Wednesday's matchup between New Hampshire and Syracuse University will mark the seventh meeting all-time between both teams, with the last matchup coming on Dec. 6, 1986. In that game, the Wildcats got the best of the Orange, earning a 72-62 victory at Lundholm Gymnasium. However, the Orange earned victories in the first two meetings in the series, with their first win coming in a 58-54 decision on Feb. 14, 1981.
SCOUTING NO. 23 SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY (11-0):
Syracuse University is coming off a 67-46 win against Rider on Monday night at the Carrier Dome ... Freshman guard Carmen Tyson-Thomas recorded her first career double-double with a career-high 11 points and 13 rebounds in the game ... Tyler Ash notched a career-high 12 points in the contest ... The Orange overcame its ﬁrst halftime deficit of the season, 31-28, and held Rider to just 15.4 percent (4-26) shooting in the second half ... The Orange held Rider to just 22.6 percent (14-62) shooting from the ﬁeld in the win ... It was the eighth time (third consecutive) SU has held its opponent to less than 50 points and the sixth time (fourth straight) it has limited its opponent to less than 30 percent shooting ... Syracuse forced 21 turnovers and tallied 12 steals in its 67-46 victory versus Rider on Dec. 28 ... SU has forced 20-plus turnovers eight times ... The Orange controlled the inside, holding a 20-12 advantage in points in the paint, while dominating in fast-break points, 12-0 ... The win comes as the team's 11th straight this season, a feat which has only been achieved once prior to this year ... A win against New Hampshire would give the team a program-best 12th consecutive victory ... The last time the Orange won 12 straight games was during the 2007-08 season ... Syracuse is 8-0 at home this year and has won 23 consecutive non-conference home games ... The Orange went 8-0 last season and 7-0 in 2007-08 ... The team's last non-conference home loss came against Canisius College (56-48) on Dec. 22. 2006 ... The Orange, who currently rank 23rd in the country, have been ranked in the top 25 for four consecutive weeks and have received votes in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll for eight straight weeks ... Nicole Michael leads the Orange with 15.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game this season ... Erica Morrow and Kayla Alexander have also chipped in with 13.4 and 12.5 points per game this year, respectively.
SCOUTING NEW HAMPSHIRE (5-6):
Last time out the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team earned a 42-40 victory over Canisius College on Dec. 28 at the Koessler Athletic Center ... The Wildcats held the Golden Griffins to .267 shooting from the floor, marking the lowest shooting percentage the Wildcats have allowed as a defense this season ... The 40 points scored by the Golden Griffins was the fewest points the Wildcats have given up this year ... The ‘Cats held a 19-17 advantage at the intermission ... With the score set at 25-25 with 12:40 remaining, Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.) helped kick off a 5-0 run as she drilled a 3-pointer and Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) dropped in a pair of free throws, giving New Hampshire the 30-25 edge with 11:19 remaining ... Canisius would polish off a 6-0 run with layups from Ellie Radke and Allison Braun on ensuing possessions, giving the home team its first lead of the half, pushing ahead 38-37 ... Following the run, Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) layed the ball in to end the stretch and reclaim the lead with score 39-38 with 4:38 remaining ... After a four minute scoring drought by both teams, Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) would help answer the call, as she found a wide open McDonald under the basket for a layup, taking the lead for good, with the score 41-40 ... Williams led the way for the 'Cats scoring 12 points and pulling down 11 rebounds, for her first double-double of the season ... She has 14 double-doubles for her career ... With her impressive output, she now has 1,019 points and 559 rebounds, totals that rank 13th and 12th, respectively, all-time in program history ... Williams aside, McDonald tallied eight points, four rebounds, an assist and a block on the night .... McDonald has now tallied a block in each of the last seven games ... Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) added seven points, four boards and two steals ... For Beliveau, it is the eighth time she has tallied multiples steals in a game this year ... The Wildcats currently have three players averaging in double figure scoring, with Williams leading the way with 12.7 points per game, while Beliveau and McDonald are averaging 12.1 and 11.4 points per game ... The last time at least three Wildcats ended the season averaging double-figures in scoring was the 2007-08 campaign, when Simpson averaged 11.3 points, Ashley Cerniglia averaged 10.8 points, Williams averaged 10.5 points and Beliveau averaged 10.0 points per game ... In UNH's previous outing, the Wildcats fell to the University of Louisville 76-67 on Dec. 22 at Lundholm Gymnasium ... UNH outscored Louisville 36-29 in the first frame, outshooting the Cardinals .405 to .367 in the stanza ... Louisville picked up the pace in the second half, shooting a .593 clip from the floor, including a .500 mark from beyond the arc on its way to outscoring the 'Cats 47-31 in the frame ... Three Wildcats scored in double-figures for the fourth time this season in the contest ... Williams scored 18 points and pulled down five rebounds in the game, becoming just the eleventh Wildcat to score over 1,000 points and compile 500 rebounds in program history ... McDonald tallied career-highs in points (18), rebounds (9) and blocks (5) ... Wells tallied 12 points, one shy of her career high, for the second time this season ... Simpson tallied eight assists for the second time this season in the game.
Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) notched her first double-double of the season against Canisius College on Dec. 28 with 12 points and 11 rebounds. For Williams, the impressive mark comes as her 14th career double-double. Last season, the forward earned a conference-best 10 double-doubles. As a team, UNH has had three players notch double-doubles this season. Aside from Williams, Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) is the most recent Wildcat to achieve the feat, notching 10 points and a career-high 11 assists against Holy Cross on Dec. 20. Before that, 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.
AGAINST ALL ODDS
With UNH's 42-40 victory over Canisius College on Dec. 28, the Wildcats snapped a seven-game America East Conference losing streak against the Golden Griffins. Earlier this season, Canisius earned a pair of wins against America East opponents, with victories over Binghamton (49-46) and Albany (52-41). For New Hampshire, the win comes as the program's second in its last three meetings against Canisius College.
After defeating Canisus College 42-40 on Dec. 28, UNH head coach Kristin Cole is off to her best start during her tenure at New Hampshire, leading the 'Cats to a 5-6 record in non-conference play to kick off the season. The impressive total comes as the most non-conference wins the Wildcats have earned since tallying five wins during the 2006-07 campaign.
So far this season the Wildcats have been playing stellar defense against some impressive company. They have held opponents to a conference-best .341 shooting percentage from the floor this year, while shooting an impressive .385 clip themselves. The fresh start comes against an A-10 (St. Joseph's, UMass), an ACC (Maryland) and two Big East (Seton Hall, Louisville) programs, following a season in which opponents shot .404 from the field against the ‘Cats. Most recently against Canisius College on Dec. 28, the Wildcats held the Golden Griffins to .267 shooting and just 40 points, marks that are both team-highs. 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.
Three Wildcats scored in double-figures for the fourth time this season against Louisville on Dec. 22. Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) and Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) each tallied 18 points, while Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.) added 12 points. The last time three Wildcats scored in double-figures was in UNH's 78-65 overtime victory over Harvard on Nov. 24. In that contest, Williams (18), McDonald (17) and 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 Wells tallied 15 and 12 points, respectively, leading the 'Cats to a 64-56 victory at Lundholm Gymnasium.
Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) tallied career-highs in points (18), rebounds (9) and blocks (5) against Louisville on Dec. 22. McDonald reached the 18-point mark in the game prior against Holy Cross, when she helped lead the 'Cats to an 80-72 victory. The success is nothing new for the junior center, as she is off to a stellar start this season, posting 14.0 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game in the last four outings.
Lauren Wells (West Chester, (Pa.) tallied 12 points, one shy of her career high, against the University of Louisville on Dec. 22. In addition, she also compiled a career-high four steals in the contest. For Wells, it was the second time this season she has scored 12 points, as she also reached the mark in a 64-56 win against St. Joseph's on Nov. 13.
TORCHING THE NETS
The Wildcats scored 80 points against Holy Cross on Dec. 20, marking the largest point total posted by New Hampshire since it notched 85 points against UMBC on Jan. 10, 2009. The 80-point output not only comes as a season-high in scoring, but it also marks the first time UNH has shot over 50 percent (54.4; 31-57) from the floor since the ‘Cats did so against Iona on Dec. 12, 2007, when they finished with a .500 percent (30-60) shooting clip.
Five Wildcats finished in double-figure scoring in an 80-72 decision against Holy Cross College on Dec. 22. Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) led all scorers with 20 points and was followed by Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.; 18 points, six rebounds), Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.; 15 points, nine rebounds), Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.; 10 points, 11 assists) and Racheal Fowler (Glassboro, N.J.; 10 points). The last time five Wildcats scored in double-figures was against Colgate on Dec. 5, 2008, when Simpson (24), Abigial LaRosa (Hampton, N.H.) (19), Williams (13), Chrissy Hall (Northbridge, Mass.) (13) and Fowler (10) all scored in double-figures.
SPREADING THE FLOOR
The Wildcats currently have three players averaging in double-figure scoring, with Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) leading the way with 12.7 points per game, while Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) and Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) are averaging 12.1 and 11.4 points per game. The last time at least three Wildcats ended the season averaging double-figures in scoring was the 2007-08 campaign, when Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) averaged 11.3 points, Ashley Cerniglia averaged 10.8 points, Williams averaged 10.5 points and Beliveau averaged 10.0 points per game.
