Saturday's matchup marks the third meeting all-time between New Hampshire and St. Peter's College. The Peahens hold a 2-1 record in the series, with their most recent victory coming in a 60-49 decision on Nov. 24, 2007 at Lundholm Gymnasium. UNH's first matchup against St. Peter's came on Dec. 3, 1994, which resulted in a 52-51 Wildcats' win at the Princeton Tournament.
SCOUTING ST. PETER'S (1-3):
Last time out, St. Peter's College fell short to the Fordham Rams, 61-59, Wednesday night at the Yanitelli Center ... For the Peahens, it was their third straight loss, after winning their opener 61-38 against Lafayette on Nov. 13 ... Jynae Judson had a chance to tie the game with just one second remaining, however, missed the game deciding jumper to seal the win for the Rams ... Ali Alena led the way for the Peahens, scoring 22 points, while Judson added 16 of her own ... The Rams jumped out to the early lead in the contest, holding a 24-16 advantage at 6:50 ... Fordham continue to pile on the points in the final moments of the stanza, posting an 8-4 run, setting the score at 32-20 in favor of the visitors ... The Peahens would make a late run at the end of the half, but Fordham still held a 37-30 advantage at the intermission ... The Rams picked up right where they left off in the second half, taking their largest lead of the game, after stringing off a 9-2 run to make the score 46-32 with 15:52 remaining ... Despite the run, the Peahens would strike back with a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to seven, with the score 46-39 ... St. Peter's would continue to battle back as Alena netted a pair of free throws with 1:08 remaining to cut the lead down to one, with the score 59-58, in favor of Fordham ... However, the Rams would hold onto the lead in the closing moments, coming out on top 61-59 ... Alena leads the Peahens with 15.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game this season ... Judson has also chipped in with 13.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game ... Natasha Morris has also been a major contributor for St. Peter's this season, with 12.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.
SCOUTING NEW HAMPSHIRE (3-3):
Last time out the University of New Hampshire fell short to Seton Hall University, 54-45, Thursday night at Walsh Gymnasium ... Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) tied her career-high scoring 17 points, including 11 in the second half ... With the win, the Pirates improve d to 5-3 on the season, winning their second straight game, while the Wildcats fell to 3-3 ... New Hampshire got off to a quick start in the contest, posting a 10-5 run, led by McDonald, who tallied six points during the five minute scoring stretch ... Nicole Emery responded to the run with a layup at 15:21, cutting New Hampshire's lead down to just three, setting the tone for a 10-4 run, capped off with a bucket from Kandice Green with 8:01 remaining, as Seton Hall claimed the lead for the first time in the contest ... Seton Hall held a 23-21 advantage at the intermission ... Seton Hall started the second half with two quick baskets on ensuing possessions, kicking off a 6-2 run ... New Hampshire would strike back midway through the stanza knotting the score at 37-37 with 10:24 remaining ... Despite UNH's late charge, the Pirates took control the rest of the way, holding on to win the game 54-45 ... McDonald, who was named the America East Player of the Game for New Hampshire, scored 17 points, notched two rebounds, two blocks and steal in the contest ... Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) scored 10 points, ripped down six rebounds and tied her career-high with five steals ... Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) chipped in with five points and nine boards.... In UNH's previous outing, the Wildcats fell to Quinnipiac University 68-54 on Nov. 29 at TD Bank Sports Center ... Williams, 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 ... Beliveau tallied 13 points, seven rebounds and two assists.
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 against Quinnipiac on Nov. 29, finishing as one of only two Wildcats in double-figure scoring. Most recently, she notched 10 points, pulled down six boards and tallied five steals against Seton Hall on Thursday. Beliveau has scored in double-figures in each of the last four games and has compiled at least six rebounds in the last three games. On the season, the sophomore forward is averaging 13.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 2.2 steals per game. She is also averaging 6.0 defensive rebounds per game, which ranks first in the America East Conference.
STEALING THE SHOW
Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) tallied a season-high five steals in Thursday's game against Seton Hall. The impressive total tied her career-high and was the first time a Wildcat compiled five steals in a game since Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) did so on Dec. 5, 2008 against Colgate. For Beliveau, it was the fourth time this season she has tallied multiple steals in a game. She currently leads the team with 13 steals, which is good for an average of 2.2 per game.
So far this season the Wildcats have been playing stellar defense against some impressive company. They have held opponents to a conference-best .308 shooting percentage from the floor this year, while shooting an impressive .380 clip themselves. The fresh start comes against an A-10 (St. Joseph's, UMass), an ACC (Maryland) and a Big East (Seton Hall) program, following a season in which opponents shot .404 from the field against the ‘Cats. Against Quinnipiac on Nov. 29, 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.
Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) tallied two steals against Quinnipiac on Nov. 29, 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 nine steals, averaging 1.5 per game.
After pouring in 18 points and ripping down six rebounds against Quinnipiac on Nov. 29, Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) set herself up to join some elite company. With 952 points and 523 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.
DOING THE DISHES
Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) has stepped up in her new role as point guard this season, notching a conference-best 34 assists through the first six games this year. In her most recent action against Seton Hall, she dished out her second best assist total this year, tallying seven assists. Against Harvard on Nov. 24, she tallied a season-high eight assists. On the season, she is averaging 5.7 assists per game. For her career, Simpson has tallied 240 assists, ranking her 12th all-time in program history. To break into the top-10 all-time, Simpson needs just 47 assists, which at her current pace should be attained in 10 games. Simpson has been stellar across the board for the 'Cats this year, averaging 4.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.7assists and 1.5 steals per game. In her most recent action against Seton Hall she finished with five points, two rebounds, seven assists, two steals and a block.
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 5.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.
Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) netted a season-high 18 points for the second consecutive game against Quinnipiac on Nov. 29. For the senior, it was the tenth time in the last 12 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 12 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.) poured in a career-high 17 points for the second time this season against Seton Hall on Thursday. Her previous 17-point output came against Harvard University on Nov. 24, when she lead the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team to a 78-65 overtime victory at Lundholm Gymnasium. In addition to her 17 points, McDonald finished the night with seven boards and a career-high three assists. Against UMass on Nov. 20, 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. In the last four games, McDonald is averaging 12.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. On the season, she leads the conference in field goal percentage with a .558 shooting clip.
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.
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
Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) tied her career-high scoring 17 points, including 11 in the second half, but it was not enough as the University of New Hampshire women's basketball fell to Seton Hall, 54-45, Thursday night at Walsh Gymnasium.
With the win, the Pirates improve to 5-3 on the season, winning their second straight game, while the Wildcats fall to 3-3.
New Hampshire got off to a quick start in the contest, posting a 10-5 run, led by McDonald, who tallied six points during the five minute scoring stretch.
Nicole Emery responded to the run with a layup at 15:21, cutting New Hampshire's lead down to just three, setting the tone for a 10-4 run, capped off with a bucket from Kandice Green with 8:01 remaining, as Seton Hall claimed the lead for the first time in the contest.
Despite the run, Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) helped provide a spark for the ‘Cats as she went head to head with Green, trading baskets in the remaining minutes of the stanza, each stringing off six points apiece.
Following Beliveau's scoring tirade, Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) would help recapture the momentum for the ‘Cats as she drilled a 3-pointer at the top of the key to knot up the action at 21 with 3:58 remaining.
Moments later, Green responded to the trifecta with a layup, giving Seton Hall the 23-21 advantage at the intermission. Beliveau and Green both finished the half with eight points each.
Seton Hall would start the second half with two quick baskets on ensuing possessions from Letitia Curry and Ebonie Williams, to kick off a 6-2 Seton Hall run capped off with a basket by Emery at 17:31.
However, the run was short lived as New Hampshire picked up the pieces as an array of Wildcats found the bottom of the net, holding a 12-8 advantage during the next four minutes of play with the score 37-33, in favor of the home team.
During the next two minutes of action the Wildcats picked up a full head of steam nearing the midway point of the stanza, as Diamon Beckford (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Simpson both drained baskets to tie the game at 37-37 with 10:24 remaining.
The Pirates quickly answered the call as Williams knocked down a 3-pointer that set off a 9-3 run, pushing Seton Hall's lead to six points, with score 46-40 at 6:13.
Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) and McDonald would help the Wildcats get back in the game as they both drained baskets to cut Seton Hall's lead down to just three points, with score 48-45, with 1:04 remaining.
However, a layup by Curry with just over 30 seconds remaining would erase any chance of a comeback by the Wildcats, pushing Seton Hall's lead back up to five points. Kandice Green would preserve the win for the Pirates as she went 4-for-4 from the charity stripe in the closing moments of the action.
McDonald, who was named the America East Player of the Game for New Hampshire, scored 17 points, notched two rebounds, two blocks and steal in the contest. Beliveau scored 10 points, ripped down six rebounds and tied her career-high with five steals. Williams chipped in with five points and nine boards.
As for the Pirates, Kandice Green led the way with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Williams and Emery notched 13 and 10 points, respectively.
The Wildcats return to action on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 2 p.m., when they round out their three-game road set against St. Peter's College at the Yanitelli Center.
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 ROUNDS OUT ROAD TRIP AGAINST ST. PETER'S (DEC. 5)