Thursday's matchup marks the fourth meeting all-time between New Hampshire and Seton Hall. The Wildcats hold a 2-1 record in the series, with their most recent victory coming in a 55-53 decision on Nov. 24, 1984. UNH's first matchup against Seton Hall came on Dec. 30, 1982, which resulted in a 81-60 Wildcats' win. In their most recent meeting, the Pirates got the best of the Wildcats, putting together a 71-61 victory at the Seton Hall Basketball Classic on Nov. 17, 2001.
SCOUTING SETON HALL (4-3):
Seton Hall held onto an early lead despite a late rally by Brown to win the consolation game of the LIU Turkey Classic 58-57 ... Junior Ebonie Williams and sophomore Kandice Green led the Pirates with 13 points apiece ... In addition to her 13 points, Green also ripped down 12 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season ... Seton Hall held a 17-11 advantage with 8:44 remaining in the first half ... Brown would catch fire late in the stanza cutting Seton Hall's lead down to just one point, with the score set at 23-22, after four straight points from Christina Johnson ... The Bears closed out the half on a 9-4 run, including a buzzer beater from Johnson, with the score tied at 31 at the intermission ... Seton Hall kicked off the second half with an 8-1 run, taking a 39-32 lead with 16:01 remaining ... The lead grew to 10, with the score 44-34, when Williams buried a 3-pointer with 13:05 remaining ... Brown did not hit a field goal in the second half until the 12:41 mark when Johnson sank a layup ... However, Brown would put together a late charge, as Hannah Passafuime tallied a pair of free throws and Johnson finished off a three-point play, to make the score 51-46 in favor of the Pirates ... Lindsay Nickle hit her fourth 3-pointer of the game for the Bears, making it 58-53 with 2:40 remaining ... Brown stole an inbounds pass and got a lay up from Aileen Daniels to cut the lead down to three with 58 seconds left ... Following a missed free throw by Nicole Emery, Passafuime scored on a drive to make it a 58-57 game, but Seton Hall was able to hold onto the win ... Williams leads the Pirates with 15.0 points and 3.1 rebounds per game ... Kandice Green has also chipped in with 13.0 points and 10.6 rebounds per game this year.
SCOUTING NEW HAMPSHIRE (3-2):
Last time out the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team fell to Quinnipiac University 68-54 on Sunday afternoon at TD Bank Sports Center ... Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.), who was named America East Player of the Game, finished the afternoon with 18 points, six boards and a steal ... The Wildcats would finish out the game with an 8-0 run, cutting the Bobcats' lead down to 14, but the offensive spark was too little to late, as time expired with the Bobcats on top 68-54 ... The Wildcats shot 36 percent (18-for-50), while the Bobcats shot 29.5 percent (23-for-78) for the contest ... Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) tallied 13 points, seven rebounds and two assists ... ... In UNH's previous outing, the Wildcats defeated Harvard University 78-65 in overtime on Nov. 24 at Lundholm Gymnasium.... Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) scored a career-high 17 points all in the second half and in overtime to lead the 'Cats to victory ... The Wildcats laced the nets for a 20-5 run to start the game ... UNH posted a 12-2 run to kick off overtime, shooting 80 percent (4-for-5) from the field in the extra frame, on their way to outscoring the Crimson 20-7 in the stanza to secure the victory ... McDonald, who was named America East Player of the Game for UNH, finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and a career-high three assists ... Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) tallied 18 points and eight rebounds, four steals and two assists ... Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) finished with 14 points, a career-high 14 boards and two blocks ... Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) chipped in with eight points, eight assists and two blocks ... Diamon Beckford (Philadelphia, Pa.) notched a career-high eight points and pulled in five rebounds.
So far this season the Wildcats have been playing stellar defense against some impressive company. They have held opponents to a .301 shooting percentage from the floor this year, while shooting an impressive .371 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 their most recent action against Quinnipiac, New Hampshire held the Bobcats to just 29.5 percent shooting. In the game prior versus Harvard, the Wildcats kicked off the game playing stingy defense against the Crimson, holding them scoreless for the first 5:16 of the action and not allowing a field goal until the 8:44 mark. In UNH's 58-57 win over UMass on Nov. 20, 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.
