Opposing coaches are used to scheming to try to corral Babson College’s powerful frontcourt of Kathleen King, Nicki Wurdeman, and Sarah Collins. Collectively, the trio averages a little more than 50 points per game for the women’s basketball team.
There is a new wrinkle to the Babson attack, however, in Erin Young, a 5-foot-5 freshman guard from Westwood.
The sharpshooter provides a strong perimeter presence and another weapon in an arsenal that has pushed Babson to a 14-2 record, including a perfect 10-0 in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference.
Babson, in Wellesley, was ranked 16th in the country in Division 3 entering last night’s game against Worcester Polytech.
Young came off the bench to score a career-high 28 points in just 21 minutes Saturday in a 96-47 win over Coast Guard. She buried 8 of her 10 three-point attempts, finishing 9 of 11 from the field.
The performance even amazed Young.
“I never even came close to scoring 28 points in high school,’’ she said. “It’s definitely surprising, but I think I’m shooting the ball much better than I ever have.
“Coast Guard played zone the whole game, which is a shooter’s dream. I had a lot of open looks and my shots kept falling. Coach [Judy Blinstrub] said don’t give up an open shot, especially being so hot.’’
It did not matter that Young only had a few minutes to warm up because the team arrived late due to a snowstorm. Young’s performance followed a 5-for-5 effort from the three-point arc in an 83-57 win over Smith College on Jan. 14.
This season, Young is shooting 39.7 percent from three-point range, tops in the NEWMAC.
“You don’t find that kind of shooter very often,’’ said Blinstrub. “You have streak shooters, but Erin is very consistent. She might not shoot 8-for-10 every night, but she’ll still hit big shots.
“She’s a pure shooter. She’ll shoot it when she’s got people on her, and she’s got a nice step back, too.’’
Young started somewhat slowly, having to adjust to the college game while recovering from a serious ankle injury that limited her to five games during her senior season at Westwood High School. As her minutes increase, so do her scoring chances, which create opportunities for the entire Babson offense.
“Her ability as a pure shooter opens up so many opportunities for our post players,’’ said Blinstrub. “The guards we had before were more penetrating, so now defenses can’t sag in as much and people can’t zone us as much, so it’s added another dimension to our offense.’’
Meanwhile, Young is trying to add new dimensions to her individual game, mostly through improved defense and mastering the ability to drive to the hoop more often, something she didn’t need to do much in high school.
So far, she’s been more successful on the defensive end, which is just fine with Blinstrub. With Babson’s Big Three scoring so many points inside, it’s not imperative for Young to develop a driving game yet.
“That’s what I’ve been trying to work on because I’ve mostly been a shooter my whole life,’’ said Young.
“Every once in a while I’ll see an opening and try to go strong to the hoop, but it’s definitely new to me so I keep practicing.’’
“Erin has worked really hard on her defense,’’ said Blinstrub, “and she’s improved so much in that category. She’s had to “learn how to defend at this level, and adjust her footwork to the quickness of the game.’’
Even with a near-perfect outside shot, Young still sees room for improvement on her patented 3-pointer. She emulates the game of Celtics sharpshooter Ray Allen.
“He has such a quick release, which I envy,’’ said Young. “It’s always fun to watch him get that shot off so quickly. That’s something I hope to improve on.’’