The Salisbury University women’s basketball team hosted Virginia Wesleyan on Saturday afternoon for their home opener.
The Sea Gulls controlled the tempo of the game through all four quarters and left Maggs Physical Activities Center with a win over the Marlins, 75-41. The Sea Gulls are now 2-0 to start the shortened winter season.
The game started with a 10-0 run for the Sea Gulls as they opened the first few minutes with an up-tempo style of play.
Head coach Kelly Baskow credited her squad’s execution of the full court press for creating 37 Marlin turnovers on the day.
“We play very aggressive on defense, we like to press,” Baskow said. “We have a deep enough team this year to stay fresh and go after our opponents all four quarters of a game.”
Junior guard Lauren Fortescue continued a hot start to the campaign by knocking down two three-pointers and leading the team with 12 first-half points.
Fortescue said the uncertainty surrounding athletics right now has taken some of the pressure out of the game.
“I am a lot more relaxed this season,” Fortescue said. “We never know when our season will be over, so we just go out there and have fun with it.”
Fellow junior Kaylee Otlowski said she is attacking the season in a similar way: trying to take advantage of every opportunity to take the floor.
“I keep going as hard as possible,” Otlowski said. “I am playing every game like it is my last.”
Otlowski controlled the glass in the first half, securing eight of her nine total rebounds in the first 20 minutes.
The Gulls went into halftime leading the Marlins 38-12. By the end of the third quarter, the lead grew to 34 for Salisbury.
As the first quarter began, some new faces to the maroon and gold were able to see time on the court.
With 11 of the 13 members of the 2019-20 roster returning this year, Baskow felt confident that the team’s experience helped guide the newer players to be ready in their first minutes at the collegiate level.
“I was excited to be able to get some of the players their first shot on the court this season,” Baskow said. “These returning players have really led the way for our underclassmen.”
The Salisbury women's basketball team will participate in just eight games this season. Last year, the Gulls played 27 total games.
Otlowski said despite the circumstances, the team is going to make the best out of any chance they have to play.
“Just going out there with my teammates has been a great feeling,” Otlowski said. “We never know when it’s going to be our last, so we give it our best every chance we get”.
As a preventative measure to limit the spread of COVID-19, Salisbury University announced that fans would not be allowed into Maggs Gymnasium throughout the basketball season.
Being the first home game of the season, most of the players played their first ever home game without friends and family in the stands.
Fortescue said she was disappointed to not have family at the game, but gave credit to her teammates on the bench for providing some energy in the empty gym.
“Today was very different not having family at [the game],” Fortescue said. “But having our bench getting excited the whole game definitely helps the momentum of the game.”
Salisbury will look to continue their undefeated season as the team travels to Lancaster Bible on Tuesday.
Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.
By LUKE METRINKO
Staff photo by Brad Boardman.