WOMEN'S BASKETBALL WRAPS UP TWO-GAME HOMESTAND AGAINST HARVARD (NOV. 24)
Tuesday's matchup marks the 33rd meeting between New Hampshire and Harvard. The Wildcats hold a 26-7 record in the series, winning 15 of the first 16 contests against the Crimson. UNH's first matchup against Harvard came on Feb. 14, 1978, which resulted in a 61-46 UNH win. Harvard earned its first win against the Wildcats on Feb. 10, 1986 and has been victorious in six out of the past seven meetings. The Wildcats are 9-2 at home against Harvard all-time, however, their last win at Lundholm Gymnasium versus the Crimson came in a 70-58 decision on Dec. 29, 1999.
SCOUTING HARVARD (2-1):
Last time out, sophomore Brogan Berry scored a season-high 20 points, but it was not enough to propel the Crimson to victory as they fell to Sacred Heart 92-77 Saturday night at the Pitt Center ... Christine Matera scored a season-high 12 points, all in the first half, while Caitlin Rowland and Emma Markley added 11 and 10 points, respectively ... Harvard opened up the action with a 10-3 run as Berry capped off the stretch with a trey to give the Crimson a double-digit lead four minutes into the game ... Despite the quick start, the Pioneers would fire back, draining three-straight shots from beyond the arc to pull within just one point, with the score 15-14 at 14:08 ... At the intermission the score was tied at 43 apiece ... Sacred Heart pulled away with a 10-0 run to start the second half and would build its lead to a 60-47 margin with 15:39 remaining ... The Pioneers continued their hot shooting late in the period, as they led by as many as 17 en route to the victory ... On the season, Victoria Lippert leads the Crimson with 15.7 points per game ... Emma Markley has also chipped in with 13.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.
SCOUTING NEW HAMPSHIRE (2-1):
Last time out the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team earned its second win of the year against an Atlantic-10 team with a 58-57 victory over UMass on Friday night at Lundholm Gymnasium ... Three Wildcats scored in double-figures, with Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) leading the way with 17 points, while Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) and Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) tallied 15 and 10 points, respectively ... The 'Cats compiled a season-high 13 steals in the contest, on their way to forcing a season best 27 turnovers ... UNH shot 44 percent (11-25) in the second half, outscoring the Minutewomen 32-22 in the stanza ... In UNH's previous outing, the Wildcats fell to No. 21 Maryland, 63-43, on Nov. 16 at the Comcast Center ... Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) scored 11 points and tallied seven assists in the contest ... The Terrapins set the tone early in the contest as they started off the game with a 20-9 run ... The Wildcats scratched their way right back into the action as they answered Maryland's run with an 11-3 scoring stretch, cutting the home team's lead down to just three points, with the score set at 23-20 at 4:21 ... Maryland closed out the half with a 26-20 advantage ... Maryland took control in the second stanza, leading by as many as 22 points and finishing out the night with a 7-2 run to secure the win ... Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.) finished with nine points, three assists and two boards ... Diamon Beckford (Philadelpia, Pa.) notched seven points, seven rebounds and one block.
So far this season the Wildcats have been playing stellar defense against some impressive company. They have held opponents to a .299 shooting percentage from the floor this year, while shooting an impressive .352 clip themselves. The fresh start comes against two A-10 (St. Joseph's, UMass) and one ACC (Maryland) program, following a season in which opponents shot .404 from the field against the ‘Cats. In Friday's win over UMass, the Wildcats compiled a season-high 13 steals and forced a season best 27 turnovers. In UNH's matchup against No. 21 Maryland on Nov. 16, the ‘Cats pestered the Terps into shooting just .278 from the field, holding their offense to just 63 points, which was Maryland's second lowest point total in the last 29 games dating back to last season. The only team to hold the Terps to an even lower point total was Louisville, who defeated Maryland 77-60 in the NCAA Elite Eight on March 30, 2009. Against St. Joe's, the ‘Cats were just as impressive, holding the Hawks to just .277 shooting and a total of 56 points.
DIAMON IN THE ROUGH
Diamon Beckford (Philadelphia, Pa.) notched six points, five boards and two steals against UMass on Friday night. The solid production has been nothing new this season for the freshman sensation, as she tallied seven points, seven boards and one block against No. 21 Maryland on Nov. 16. In that contest she helped the Wildcats respond to a 20-9 Terrapin run that started the game, as she knocked down a jumper at 7:44 to set off an 11-3 scoring stretch, which cut the home team's lead down to just three points, with the score set at 23-20 at 4:21. Including the jumper, she totaled five points on the run. This season Beckford has posted 5.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.
