Quakers prepare for next basketball season

One week into Quaker basketball and both men’s and women’s teams displayed dominance, building upon the successes they both shared last season. Here is a look at where both teams stand after their first few games.

Women’s Basketball

The Guilford College women’s basketball team has started their season with four victories, racking up three non-conference wins as well as an Old Dominion Athletic Conference win over Randolph College.

“It’s great to win,” said senior forward Heaven Walters. “But I think we should still just focus on getting better because we have a lot of tough games ahead of us.”

In their first game of the season, the Quakers beat their cross-town rivals, Greensboro College, 70-56. Guilford was led by senior forward Anais Weatherly in that game, who had 21 points, 14 rebounds and nine steals. Senior guard Lauren Ramsey was also in double figures with 15 points.

The next two games were part of the Guilford College Classic and were against MacMurray College and Elmira College. Against MacMurray College, Guilford once again got a decisive victory by 24 points. Guilford had four starters in double figures and had 11 players score overall. In the first quarter, Weatherly scored a basket, which made her the 19th player in college history to score 1,000 points and was honored on the court during a timeout.

“That was big for me,” said Weatherly. “That was exciting.”

The winning streak extended to three games with a dominating victory over Elmira, 76-42. In that game, the Quakers were led by Weatherly and Heaven Walters with 14 points and sophomore guard Essence Abraham added 10 points. Walters also added seven rebounds and assists to her 10 points. Guilford’s defense forced 26 turnovers and scored 21 points off those turnovers and held Elmira to 28 percent shooting overall.

The fourth game was an 86-48 victory over ODAC opponent Randolph College. Weatherly led the team with 15 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and four steals. Six Quakers finished in double figures and the team shot 54 percent.

The Quakers have been led by Weatherly who averages 16 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and six steals through the first four games. Five other Quakers are averaging over eight points to start the season.

Through the first four games, Guilford has held the opponents to 31 percent shooting and 49 points per game.

“Defense is what we always preach,” said head coach Stephanie Flamini. “You can win games on offense, but in the end, you’re going to win a championship with defense.”

The Quakers next game is a home ODAC game against Bridgewater College on Saturday, Dec. 3.

“As long as we keep playing like this and continuing to get better,” said Flamini. “It’s all we’re looking for. I think we’ll be okay.”

Men’s Basketball

On the other end of the court, the men’s basketball team kicked off the season strong, posting a 3-1 record through four games and averaging an outstanding 50.5 rebounds a game as a team. Senior guard Zachary Houston currently leads the ODAC with 11.5 rebounds per game.

“Rebounding is catch piece number one,” said sophomore forward Carson Long. “If we win the rebound margin, (head coach Tom Palombo) says we can win every game.”

Their largest rebound margin came against Greensboro College, out-rebounding their opponent 70-41. They have out-rebounded each of their opponents, which combats a below average field goal percentage. The Quakers currently shoot 37.1 percent from the field, and have shot below 30 percent in two games.

“We need to get good shots and not force anything,” said junior forward Marcus Curry. “We have to run our offense and just let the offense come to us.”

Curry leads the team and sits third in the conference individually with his 60 percent field goal percentage.

Where they struggle offensively, they make up for it with swarming defensive play. Opponents are averaging over 15 turnovers against the Quakers. Guilford leads the ODAC in points allowed per game with 61.5 and opponent field goal percentage at 32.7 percent.

“On defense, our number one priority is to keep the ball out of the paint and box out and contest every shot,” said junior guard Jarrod Rogers. “We’ve been doing that to the best of our ability, so that’s why we’ve had success there.”

The Quakers are still a very young team after losing lone senior and all-conference player Will Freeman last season. Houston, along with guard Michael Rainey, are the only two seniors on the roster currently. Many young players, including several first-year players, have stepped up and contributed to the Quakers’ early season success.

Four first-years have appeared in all games for the Quakers thus far this season.

“It’s a process, and they are still learning,” said Rogers of the first-year players. “It’s a different speed than it is in high school, but they are coming along and doing well.”

The men’s basketball team will have off conference play with games at home against Eastern Mennonite University on Wednesday Nov. 30 and at Hampden-Sydney College on Saturday, Dec. 3. The Quakers were ranked third in the preseason conference poll.

Please check out the schedules online on the Guilford College Athletics website to come out and see the Quaker basketball teams over the upcoming winter break into the upcoming conference season.

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