SHE'S HEATING UP
Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) finished with 14 points, a career-high 14 boards and two blocks to lead the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team to a 78-65 overtime victory over Harvard University on Nov. 24 at Lundholm Gymnasium. Beliveau followed that performance by tallying 13 points, seven rebounds and two assists in Sunday's 68-54 loss to Quinnipiac, finishing as one of only two Wildcats in double-figure scoring. The sophomore is averaging 13.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 1.0 block per game in the two game stretch.
Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) tallied two steals in Sunday's game against Quinnipiac, giving her 100 steals for her Wildcat career. The impressive total ranks 24th all-time in program history. The last Wildcat to break into the 100-steal club was Whitney Edwards, who played for the 'Cats from 2003-07 and compiled 229 for her career, which ranks second all-time in program history. On the season, Simpson ranks second on team with seven steals, averaging 1.4 per game.
DOING THE DISHES
Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) dished out four assists against Quinnipiac on Sunday. In the game prior, she tallied a season-high eight assists against Harvard on Nov. 24. For the 2-guard turned point guard, Simpson has stepped up in her new role, notching 27 assists through the first five games this season. However, setting up her teammates is nothing new for multi-tooled guard, as she has has averaged 5.6 assists per game in her last eight games dating back to last year. In that span she set a career-high in assists with 11 against Binghamton on March 4, 2009. For her career, Simpson has tallied 233 assists, ranking her 12th all-time in program history. To break into the top-10 all-time, Simpson needs just 54 assists, which at her current pace should be attained in 10 games.
DIAMON IN THE ROUGH
Diamon Beckford (Philadelphia, Pa.) scored a career-high eight points and pulled down five rebounds against Harvard on Nov. 24. The solid production has been nothing new this season for the freshman sensation, as she tallied six points, five boards and two steals against UMass on Nov. 20. In the game prior, she notched 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 5.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.
EVERYTHING BUT THE KITCHEN SINK
Simpson has been stellar across the board for the 'Cats this year, averaging 4.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.4 steals per game. In her most recent action against Quinnipiac she finished with two points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block. In addition, she also limited Bobcats point guard Felicia Barron, who currently leads Quinnipiac with 12.0 points per game this season, to just 3-for-17 shooting (17.6 percent). The Wildcats held the Bobcats to just 29.5 percent shooting for the contest, including just 18.2 percent from beyond the three-point line in the second half.
Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) netted a season-high 18 points for the second consecutive game against Quinnipiac on Sunday. For the senior, it was the tenth time in the last 11 games she has scored in double-figures. In her previous double-digit effort, she poured in 18 points in UNH's 78-65 overtime win over Harvard on Nov. 24 at Lundholm Gymnasium. During the 11 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. Last year she posted double-figures in all 23 games to start the season, including back-to-back 25-plus point games. She had a career-high 27-point performance at Boston University (Jan. 17, 2009), then posted 26 at Stony Brook (Jan. 21, 2009). In 1998-99, Orsi Farkas posted double figures in all 31 games for the Wildcats.
IN THE CLUTCH
With UNH's 78-65 overtime victory over Harvard University on Nov. 24, the Wildcats have now won their last six decisions in overtime dating back to March 1, 2003, when UNH defeated Stony Brook 70-67 in the extra frame. Tuesday's win marks the largest margin of victory in overtime in program history. It is also UNH's first win against Harvard since Dec. 29, 1999, when the Wildcats defeated the Crimson 70-58 at Lundholm Gymnasium.
Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) notched her first double-double of the season on Nov. 24 against Harvard with 14 points and 14 rebounds. For the forward, it was her third career double-double as she also notched double digit efforts against Northeastern (22 pts, 10 rbs) on Dec. 15, 2007 and Binghamton (18 pts, 11 rbs) on Jan. 19, 2008. Including Tuesday's game against Harvard, Beliveau has scored in double figures in three games this season, as she tallied 21 points against St. Joseph's and 15 points against UMass.