EVERYTHING BUT THE KITCHEN SINK
Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) tallied a season-high seven assists against No. 21 Maryland on Nov. 16. For the 2-guard turned point guard, Simpson has stepped up in her new role, notching 15 assists through the first three games this season. However, setting up her teammates is nothing new for multi-tooled guard, as she has has averaged 5.5 assists per game in her last six games dating back to last year. In that span she set a career-high in assists with 11 against Binghamton on March 4, 2009. Simpson has been stellar across the board for the 'Cats this year, averaging 4.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game.
Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) netted a season-high 17 points against UMass on Friday night. For the senior, it was the eighth time in the last nine games she has scored in double-figures. In her previous double-digit effort, she poured in 15 points in UNH's 64-56 win over St. Joseph's University on Nov. 13 at Lundholm Gymnasium. During the nine game span, she has tallied 22 points on two occasions, the latest coming in a 66-62 win over Albany at the SEFCU Arena on Feb. 28, 2009. Her other 22-point outburst came against defending conference champion Vermont on Feb. 22, 2009.
In addition to her 21 points and nine rebounds in UNH's 64-56 win over St. Joseph's University on Nov. 13, Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) tied her career high in free throws made, knocking down 10-of-10 shots from the charity stripe. Included in that total are four tallies which came in the last two minutes of play to seal the victory for the 'Cats. It was the first time a Wildcat shot 100 percent from the foul line since Danielle Clark (12-12) did so on Nov. 26, 2006 against Iona. The last time Beliveau knocked down 10 free throws in a game came against Northeastern on Dec. 15, 2007. She finished that night with 22 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals.
In Saturday's win over UMass, three Wildcats scored in double-figures for the second time in three games. Most recently Candace Williams (17), Denise Beliveau (15) and Jill McDonald (10) helped achieve the feat. In UNH's 64-56 victory over St. Joseph's on Nov. 13, Beliveau led the way with 21 points, while Williams and Lauren Wells tallied 15 and 12 points, respectively. The last time three Wildcats scored in double-figures twice in a three game span, came in games against Albany (1/24/09) and Binghamton (1/28/09). Against Albany, Amy Simpson led the 'Cats with 18 points, while Williams and Kate Early tallied 17 and 12 points, respectively. The next time out versus Binghamton, Williams led the team with 19 points, while Simpson tallied 17 points and Abigail LaRosa notched 11 points.
Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) knocked down a pair of free throws with just 0:12 remaining to propel the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team to a 58-57 victory over the University of Massachusetts Friday night at Lundholm Gymnasium. For her efforts, the center was named the America East Player of the Game, notching 10 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and two steals in the contest. On the season, McDonald is averaging 6.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.0 block per game.
UNH's 58-57 win over UMass on Friday marked the first time the Wildcats knocked off two Atlantic-10 teams in the same season since the 1989-90 campaign. The 'Cats earned their first victory over an Atlantic-10 opponent this season on Nov. 13, when they defeated St. Joseph's University 64-56 at Lundholm Gymnasium. During the 1989-90 season, the Wildcats defeated Rhode Island 67-56 on Nov. 28 and earned a 66-60 win against UMass on Dec. 9 to complete the A-10 sweep in non-conference play.
After pouring in 17 points and ripping down seven rebounds in Friday's 58-57 win over UMass, Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) set herself up to join some elite company. With 911 points and 500 rebounds in her UNH career, Williams is on pace to become just the tenth Wildcat to score over 1,000 points and compile 500 rebounds in program history. The last 'Cat to achieve the feat was Aubrey Danen in 2003, who scored 1,087 and tallied 666 rebounds during the course of her career. Kris Kinney tops the list, finishing her UNH career with 2,231 points and 897 rebounds after a four-year stint with the 'Cats from 1985-89.
LAST TIME OUT
After being down by as many as 18 points, Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) poured in 11 second half points and Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) knocked down a pair of late free throws to propel the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team to a 58-57 victory over the University of Massachusetts Friday night at Lundholm Gymnasium.
With the win, the Wildcats improive to 2-1 on the young season, while the Minutewomen lose their second straight game, falling to 1-2. For New Hampshire, the victory comes as its second against an Atlantic-10 opponent this season and is its first win against UMass since Dec. 4, 2005.
