Basketball Shorts

Chad Graves | Assistant Sports Editor


Men Exceeding Expectations

While most students were busy visiting parents and catching up on sleep, the UNC Wilmington men’s basketball team was working to improve their game on the court.

The Seahawks have surpassed expectations in the community. Many people who looked at this season as a rebuilding year for the team are pleased to see the Seahawks playing hard until the end of each game.

A pair of losses came at the hands of nationally ranked opponents in Florida and Ohio State. Another two losses were in double overtime, and Campbell University beat the Seahawks in the waning seconds.

However, despite the setbacks, the Seahawks have had key wins that show hope for the rest of the season. For only the second time in school history, the Seahawks defeated an ACC opponent in Wake Forest University on Dec. 12. And after winning 61-59 on Jan. 3, the Seahawks knocked off William & Mary to give head coach Peterson his first win in the CAA.

As expected, the team has been led by senior guard Chad Tomko. Prior to Wednesday’s game against Delaware, Tomko was the team leader in scoring (15. 4) and assists (4.3), while also being the second leading rebounder (5.3). Leadership has also come from sophomore forward Keith Rendleman who is the leading rebounder (7.1) and the second leading scorer (9.2).

Predicted to finish last in the CAA, the Seahawks are exceeding expectations. But, as the team begins the conference portion of the season, they will face tough competition as their next five road games will be against the current top five teams in the CAA.


Women Starting Strong

Despite a roller coaster preseason, the UNC Wilmington women’s basketball team has had a strong start this season.

After starting the year 4-0, the Seahawks ended their non-conference play with an 8-3 record, with two losses against nationally ranked opponents, No. 7 Ohio State and No. 24 Boston College.

In the conference opener, the Seahawks won a close game versus Drexel University with a 69-61 win. Sophomore guard Jessica Freeman led the Seahawks with a career high 16 points. Three other women scored in double digits to earn the victory.

The Seahawks’ success was tested the next week in their second conference game against Virginia Commonwealth University. The Rams ended the game on a 20-3 run beating the Seahawks, 70-58. Despite the tough loss, senior guard Brittany Blackwell’s four steals broke the program’s previous career record, as she collected 220 steals.

On Jan. 9, the Seahawks advanced to 2-1 in the CAA with a win at home over Towson University. The starters combined for 54 of the 61 points to beat the Tigers, 61- 47.

Picked to finish eighth in a tough CAA conference, the team’s remaining schedule could benefit the team as they attempt to reach the postseason for the first time in program history. The Seahawks only have to play three teams who were picked to finish in the top half of the conference. James Madison, Old Dominion and Delaware should be the women’s toughest contests.

With two of three of those games on the road, the Seahawks will have to continue to receive strong leadership from their starters. They’ll face challenging games against top-tier conference foes and other must-win games against teams expected to finish in the lower half of the CAA.