

Everything’s Irrelevant Since It’s A-10 Tourney Time: La Salle Women’s Basketball Week In Review 2/28/23


Nicholas Signoretta, Editor

Official branding for this week’s upcoming A10 Women’s Championship. (courtesy of atlantic10.com)

La Salle women’s basketball has concluded their regular season with a pristine record of 17-13 overall, featuring a crisp 8-7 mark in conference play.  In the modern economy of the Atlantic 10 Conference, that would be good for the #8 Seed in the league’s upcoming conference tournament in Wilmington, Delaware.  Instead of recapping this past week’s games (nothing like losing on the road to 6-20 Dayton), I will instead solely focus on what the Explorers’ actual chances are at being crowned the A-10 Tournament champions for the first time in program history.

Molly Masciantonio thinking about that automatic bid La Salle will get from winning the A10 tourney. (courtesy of shotbyscornely)

La Salle will open the tournament on Thursday, Mar 2nd, with a matchup against the #9 Seed George Mason Patriots (15-14, 8-8) at Chase Fieldhouse.  The matchup will start at 11AM EST and will be broadcast on ESPN+.  For the Explorers, the matchup is not the best draw.  While La Salle beat George Mason earlier this season by a score of 69-62, that came with the backing of homecourt.  Also, the Patriots have won four of their last five, with their only loss coming against the league’s best team and reigning A-10 Tournament champion, the UMass Minutewomen (24-5, 14-2).  To say La Salle would have wanted to face one of the teams that play in the tournament’s opening games on Mar 1st would be an understatement.  To play a team on short rest would be a great break for the Explorers, but unfortunately, they must play an equally rested Patriots team.

The next big obstacle standing in La Salle’s way is their potential opponent for the Friday, Mar 3rd, quarterfinal matchup.  Due to the A-10 bracket not reseeding teams, a win over the Patriots on Thursday gives La Salle a date with the UMass team that I touched on earlier, the same Minutewomen that trounced the Explorers earlier this year in Tom Gola by a score of 66-42.  UMass is on quite the tear too, with their only loss in their past fourteen games being a two-point loss at the A-10’s #3 Seed, the Saint Louis Billikens (14-17, 10-6).  Not an ideal opponent.  If La Salle does find their way into this matchup, the game would be at 11AM EST and stream on ESPN+.

The bracket for the 2023 A10 Women’s Championship. (courtesy of atlantic10.com)

If the Explorers do somehow make it to the semifinals and the finals, those games would take place on Saturday, Mar 4th, at 11AM EST, and on Sunday, Mar 5th, at 12PM EST, respectively.  The semifinal would stream on CBS Sports Network while the final would be on ESPNU.  I pray that next week I will be writing about the A-10 Champion La Salle Explorers.  Realistically, I will be writing their obituary.

Mixed Week Leaves Explorers With Work To Do: La Salle Women’s Basketball Week In Review 2/21/23


Nicholas Signoretta, Editor

Molly Masciantonio feeling herself while the Explorers’ offense is cooking. (courtesy of shotbyscornely)

La Salle University women’s basketball had another middling week when all things were said and done, splitting their two games, and leaving plenty of questions unanswered as the final week of regular season A-10 play approaches.

The Explorers opened their week at Tom Gola Arena on Thursday, Feb 16th, with an early game against the Fordham Rams (16-10, 8-5).  Although the game tipped-off at 11AM (peak class hours for Lasallian students), the gym was not without a great home crowd.  The game was labeled as “Kids Day,” meaning Gola was packed with young students from local schools who were spending their field trip cheering on the girls in blue and gold.  The Explorers opened the 1st Qtr strong, amassing an 18-12 lead heading into the first break, but a dismal 2nd Qtr left the girls defending a 26-25 advantage into the locker room.  Needing a strong second half to secure the home victory, La Salle pulled through.  Kayla Spruill led the effort, leading the Explorers with 24 points and going 4 of 6 from deep, further adding to her record of most career 3-Pointers made in La Salle women’s basketball history.  La Salle’s twenty-one point 4th Qtr was enough to give the Explorers the 61-49 win and some momentum heading into the weekend.

The final from Tom Gola Arena. (courtesy of lasalle_wbb)

La Salle finished their week with a trip to the Midwest to face off against the Saint Louis Billikens (12-17, 8-6).  The Sunday, Feb 19th, contest was big for both teams who find themselves caught in a logjam of quality sides contending for a coveted bye in the A-10 tournament only a few weeks away.  The early going saw the Explorers trade blows with the Billikens, amassing a 19-12 lead at the end of the 1st Qtr that would be trimmed down to a 33-31 advantage heading into halftime.  A strong 3rd Qtr by St. Louis would give the home squad a six-point lead going into the 4th Qtr, but a 13-2 La Salle run gave the Explorers a 59-54 advantage with just over six minutes left.  It is here that an agonizing 11-0 Billikens run would seal La Salle’s fate as the Explorers eventually fell 74-63.

