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Emmanuelle Tehane

Building on last year’s progress was a difficult task in the early part of this season for the University of Rhode Island women’s basketball team.

There was quite literally a lack of opportunity.

In an abbreviated schedule due to the pandemic, the Rams played only three non-conference games and lost all three as a new-look roster tried to settle in.

Atlantic 10 play has brought more of the continuation the Rams were hoping for, though. With a 62-44 win over Davidson on Sunday at the Ryan Center, the Rams improved to 3-2 in Atlantic 10 play. They have won three of their last four games.

The rebuilding process orchestrated by coach Tammi Reiss got a reasonable foundation last year, when the Rams went 13-16. They were sitting at 6-6 in league play before dropping their final five games. They also said goodbye to standout seniors Davida Dale and Nicole Jorgensen, though several impact players were waiting in the wings, having sat out the season after transferring in.

With only one of last year’s top four scorers back this year, the Rams have had to get their footing. A typical non-conference slate would have been welcome, but the three games were all URI had for an adjustment period. The Rams lost their opener to Providence, then were edged out by a point on the road at Penn State. They opened A-10 play with a loss to UMass, then dropped to 0-4 in a loss to Maine.

The new year brought a new beginning as the Rams beat La Salle 72-69 on New Year’s Day for their first win of the season. They followed that with a one-point win in a rematch with UMass. After a loss to Fordham, the win over Davidson moved the Rams to 3-2 in A-10 play and 3-5 overall.

The newcomers have led the charge for the Rams. Missouri transfer Emmanuelle Tehane is averaging 14.9 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. She has logged three double-doubles in her last four games.

Grad transfer Johanna Muzet ranks second on the team at 11.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Muzet played three years at Washington State before heading east.

Syracuse transfer Marie-Paul Foppossi is averaging 9.8 points per game. Freshman guard Catherine Cairns is averaging 8.8 points per game. One of the few returning Rams, Marta Vargas, is also averaging 8.8 points per contest.

Continued success in A-10 play could put URI on track to its first winning season since the 2014-5 season.

The Rams return to action Friday at Richmond.

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