Future bright for Guilford women’s basketball

Guilford College’s women’s basketball team ended their season in historic fashion, but not in the way they envisioned.

After finishing the regular season at 20-5 (16-2 Old Dominion Athletic Conference), the Quakers became the first number-one seed in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference to lose to an eighth-ranked seed after falling to Shenandoah University, 52-49, in the league tournament first-round.

The Quakers led for the entire game until Shenandoah tied it with one minute remaining in the fourth quarter to send it to overtime. The Quakers came out strong to start overtime and led by four with two minutes remaining. The Hornets went on a 7-0 run in the final two minutes and Guilford missed a three-pointer at the buzzer.

Despite a rocky start, the team experienced great success throughout the regular season. Guilford suffered three of their five losses in the month of November alone, including a 64-53 loss to crosstown-rival Greensboro College.

The team lost to Virginia Wesleyan University, 56-46, when they blew a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter, hich proved to be a turning point.

The team went on a four-game winning streak in December and only lost one of their nine games in January. In fact, their Jan. 16 loss to the University of Lynchburg was their only regular season loss in 2019 and the team finished the regular season on a nine-game winning streak.

Nonetheless, the team reached high and more positive milestones throughout the year. First-year guard Lindsay Gauldin was named the 2018-2019 D3hoops.com South Region Rookie of the Year on March 11 and is the first Guilford player to receive the honor. Gauldin received the ODAC Rookie of the Year honor as well and was named to the All-ODAC second team.

Junior forward Miracle Walters earned ODAC first-team recognition from the conference after second-team honors last year. Head Coach Stephanie Flamini was named the ODAC Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year for the second time while at Guilford.

“I don’t get Coach of the Year,” said Flamini. “I get Coach of the Year because of my players, my assistant, how well we all work together and I’m proud of that.”

Gauldin posted impressive numbers in her first collegiate season, including 12 double-double performances. She ranked second in the conference in made free throws (100), defensive rebounds (186) and total rebounds (265). Her 79 offensive boards stood third, alongside her rebounds per game average (10.2), field goal percentage (54.7 percent) and total steals (66).

Gauldin ranks second in school history for points, rebounds, assists and steals made by a first-year.

Walters ranked second in the ODAC in field goal percentage (56.2 percent) and minutes per game (35.5). With 154 made shots from the field, she finished fourth in the league, and fifth with 378 total points. Her field goal percentage sits 23rd best in Division III.

Sophomore center Julie Carini was eighth in the ODAC with 6.5 rebounds per game and fourth with 1.5 blocks per game.

First-year Calyn Davis stepped into her starting role and became the top three-point shooter on the team. She put in 9.9 points a game and made 53 three-pointers on 32.1 percent from beyond the arc on the season.

The Quakers were one of the most efficient squads in the conference with a 41.4 percent team field goal average, a figure ranking third in the ODAC. Guilford was also third in rebounds per game at 40.7.

Flamini’s squad was a nightmare for opponents defensively. Guilford topped the conference in opposing points per game, only allowing 53.6, and also held teams to 34.6 percent shooting from the field. They ranked second in rebounds allowed per game (33.6). A 33rd-best scoring defense allowed Guilford to win 20 games with only scoring 61.7 points a game.

The Quakers thrived at home this season going 12-2 but only 8-3 on the road and 0-1 at a neutral site.

Last year, the team finished 17-7 overall and 11-5 in conference play.

Next year, Guilford will look to increase the depth of the team. Flamini used a rotation of only seven players, which caused fatigue in the end of the season.

“I really think the season took a toll on us physically,” Flamini said. “When you have (first-years) the season will take a toll on you your first year because it’s a lot different than high school ball.”

The success of Flamini’s young squad spells hope for the future, as all 12 players could potentially return next season.

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