After only eight days of winter break, the Swarthmore Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams returned to campus to practice and play six games. From Dec. 29 to the start of the second semester on Jan. 22, the women’s team had six Centennial Conference matches and finished 3-3 over the course of those games. The men’s team maintained their unbeaten record and defeated two tough, non-conference teams, Rochester and Stevens Tech, as well as four conference opponents.
The Swarthmore women kicked off the break with a strong 74-51 victory on the road against Franklin and Marshall College. Sophomore Erin Cronin ’22 elaborated on the win,
“We were able to come back from break and start the new year off with a big statement!”
The game included a great showing from Colleen Anderson ’23, who scored nine points in nine minutes from off the bench.
The Garnet has led in points by Dana Bandurick ʼ23 who is averaging 17.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. Bandurick has received the Centennial Conference Player of the Week honor three times and continues to be essential to the team’s success.
Over the break, the Swarthmore women’s team also had decisive victories over Washington College, 63-41, and Bryn Mawr, 97-45. The team now enters the second half of conference play with a record of 10-7 and looks to build onto their successes by maintaining a productive team culture.
“We want to keep improving our accountability within the team and the only way we can keep getting better is by pushing one another outside of our comfort zones,” said Kim Kockenmeister ’22.
The team’s three conference wins over break and recent results against Ursinus College and McDaniel College put the Swarthmore Garnet fourth in the Centennial Conference standings. This performance places the team well ahead of Coach Candice Signor-Brown’s three-year plan, which intended for this year to facilitate a more competitive environment. Instead, they are already playing above .500 ball and currently positioned to play in the postseason conference tournament.
The new coaching staff introduced many changes to the team that have helped them develop into a contender for the Centennial Conference tournament.
“It’s fun to be a part of this growing program and make the future bright,” said Kockenmeister. “The first-years came into an unbuilt program and immediately demonstrated their investment in the team’s success. Returners also have adjusted very well to all the changes and new coach.”
On the men’s side, Swarthmore Men’s Basketball continues to be a dominant force, ranked first in the nation with an undefeated record of 17-0. Over the break the Garnet’s two non-conference matches against University of Rochester and Stevens Tech were quite exciting as each were won by a margin of three points. Vinny DeAngelo ’23 led Swarthmore with twelve points versus Rochester, and Conor Harkins ’21 scored fifteen points in the Stevens game.
Besides the incredible team achievements so far, Captain Zac O’Dell ’20 earned Centennial Conference Player of the Week honors and reached 1,000 career points, the 23rd player to do so in Swarthmore Men’s Basketball history.
“My teammates have done a great job of finding me for layups and 3s over the past 4 years and I got to the mark. As a team, we don’t worry too much about individual accomplishments, so I wasn’t overly excited by hitting 1,000 points, but I know my family was really excited so that was a cool feeling,” said O’Dell. The winter break also provided the opportunity for the roster of eighteen to bond and spend time with each other outside of practice due to the absence of the usual rigorous academic classes.
“I would say most of the highlights of winter break came off the court. Over winter break the team moves into one or two dorms, this year it was Worth and Willets, so we always get to spend a lot of time with each other and get to know everyone better. We have a lot of fun over winter break and this year wasn’t any different,” said O’Dell.
The women and men’s teams both have a significant number of games left to play and look to their next competition, Gettysburg College. The next home game for both teams is against Dickinson College on Tuesday, Feb. 4. The men will work to maintain their pristine record, and the women will look for a successful rematch as they fell to Dickinson 59-68 in their first meeting. Come fill the bleachers of Tarble Pavilion next week to cheer on our resurgent women and #1 ranked men.