After a first period in which the Minutewomen shot 50 percent (11-22) from the field, including 57.1 percent from three-point land, UMass entered the second stanza with a 35-26 lead. Megan Zullo lead the way for UMass in the first half as she knocked down four 3-pointers for 12 points.
UMass would continue its sharp shooting ways at the start of the second half posting an 11-2 run to kick off the action. Cerie Mosgrove gave the Minutewomen life as she nailed a pair of trifectas on back-to-back possessions during the stretch, building UMass' lead up to 18, with the score 46-28 at 17:39.
Despite facing their largest deficit of the evening, the Wildcats would claw back into the action with a 21-2 run. Diamon Beckford (Philadelphia, Pa.) set the ‘Cats off, laying the ball in at 17:21 and tallying six points on the stretch.
Danella would end the run with two free throws to regain the lead, with the score 50-49 at 4:55 in favor of the visitors. The two squads would trade baskets with one another for next four minutes of play, in a stretch that featured three ties and three lead changes.
With score knotted at 56-56, Kristina Danella nailed the second of two free throws to put the Minutewomen up 57-56 with just 0:39 remaining. On the ensuing possession, Beckford missed on a layup attempt, but McDonald was able to track down the loose ball and was quickly fouled by Nicole Jones.
With a chance to give UNH just its third lead of the game, McDonald stepped to line and sank both free throws to give the Wildcats the 58-57 edge. The Minutewomen would have one last attempt to regain the lead for good on their next trip down floor, but Nicole James missed a jump hook as the buzzer sounded, sealing the victory for New Hampshire.
WILDCATS PICKED FOURTH IN PRESEASON POLL
The University of New Hampshire women's basketball team received 38 points to place fourth in the America East preseason poll that was released this afternoon by the conference.
The Wildcats finished last season in fifth place in the conference with an 8-23 record, including a 6-10 mark against America East opponents, after being picked seventh in last year's preseason poll. New Hampshire's 38-point total tied with Boston University, who is coming off an undefeated conference regular season and its first appearance in the postseason WNIT. UMBC finished followed closely behind UNH and BU, with 35 points in the sixth place spot.
Vermont, last year's conference champion, is predicted to once again capture the title, receiving five first place votes and tallying 61 points. Hartford is selected to finish second with 60 points, garnering four first place votes in the poll. Binghamton is predicted to finish third, with 45 points.
Stony Brook University is slated to finish seventh (23 points), while the University of Maine (13) and the University at Albany (11 points) round out the final three spots in the poll.
SEASON OF HIGH HOPES
Entering her third year at the helm of the University of New Hampshire women's basketball program, head coach Kristin Cole begins the 2009-10 season with all the pieces aligned to make a run at the America East competition. With the return of every player from last year's team, as well as the addition of high impact newcomers, the Wildcats look poised to become a true contender in the conference.
The Wildcats will once again look to the veteran leadership of senior forward Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) and senior guard Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) to lead the team.
Williams is fresh off her best season in white and blue becoming a staple in the Wildcat lineup starting every game last season. She made the most of her time on the court becoming one of just two players in the America East conference to rank in the top three in both scoring (16.1) and rebounding (8.1). Her efforts also led to her being selected to the America East All-Conference Second Team, becoming only the tenth player in program history to do so.
Simpson also started in all 31 games for the Wildcats last season, averaging a career-high 11.5 points per game, a total that ranked second on the team and 12th in the conference. She also ranked second on the squad in assists and steals with 90 and 29, respectively. Simpson poises the greatest threat beyond the arc as she drained the best single-season mark for 3-pointers made in program history with 62 last year. Her most prolific performance came against Colgate (12/5) when she nailed six 3-pointers to tie a UNH single-game record.
Perhaps the biggest addition to this year's squad is the return of Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.), who sat out last season due to injury. In her first season in 2007-08, she was the only freshman to play in 28 of 29 games, averaging 10 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, which topped the America East freshmen class. In fact, her performance was so impressive that she was named to the America East All-Rookie team and became the third player in UNH history to win the Rookie of the Year award. However, she didn't just stand out in scoring, as she also tallied the second best totals in rebounds and assists with 174 and 55, respectively.
Anchoring the ‘Cats in the middle is senior Racheal Fowler (Glassboro, N.J.). Fowler, started in all 31 games last season, finishing with 5.9 points per game and 5.5 rebounds per game, leading the team in field goal percentage (.513; 79-154).
