Women’s basketball battles but can’t beat Bentley


RJB Sports

Nyrie Holliman, AJ Washington and Rashana Siders, cheering their teammates during the game captured by RJB Sports

Beatriz Correia, Staff Writer

AIC women’s basketball has fallen once again against Bentley at the Butova Gym on Saturday, January 25, losing 75-47.

Bentley’s women’s basketball team has had an incredible season. They are one of the top teams in the Northeastern 10 Conference, with a record of 10-1.

Bentley’s Falcons took the lead 26 seconds into the game by scoring with a layup. The first quarter of the game was rough for the Yellow Jackets with only 9 points scored against 20 from the Falcons.

In the second quarter, the Yellow Jackets tried to fight back. A couple of minutes from the half-time whistle, AIC junior forward Asia Turner nailed a three-point shot for her first points of the game. By half time, the score was 41 to 21 to the Falcons.

During halftime, the coach talked about tactics. AIC responded and changed things up during the second half.

The Yellow Jackets came out flying all the way from the locker room. AIC opened the second half strong, showing they were fighting to win. Jayla McDuffie tied the game between the Yellow Jackets and the Falcons. 

The team kept making plays of absolute beauty. They would score three points off the very end of the 30-second timer.

But AIC could not hold the tie for much longer. The Falcons rebounded most of the plays and made 15 points in 10 minutes.

Despite their struggle, victory was beyond their grasp, with a final score of 75-47 to the Falcons.

Makayla Bigard, a student-athlete from AIC who was there to support the basketball team said, “It is sad watching a game being so tied up and so intense—from both teams—to actually have to name a winner and that winner not be us.”

The two teams had their ups and downs throughout the game. AIC managed to gain the upper hand a few times, but in the very end it ended up being Bentley who took the last bite.

Rashana Sider, a senior at AIC from Waterbury, Connecticut, said, “It has been four years of struggling and going through every game with a high expectation.” She added that “it is hard and frustrating to see other teams that we can actually beat, like Bentley, beat us.” 

The Yellow Jackets offense was solid with Senior Rashana Siders making 14 points and 4 rebounds. Sara Gútin, a junior forward from Coruña, Spain, represented the Yellow Jackets by saying that the mentality was there, but the effort was not enough to win.

RJB Sports
Sara Gútin during the pre game coach talk

It was a fair and hard game for the host team. Gútin added: “I think our team right now can beat a lot of teams that we play in the league.”

Monica Viapiano from Bentley led the “women of the game” prize with 29 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocks. The defense of the Falcons was solid, as well as their offense. Some of the players, such as Kari Brekke and Monica Viapiano from the Falcons, had as many as 3 blocks and 3 steals each.

Gútin reflected that, while the Falcons played well, Bentley didn’t win because of some specific play or tactic. “We just have to be focused. But if we are not, and we do not play as a team, the other team is just going to win…. It only depends on us.”

Oshinofa Lakoju, known as “Nofa” to her teammates, is a senior forward from Harlem, New York. She shared some positivity with her Yellow Jackets family. “As a senior, it has been a pleasure playing for this team,” Lakoju said. “We might have gone through a lot in the past years, maybe losing more games than what we wanted, but the season is not over yet, and we are still going until the very end.”

Bigard reminds us why fans come back time and again. “I love watching our basketball team,” she said. “Especially because of their potential and what they can accomplish.”

Following their home game against Bentley, Yellow Jackets played two away games. They lost to Stone Hill College, 65-36, on January 28th, and then defeated Saint Michael’s College on February 1, 67-50. Their next home games will be against Adelphi on Wednesday, February 5, Southern Connecticut State on Sunday, February 8, and Le Moyne on February 19.