By Eric-Matthieu Kazadi.
The Lehman Lightning Women’s basketball team has picked itself up by the bootstraps. When assessing the team’s performance thus far, one can conclude that there has been constant, gradual improvement.
Initially struggling out of the gate at 4-6, highlighted by a 53-point thumping at the hands of national powerhouse Amherst College , the Lightning remained poised and confident. After a rough 0-3 start to the season, sophomore guard Chris Mary Martinez reassured that it was simply a matter of “building our chemistry and trusting the coaching staff.” Martinez went on to say that “no one panicked, we know exactly what we need to do,” and assured that it was a sentiment felt throughout the Lightning locker room.
With the majority of the season behind them and conference play underway, the Lightning currently sits at 8-10 overall, but holds a 3-3 record in the CUNY Athletic Conference with wins over CCNY, John Jay, and Medgar Evers College . The growth is evident as the Lightning did some thumping of it’s own, demolishing conference foe Medgar Evers by 52 points. It was all done without Captain and second leading scorer, senior guard Amanda De La Cruz who missed the team’s last 3 games with a bum ankle. With De La Cruz sidelined, each team member was asked to step up and somewhat fill the void. None more so than newcomer, junior guard Jasmin Castro-Lopez. Castro-Lopez, who describes herself as “an all around player,” was a mid season acquisition who believes she will bring “energy and leadership” to the ball club. Castro-Lopez is adamant in her belief that the Lightning can win the CUNYAC championship if they can “play as one,” stating that, “everyone has to be on the same page,” in order for the feat to be accomplished.
However, this season is special for the Lightning, as it faces more obstacles than it is used to. Every single game thus far has been on the road. With renovations occurring in the APEX at Lehman College ’s Main Gym floor, the Lightning was left without a home gym. Previous optimism of the problem being resolved this season is all but gone, but that has not derailed the Lightning from the mission it set out on at the beginning of the season. The team understands the task at hand and accepts the challenge it is up against.
With De La Cruz back just in time for the “home,” conference tilt against Brooklyn College played at BMCC, the Lightning put up a good fight, but eventually fell to the undefeated Bulldogs with a score of 59-54. Junior center Alicia McDaniel lead the team in scoring with 15 points, shooting a perfect 7-7 from the field. Senior forward Jaleesa Gordon chipped in with a double-double of 14 points and 16 rebounds, which complemented well with 7 blocks. Home gym issues aside, the Lightning have to continue to put forth its best effort and will attempt to do so in its next tilt, a conference battle against York College, in Jamaica Queens.