Andover Girls Basketball, having already encountered Phillips Exeter Academy three times this season, is ready to take on its arch-rival one last time this Saturday.
Head Coach Liz Monroe said, “The first time we played them in December, we had a very short bench and a lot of injuries, but that was a close game. We played them again here and were up at half, [but] they managed to come back. We played them on Saturday in the tournament; that wasn’t quite as close. We played a really hard game against Choate and did a really good job so we were a little gassed for Exeter.”
Despite losing its three previous games, Andover hopes to utilize these experiences to better inform its game and come out on top this weekend, according to Monroe.
“The good thing about playing them so many times is that we’ve seen what they do and we have a lot of film on them. So part of [our practices] will be watching that film and focusing on how they have had success on us offensively so we can counteract that,” said Coach Monroe.
According to Summer Seward ’21 and Brooklyn Wirt ’21, the team looks to improve upon its offensive game.
Seward said, “At the half, we’ve either been up our down by like two points. I think they’re really good competition for us, but we are definitely the better team. I think we need to work on our offense against the zone defense. They run a defense where each person isn’t guarding a single person. We have to work on getting the ball to the middle so we can spread the zones.”
Wirt continued, “We need to be working on tightening up our passes and making sure we are focused on the small things. Our defense is pretty good so our offense is always something we can work on. We know we can beat them. We know we have the ability to beat them, it all just depends on who comes out with the most heart. Also getting back to basics, and making sure we go back to working on the small things.”
To win this game, Andover will need to come out with confidence and capitalize on its defensive strengths while simultaneously shutting down Exeter’s offense, according to Monroe.
Monroe said, “[The team] should be confident. Exeter has some things that are difficult for us to stop. [Exeter] has a good post player, [but] Shayla Eubanks [PG’19] has been playing great post defense on her. They have some good outside shooters that have lit us up a little bit. We just have to shut those threats down, but we can absolutely win this game.”
Andover will face Exeter at 1:00 p.m. this Saturday.