WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SET TO OPEN 2006-07 CAMPAIGN AT UMASS
    Head Coach Sue Johnson and the University of New Hampshire Wildcats have posted back-to-back winning seasons and look to continue their success during the 2006-07 campaign. The ‘Cats will look to All-America East Conference Team members Danielle Clark (Corinna, Maine) and Ray Williams (Mississauga, Ontario) along with America East All-Defensive Team honoree and senior co-captain Whitney Edwards (Mount Vernon, NY) to lead the way.
    Clark, a senior co-captain who starts the season just 70 points shy of the 1,000 point career milestone will captain this season’s squad along with Edwards, who posted a team-high 57 steals last season. Despite the loss of three valuable seniors to graduation, the Wildcat roster consists of seven upperclassmen and eight underclassmen as they enjoy a mix of experience and youth in the pursuit of another post season berth. Their consistently stingy defense; a Wildcat trademark throughout Johnson’s tenure, will once again be key to the team’s success. In 2005-06, UNH’s defense was third in the conference for fewest points allowed, holding their opponents to a 61.4 average in 28 games.
    The Wildcat front court is undeniably one of the strongest in the league as All-Conference team members Danielle Clark and Ray Williams. The duo led the team in scoring and rebounding last season. Clark averaged 15.1 points per game, placing her third overall in the America East. She notched over 20 points on seven occasions, including a spectacular 26 point performance against Towson University. Clark is also a perimeter threat as she led the Wildcats from beyond the arc, shooting 42% last year. The forward was one of the conferences most dominant shooters from the charity stripe, posting a team-high 84% average, making her the all-time leader for career free throw percentage at UNH.
Williams led the conference in field goal percentage, shooting at a 60% clip. She was an instant spark off the bench until entering the starting lineup for the final conference homestand en route to being named as the Americas East “Player of the Week” for her efforts against Albany and Boston University. She was second on the team in scoring with 11.5  points, while leading UNH in rebounds with 6.7 per game. Williams’ 1.15 blocks per game was fifth in the conference. She is fifth place on UNH’s all-time career blocks list with 70.
    Sophomore Danielle Flowers (Chalfont, Pa.) enjoyed a fine start to her young collegiate career last season. Flowers averaged 2.6 points and 1.3 rebounds in limited playing time. The 6’1” versatile power forward shot 43% from the field. She possesses a solid midrange jumper from the perimeter and will use her athleticism to score in and outside of the paint.
     UNH senior co-captain Whitney Edwards returns to the point guard position and will lead the ‘Cats  back court this season with an incredible amount of veteran leadership and experience.  Edwards is arguably one of the toughest defenders in the conference. She was named to the America East All-Defensive Team for her intense play. The  5’5” point guard was third on the team in minutes while averaging 7.4 points and 3.25 assists per game. Edwards started all 28 games and posted team-highs in steals with 57 steals and in assists with 91. Junior guard Ashley Cerniglia (Pittsford, N.Y.) established herself as a dangerous three-point threat. Cerniglia converted a team-high 42 trifectas (33%), which is the seventh most by a UNH player in a single season. Cerniglia’s season was cut short with a season ending knee injury, which she suffered last February against Maine. Cerniglia’s healthy return to the floor this season is much anticipated. Despite her injury, she was honored as the team’s Most Improved Player at the year end awards banquet. Senior guard Salee-Marie Johnson (Brampton, Ontario) appeared in 27 of the 28 games for the  'Cats as she made solid contributions on both ends of the floor as one of Johnson's key role players off the bench.
     Depth will not be a problem for UNH at the guard position with senior Megan Connolly (Nashua, N.H.), ) and junior Lauren Weidmyer (Staten Island, N.Y.) looking to increase their contributions on the court. Connolly, a tireless contributor to the team both in practice and on game day, was awarded the Coaches Award during the 2004-05 campiagn for her dedication to the program. Weidmyer will look to contribute valuable minutes in the point position with her outstanding playmaking skills.
    WILDCAT NEWCOMERS
    Head coach Sue Johnson’s team features six newcomers to an already successful program in hopes of rounding out a roster that is filled with a well-balanced group of versatile and experienced veterans.
    Arguably one of Johnson’s deepest classes in recent memory, the newcomers provide much needed size in the front and back court. Racheal Fowler (Glassboro, N.J.) and Chrissy Hall (Northbridge, Mass.) bolster an already formidable front court. At 6’2”, Fowler possesses great size and athleticism. She averaged a double-double while leading Glassboro High School to another deep run in the New Jersey State Tournament. Hall, a 6’0” post player, averaged 19.4 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and an impressive 4.6 blocks per game during her senior year. She holds the school record at Northbridge High School for most points in a game with 32. The two centers expect to play a huge role in the rebounding department.
    At the forward positions, the Wildcats welcome Althena Gaines (Glassboro, N.J.) and Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.). Gaines averaged ten points and six rebounds while serving as a three-year captain at Glassboro High while alongside classmate Racheal Fowler. Williams, a 6’1” power forward averaged a double-double with 21 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. She earned All-State First Team honors from the Rhode Island High School Coaches Association. She was also the first female recipient of the 2005 Wendy’s High School Heisman state award in Rhode Island.
    Local standout, Jenny McDade (Derry, N.H.) who was the 2005 “New Hampshire Player of the Year” will look to contribute at the guard position. The 5’11” guard led Pinkerton Academy to its first-ever undefeated season. She led the league in scoring with 18 points per game. She also averaged 11 rebounds, five assists, five steals, and two blocks. McDade was a part of three consecutive AAU state championship teams during her high school career. Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) is ready to make an impact at the guard position. The 5’10” guard from Waterford, Connecticut was a recipient of
    Waterford High School’s Most Valuable Player award for the past two seasons. She was named to the All-Conference First Team in both her sophomore and junior seasons while averaging 15 points and six assists per game.
    For a second straight year, the Wildcats begin regular season action on the road as they travel to face non-conference rival Massachusetts on November 14. Three days later, the Wildcats welcome the Seahawks of Wagner College in it's home opener. UNH squares off against a slew of non-conference opponents during the last week of November through the start of January. They will challenge Army,Iona, Central Connecticut, Colgate, Providence, Northeastern and Dartmouth.
    Head Coach Sue Johnson has another shot at her former mentor’s team, Cathy Inglese, and the Boston College Eagles on December 5. The Wildcats spend most of the holiday season on the road as they compete at Virginia Tech’s “Lady Luck Classic” Tournament on December 28-29.
    UNH starts conference play on the road with visits to rival Maine along with last season’s conference champion, Hartford, on January 4 and 7 respectively. They face Stony Brook on January 13 for their America East home opener, which is followed by the arrival of Binghamton on January 17. UNH enjoys a three-game home stand and will entertain Maine, Hartford, and UMBC before taking their business on a two-game road trip to compete with Stony Brook and Binghamton. UNH closes the regular season at home, hosting Vermont before heading to Binghamton on March 3 for the regular season finale.
    For the first time in America East history, the Wildcats and the rest of the conference members will travel to Binghamton for the America East Women’s Basketball Tournament, which is held from March 8-11. The champion of the tournament earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

   
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