Fellow senior Chrissy Hall (Northbridge, Mass.) will also be called upon as she looks to build on a relatively productive 2008-09 season in which she played in all 31 games and started in 13. Her defensive prowess became truly evident last season as she ranked second on the team in blocks with 22, while also adding 22 steals. In addition, she averaged 3.6 points per game and 3.2 rebounds per game.
The Wildcats fill out the frontcourt with a plethora of experience and talent that is sure to provide solid depth and production throughout the 2009-10 campaign. Juniors Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.), Kate Early (Corning, N.Y.) and sophomore Kelley Flynn (Hopinkton, N.H.), provide a solid veteran presence and are sure to make an immediate impact this season.
McDonald should prove to be a solid piece to the puzzle this season as she provides size and a solid defensive presence in the middle. After playing in all 31 games, including one start, McDonald emerged as a defensive stopper for the ‘Cats as she racked up a team-high 47 blocks. Her average of 1.5 blocks per game not only was a team high but ranked fourth in America East. She also notched 3.5 points per game and 3.3 rebounds per game.
Early played in all 31 games, including 14 starts for the ‘Cats last season. She ranked second on the team in field goal percentage (.493; 34-69), giving New Hampshire a solid overall lift with an average of 2.7 points per game. More importantly, she collected the third most rebounds and steals on the team with 130 and 23, respectively.
Rounding out the frontcourt for the Wildcats is Flynn who joins the Wildcats after playing in 21 collegiate games with the Richmond Spiders. Flynn is sure to make an impact with the ‘Cats under the basket as her 6-5 frame will give the Wildcats a presence in the middle. 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.
The backcourt will feature a dynamic duo of young talented point guards as returning starter Abigail LaRosa (Hampton, N.H.) and Kelsey Hogan (Nashua, N.H.) should provide stability within the rotation.
LaRosa played and started in all 31 games for the Wildcats last season posting an average of 6.4 points per game, while averaging a team best 3.0 assists per game and 3.2 rebounds per game. The sophomore didn't fall short defensively either, as she led the team in steals with 35 and chipped in with six blocks.
As for Hogan, her season was cut short last year due to injury, but in the limited time she saw the court she provided a great offensive spark for the Wildcats. Starting in the three games in which she played, Hogan averaged 8.0 points per game along with 3.3 rebounds per game and 3.0 assists per game. The freshman's best game came against Bryant (11/14) when she notched a career-high 20 points and eight rebounds against the Bulldogs.
Sophomore Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.) adds depth for the ‘Cats as she looks to build on a promising freshman campaign. Playing in 29 games for New Hampshire last season she posted 5.1 points per game and 1.9 rebounds per game. Her potential was best exhibited when she poured in a season high 13 points to go along with two assists, a block and a steal against Vermont (2/1).
Freshmen Diamon Beckford (Philadelphia, Pa.), Jilliane Friel (Durham, N.H.), Jackie Lyons (Reading, Mass.) and Cari Reed (Oswego, N.Y) will all compete for playing time.
Beckford, who played at Upper Darby High School, became the fourth player in the school's history to surpass the 1,000-point marker, in her junior year. In her senior season she won league MVP and surpassed the 1,000 mark in career rebounds. The three-time All-Delco first-team member was a third-team All-Southeastern Pennsylvania selection her junior year, as well.
Friel, who comes from a long line of New Hampshire basketball tradition, is the daughter of the late Gerry Friel, the winningest coach in the history of the UNH men's basketball program. The three-time Foster's Daily Democrat Basketball Dream Team member won the league Player of the Year award and surpassed the 1,000-point mark in her senior season. As a junior she led the Bobcats to the state quarterfinals and was named a second-team all-state basketball selection. In 2006, she led the Bobcats to an undefeated record (22-0) on their way to winning the Class I state championship.
Lyons compiled over 1,000 points during her career at Reading High School, including a total of 436 points during her senior season. During that season she was named North Section Player of the Year and helped lead the Rockets to a Middlesex League Championship. In 2007, she was the conference's leading scorer with an average of 18.1 points per game. During that season she was selected to the Middlesex All-League team and named the Woburn Times Chronicle Player of the Year.
Reed, who scored over 1,000 while playing at Oswego High School, was a three-time selection to both the All-League first-team and the All-CNY (Central New York) team. She was selected as the conference Player of the Year in 2008 and 2009 and was also a member of the all-state ninth-team.
With a solid group of core players, increased depth and a load of young talent, the Wildcats have set themselves up not only for a successful campaign in 2009-10 but to become a top talent in the America East for many years to come.