Tough end to a difficult season

The Carnegie Mellon women’s basketball team capped off their 2005–2006 season on Saturday when they hosted University Athletic Association (UAA) opponent University of Rochester. The visiting Yellowjackets, ranked in the top 25 earlier in the season, were too much for the Tartans as Carnegie Mellon fell 66–41 on Senior Day in Skibo Gymnasium.

Graduating seniors Dava Sommermeyer, Rebecca Shore, and Melissa DeAngelo were honored before the game, and all three started for the Tartans. Sommermeyer led the Tartans with nine points, including the last three points of the season when she drove the lane with 1:11 left, scored, and drew a foul. Shore pulled down a team-high eight rebounds to complement her four points, and DeAngelo contributed seven points and four rebounds in the loss.

The Tartans played hard throughout, but they could not keep up with the Yellowjackets’ speed and athleticism. DeAngelo started the scoring when she connected on a three-pointer with 18:47 left in the first half to give the Tartans a 3–0 lead. First-year guard Gemma Easterling made a jumper to give the Tartans their last lead of the game; 5–3, at the 18:10 mark. Rochester, behind solid shooting and good ball control, pulled away at this point, as in the first half they shot 45.2 percent from the field compared to the Tartans’ 32 percent, while committing only six turnovers to Carnegie Mellon’s 14 en route to a 42–22 halftime lead.

“Rochester is a solid athletic team, and we came out slow in the first half,” said sophomore guard Leah Feola. “Once they had the lead on us it was difficult to get it back. The UAA is a very competitive conference with many nationally ranked teams.”

In the second half, both teams had trouble putting the ball in the basket. For Rochester, this included a 20-minute block spanning from the 5:07 mark in the first half to under the five-minute mark in the second half where they went 2–26 from the field. The Tartans were able to cut the lead down to 45–34 with 12:56 remaining on Feola’s creative basket, but despite numerous attempts, they were not able to get any closer the rest of the way, and the Yellowjackets going on to win by 25.

“Overall the season has been a learning experience for all the players,” Feola said. “It was going well in the beginning, until we lost our starting point guard [Stacie Aleski] due to injury. This pushed our team development back tremendously. Moreover, a lot of freshmen were playing significant minutes against nationally ranked teams. The seniors were great team leaders, and they will be missed next year. However, the returning players are eager to take over. Next year we will be more experienced and prepared for UAA play.”

The loss puts the Tartans at 5–20 overall and 0–14 in the UAA to finish the season. The Yellowjackets improve to 18–7 and 9–5 in the UAA, good for third place in the eight-team league.