In UNH's 78-65 overtime victory over Harvard on Nov. 24, three Wildcats scored in double-figures for the third time in a four game stretch. Most recently Candace Williams (18), Jill McDonald (17), Denise Beliveau (14) helped achieve the feat. The trio was at it once again versus UMass as Williams (17), Beliveau (15), and McDonald (10) all scored in double-digits. UNH first accomplished the plateau this season against St. Joseph's, as Beliveau led the way with 21 points, while Williams and Lauren Wells tallied 15 and 12 points, respectively, leading the 'Cats to a 64-56 victory at Lundholm Gymnasium.
Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) scored a career-high 17 points all in the second half and in overtime to lead the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team to a 78-65 overtime victory over Harvard University on Nov. 24 at Lundholm Gymnasium. In addition to her 17 points, McDonald finished the night with seven boards and a career-high three assists. Prior to Tuesday's game against Harvard, McDonald 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 on Nov. 20 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. During the two game span, McDonald averaged 13.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.
UNH's 58-57 win over UMass on Nov. 20 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 18 points and ripping down six rebounds in Sunday's game against Quinnipiac, Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) set herself up to join some elite company. With 947 points and 514 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.
The Wildcats improved to 3-1 on the season with their 78-65 win over Harvard on Nov. 24, marking their best start since the 2005-06 campaign, when the ‘Cats won three straight games, starting the year 3-1. The win is also New Hampshire's third at home this season, which is its best start at Lundholm Gymnasium since the 1993-94 campaign, when the ‘Cats won their first six home games on their way to finishing the season 17-11.
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.
LAST TIME OUT
Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) tallied 18 points but it was not enough to lead the University of New Hampshire to its third straight victory, falling to Quinnipiac University 68-54 on Sunday afternoon at TD Bank Sports Center.
It was a back-and-forth battle for both squads during the first five minutes of the action with score 6-4 in favor of the Bobcats. Quinnipiac would soon begin to pull away from the Wildcats as they posted nine unanswered points to build its lead up to eight with the score 17-4, as Courtney Kaminski polished off the run with a bucket at 11:25.
For the next nine minutes of play UNH would find its stroke offensively as they traded baskets with Quinnipiac, setting the score at 35-19 with 3:29 remaining in favor of the home team. New Hampshire would finish out the half on a strong note as they put together a 6-2 run to close out the first frame, with the score 37-25.
Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.), Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) and Williams led the way for UNH, as they each tallied a basket during the stretch. Williams and Beliveau provided the offensive spark for the Wildcats during the stanza, notching six and seven points, respectively.
The action would keep pace for the first four minutes of the second half as both UNH and Quinnipiac would continue to trade baskets, setting the score at 41-28 in favor of the home team, following a pair of free throws by Williams with 16:37 remaining.
Williams would knock down another pair of free throws at 15:57, which sparked a 4-1 run by the Wildcats that cut the Bobcats' lead down to just 10 points. Kelley Flynn (Hopinkton, N.H.) finished off the stretch as she powered up a layup at 15:20, with the score 42-32.
On the ensuing possession, Courtney Kaminski buried a jumper to spark a stretch in which the Bobcats scored six unanswered points, building their lead up to 16 points, with the score 48-32 with 13:48 remaining.
New Hampshire would answer the call, as Beliveau layed the ball in at 13:21 to kick off an 8-3 scoring run. With the stretch, UNH was able to cut Quinnipiac's lead back down, narrowing the gap to just 11 points at 10:44.
Despite UNH's late offensive charge, Quinnipiac would catch fire with just under the 10 minutes to play, posting a 12-3 run that ended on a Jacinda Dunbar layup at 5:39. The run would be a tale of things to come for the Bobcats as they held their largest lead of the game with a 22-point advantage with 3:04 remaining and the score set at 68-46.
The Wildcats would finish out the game with an 8-0 run, cutting the Bobcats' lead down to 14, but the offensive spark was too little to late, as time expired with the Bobcats on top 68-54.
Williams, who was named America East Player of the Game, finished the afternoon with 18 points, six boards and a steal. Beliveau tallied 13 points, seven rebounds and two assists.
As for Quinnipiac, Felicia Barron led the way with 14 points, six assists and three rebounds. Jacinda Dunbar and Kathleen Neyens each finished in double-figures, with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
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.
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL MAKES SECOND STOP ON ROAD TRIP AGAINST SETON HALL (DEC. 3)