New Hampshire, the only team in the America East Conference to have four players average in double-figures last season, returns three of its top four scorers, including the squad’s leading scorer, Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.), and the 2008 America East Rookie of the Year, Denise Bealiveau (Framingham, Mass.) ... Also included in that list is forward Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.), who  tallied a team-high 125 rebounds last season ... Aside from being a contributor for the ‘Cats on offense, Simpson also led the team in assists (77) and ranked second on the team in steals (38) and blocks (14).

    For the Bulldogs, tonight’s meeting against the Wildcats will mark the team’s Division I debut, after posting a 20-12 record last season in Division II ... The Bulldogs will join the Northeast Conference for the 2012-13 season,  after finishing a five-year tranistional period ... Bryant returns their top-two leading scorers from last year, as Kelsey O’Keefe and Cara Johnson both averaged in double-figures with 16.1 and 11.1 points, respectively ... O’Keefe, a junior guard, also led the team in rebounds and blocks with 242 and 28, respectively ... The Bulldogs went 8-2 in non-conference play last season, but were 8-7 on the road, however.

    The incoming class includes guards Kelsey Hogan (Nashua, N.H.) and Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.). Hogan, a guard from Nashua North High School, was a McDonald’s All-American nominee and was ranked 135rd overall in the Blue Star Index. Wells, of West Chester Pa., comes out of Archbishop Carroll High School, a nationally-ranked program. Wells was instrumental in helping the Patriots to back-to-back conference title games, winning the Philadelphia Catholic League title in 2007.
    Six-foot-five center Kelley Flynn (Hopkinton, N.H.) will complete the new faces this season for the Wildcats. Flynn transferred from the University of Richmond where she played in 21 collegiate games for the Spiders. The McDonald’s All-American nominee led Hopkinton High School to the State Semifinals and State Championships. She ranked as a top-10 player in Varsity New England Magazine for two straight years and was rated the 48th-best center in the country by the All-Star Girls Report Recruiting Service. Due to NCAA transfer regulations, Flynn will not be eligible to participate until the 2009-10 season.

    Assistant Coach Katie Nelson is a 2006 University of Massachusetts graduate with a degree in sport management. Most recently, she served as an assistant coach at the United States Naval Academy during the 2007-08 season. There, some of her responsibilities included coaching and player development, recruiting, student-athlete mentorship, practice planning and all aspects of video coordinating. Prior to working at Navy, Nelson worked for the Washington Mystics of the WNBA. In 2005 she served as a full-time intern and was promoted to the Operations/Assistant Video Coordinator in 2006. While at UMass, Nelson was a four-year starting point guard with the Minutewomen from 2001-2006 and is currently the all-time leader in career 3-point field goals made (191) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.36). Nelson is a member of the Woman’s Basketball Coaches Association and has years of experience at multiple camps and clinics around the country.
    Director of Basketball Operations, Lauren Moore, a Nashua, N.H., native, graduated from Bentley College in 2007 with a degree in management. While playing for the Falcons, she was selected to the Northeast-10 All-Conference Third Team and served as team captain in 2006-07.
    Last season she served as an assistant coach at Southern New Hampshire University. Moore assisted the head coach in recruiting, on-court fundamental teaching, scouting, film exchange, fundraising, academic monitoring, strength and conditioning, community outreach, travel, camp and clinic organization and executing, and alumni communications.
    Prior to working for the Penmen, she was the sole intern for the Norteast-10 Conference. From 2003-06, Moore assisted the New England Crusaders AAU program.

     Last season the Wildcats opened up the year by winning two of their first three games. For UNH, the wins came in convincing fashion as they pummeled non-conference opponents Central Connecticut (Nov. 13) and Tennessee-Martin (Nov. 18), both  by a final score of 71-59. Against Tennessee-Martin, sophomore guard Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) propelled the Wildcats to victory as she registered a career-high 23 points in the game.

    In her last three games of the season last year, Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) averaged 13.7 points and 6.3 rebounds. For the year she posted 10.5 points per game, along with 4.3 rebounds per game. She also scored in double figures in six of the last nine games of the season down the stretch, including two 19-point efforts against UMBC (Feb. 2) and Vermont (Feb. 19). Williams took home some hardware for her efforts at the end of the season as she earned the award for the team’s most improved player at their annual off-season banquet.

    Junior guard Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) capped off an impressive sophomore campaign with her second highest scoring total of the season with a 21-point effort against Vermont (Mar. 14). She also scored in double figures in two of the last three games of the season. Last year she led the team in scoring with an average of 11.3 points per game, along with a team-high 55 3-pointers.

    Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) was named America East Rookie of the Year for her impressive performances last season for the Wildcats. The award was given out at the 2008 America East women’s basketball banquet held at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. With the honor, Beliveau becomes only the third player in UNH history to win Rookie of the Year and the first since 1990. In addition, she was also named to the America East All-Rookie team, making her the second Wildcat to do so in as many years, as Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) made the team last season. Over the course of the season, the freshman sensation garnered a total of five America East Rookie of the Week awards on the year. With that milestone, Beliveau joins exclusive company as only 14 players in the history of America East have won more Rookie of the Week honors.

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