The final from Saint Louis’ Chaifetz Arena. (courtesy of lasalle_wbb)

The split week now leaves La Salle with a record of 16-12, with a mark of 7-6 in conference play.  What this means is that the Explorers will need some wins this upcoming week if they wish to have a chance at a double-bye for the upcoming A-10 tournament.  Luckily for the Explorers, the upcoming slate has two winnable games.  The first contest will be at the Dayton Flyers (5-19, 4-9) on Wednesday, Feb 22nd, with a start time of 7PM EST.  The Flyers have been horrid this year, so hopefully this is a win.  La Salle’s next game is their regular season finale, which means it will be Senior Day when the Explorers face off against the VCU Rams (7-19, 4-10) at Tom Gola Arena on Saturday, Feb 25th, at 2PM EST.  The Rams did beat the Explorers earlier this year, so hopefully the girls get revenge on their Virginian foes.  Both games will be streamed on ESPN+.  I hope to report back next week with good news concerning those contests.

Dreadful Shooting Performances Cost Explorers: La Salle Women’s Basketball Week In Review 2/7/23


Coach MacGillivray instructs his team during a media timeout. (courtesy of shotbyscornely)

Nicholas Signoretta, Editor

It was a rough week for the La Salle University women’s basketball team, as their five-game win streak they had cooked up throughout the second half of January was gone faster than you could say “Masciantonio”.  A two-loss week leaves the Explorers needing to play some fine February basketball to keep pace with the pack towards the top of the A-10.

La Salle’s week of misfortunes began on Wednesday, Feb 1st, when the girls traveled to Virginia to face off against the VCU Rams (7-14, 4-5).  The Rams had been struggling as of late, losing three of their last four, but they came to play against the Explorers.  VCU forced La Salle to shoot a paltry 13 of 55 from the field (23.6%), including a dismal 3 of 23 from range (13%).  The Explorers only trailed 13-10 at the end of the 1st Qtr and were level at the halftime break 21-21, but a 16-0 3rd Qtr run put the Rams ahead 40-31 going into the final frame.  La Salle would actually cut the lead down to four with 7:30 left on the clock, but an 11-0 VCU run would close out the contest.  The Explorers’ scoring dried up for the final seven and half minutes giving the Rams a 52-38 victory.  The 38 points would be La Salle’s lowest scoring output of the season so far, with their previous low coming in a 75-50 loss at the South Florida Bulls (who are now ranked #24 in the AP Poll).  The loss to the Rams was bad, but a bigger game against the A-10’s second best team still loomed on the horizon.

The final from VCU’s Stuart C. Siegel Center. (courtesy of lasalle_wbb)

La Salle returned home for a Saturday, Feb 5th, contest against the UMass Minutewomen (19-4, 9-1).  The Minutewomen were going into the game hot, with their most recent loss coming on Jan 4th against the A-10’s best team, the Rhode Island Rams (19-3, 10-0).  Since that game, UMass had won seven straight, so another horrid performance like the Explorers’ midweek fiasco at VCU would not cut it if La Salle wanted to pull off the upset in front of the home crowd at Tom Gola Arena.  The team started off strong defensively, with UMass being held scoreless for almost the first five minutes of the contest.  The problem: La Salle’s shooting woes were not behind them.  The Explorers did not take advantage of the Minutewomen’s poor start, as they only amassed a 4-0 lead in this time.  UMass would start cooking and would take a 9-7 lead into the start of the 2nd Qtr where they would stay hot and amass a 25-10 advantage halfway through the period.  A small Explorers run would cut the lead to 32-21 entering the half, but the game would never get much closer.  The 66-42 loss would mark the Explorers’ (14-10, 5-4) second straight game under 50 points after not having any in the first three months of the season.  La Salle’s shooting was once again a major problem, as the girls shot 15 of 60 from the floor (25%) and 3 of 27 from downtown (11.1%).

The final from Tom Gola Arena. (courtesy of lasalle_wbb)

This upcoming week features two matches for the Explorers, a Wednesday, Feb 8th, trip to the Richmond Spiders (13-8, 3-5) and a home date against the Duquesne Dukes (15-9, 5-6) on Sunday, Feb 12th.  The Richmond game starts at 6PM EST, while the Duquesne game will tip-off at 2PM EST.  Both games will be streamed on ESPN+.