By Victor Taylor ’24 (he/him)
Davidson College Women’s Basketball has come into this season with more hype surrounding them than they have had in years. The squad is coming off an 18-15 season, the most wins in Head Coach Gayle Fulks’ time here at Davidson, and a Women’s Basketball Invitational Consolation Bracket championship. The losses of Cass Gould and Sarah Konstans were tempered by Chloe Welch ‘23’s announcement that she was returning for a fifth season of play, as well as the addition of transfers Millie Prior ‘25 and Maddie Plank ‘24. With the team returning everyone else outside of Konstans and Gould, expectations were high as the ‘Cats looked to show that another season of experience and workouts would pay dividends.
Davidson College opened with a tricky matchup against High Point University, a team predicted to finish at the top of their conference while running a unique offense. The ‘Cats got down early in their season opener and finished the first quarter down 18-14 before a big second quarter put them in control for the rest of the game. Rosie Deegan ‘23 had 16 points and Welch added 13 points and 9 rebounds. The squad did not escape unscathed however, with Cam Tabor ‘23 and Tomisin Adenupe ‘25 suffering injuries –Tabor’s injury is expected to keep her out for the rest of the year. This, combined with Prior’s season ending injury in practice during the fall, meant that Davidson would be down to 9 healthy bodies for their weekend contest against Duke University.
The team was backed by a passionate crowd of over 1,500 supporters at Belk Arena on Saturday afternoon to watch their matchup with Duke University. The first quarter and a half was a tense affair, with both teams missing lots of shots, but keeping it tight at 19-19. However, the Blue Devils went on a 7-0 run to go into the intermission up 26-19. The third quarter started out as a slugfest as well, as the ‘Cats were able to cut it to 5 on a transition three from Deegan which got the crowd into it. Duke University answered the call with a 15-0 run to end the quarter and put the game on ice on their way to a 60-37 final score. Welch led the ‘Cats with 12, Deegan had 9 on three 3 pointers, and Elle Sutphin ‘24 added 9 points in the loss.
While their 1-1 record may not look like the mark of a strong squad, it’s still early and this team looks to be the best in the Fulks era here at Davidson. There will be many more opportunities to prove themselves and many more ups and downs over the course of the season. The next chance they get to play will be Wednesday at 11 am, on the road against a strong squad from the University of Maryland. No matter the result of that game, the ‘Cats will be in prime position to continue having a big time year and be ready to go when conference play arrives.