STEALING THE SHOW
Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) tied her career-high with five steals against Seton Hall on Dec. 3, marking the third time she has reached the mark in her UNH career. It was also the first time a Wildcat compiled five steals in a game since Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) did so on Dec. 5, 2008 against Colgate. On the season, Beliveau has tallied multiple steals in a game eight times for the Wildcats. She currently leads the team with 24 steals and ranks third in the conference with an average of 2.2 steals per game.
Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) knocked down a 3-pointer on Dec. 22 against Louisville, giving her 173 3-point field goals for her career. The impressive total ranks second all-time in program history, six field goals shy of Heidi Plencner's all-time mark of 179. This season, Simpson has drilled 12 trifectas, averaging 5.6 points per game. Last year, she notched 62 3-pointers, which was the best single-season mark in program history.
Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) tallied a block against Canisius on Dec. 28, giving her a block in each of the last seven games. She notched a career-high five blocks versus Louisville on Dec. 22, becoming the first Wildcat to tally five blocks in a game since Ray Williams reached the mark against Yale on Nov. 19, 2005. On the season she has 18 blocks, giving her the third-best block total in the conference, with an average of 1.6 per game. The quick start is nothing new for the junior, as she is picking up right where she left off last season, when she tallied the second best single-season block total in program history with 47. For her career, she ranks sixth all-time in blocks with 74.
RIGHT ON POINT
Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) scored two points last time out against Canisius, giving her 58 on the young the season. She now has 932 points for her career, which ranks 15th all-time in program history. Her two best offensive outbursts came against No. 21 Maryland and Holy Cross, when she tallied a season-high 11 and 10 points, respectively. The point guard came up in the clutch for the Wildcats against Harvard as she drained the first of two free throws to send the game into overtime tied at 58-58. Simpson led the charge in the overtime period as the Wildcats outscored the Crimson 20-7 to earn the 78-65 victory. Last season she notched a career-high 357 points, averaging 11.5 points per game. In the season prior, she finished with 315 points, with an average of 11.3 points per game.
WELCOME TO THE CLUB
After tallying 18 points and pulling down five rebounds against Louisville on Dec. 22, Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) became just the eleventh Wildcat to score over 1,000 points and compile 500 rebounds in program history. For her career she has compiled 1,019 points and 559 rebounds. The last 'Cat to achieve the feat was Danielle Clark in 2007, who finished her UNH career with 1,331 points and 579 rebounds. 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.
Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) tallied a steal against Canisius on Dec. 28, giving her 109 steals for her Wildcat career. The impressive total ranks 23rd 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 16 steals, averaging 1.5 per game.
DOING THE DISHES
Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) has stepped up in her new role as point guard this season, notching the second-best assist total in the conference with 60 through the first 11 games this year. Against Louisville on Dec. 22, she tallied her second best assist total of the season, dishing out eight assists for the second time this year. In the game prior, she tied a career-high with 11 assists against Holy Cross College on Dec. 20. The last time she reached the 11-assist mark came against UMBC on Feb. 2, 2008. For her career, Simpson has tallied 266 assists, ranking her 11th all-time in program history. To break into the top-10 all-time, Simpson needs just 23 assists, which at her current pace should be attained in five games. Simpson has been stellar across the board for the ‘Cats this year, averaging 5.3 points, 5.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game.
Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) netted 12 points against Canisius on Dec. 28, making it the 14th time in the last 17 games dating back to last year she has scored in double-figures. In the game prior against Louisville on Dec. 22, she notched a season-high 18 points for the third time this year. Her two other 18-point outings came in back-to-back efforts against Quinnipiac (Nov. 29) and Harvard (Nov. 24). During the 17 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.
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.
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.) scored a team-high 12 points and pulled in 11 rebounds, propelling the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team to a 42-40 victory over Canisius College, Monday night at the Koessler Athletic Center.
With the win, the Wildcats improve to 5-6 on the season, while the Golden Griffins fall to 5-6, marking their fourth straight loss.
The early portion of the first half featured a back-and-forth battle, with each team exchanging baskets for the first 12 minutes of the stanza, until Canisius grabbed a slight edge with a 3-pointer by Tasia Lee, putting the Griffs up 12-11 at 10:45.
Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.) responded with a trifecta at 8:01, giving the Wildcats a 14-12 lead. UNH would follow the basket, holding the Golden Griffins scoreless for the next four minutes of play, until Brittane Russell converted a 3-point play at the four minute mark, putting the home team up 15-14.
Racheal Fowler (Glassboro, N.J.) helped the Wildcats get back on track, ending nearly a five minute scoring drought as she put the ball on the floor and powered her way to basket for a layup off the glass, giving UNH the 16-15 edge with 3:09 remaining.
Moments later, Canisius would strike back as Lee knocked down a jumper to regain the lead, setting the score at 17-16 with 1:40 remaining. New Hampshire closed out the half with three unanswered points, as Williams scored a layup and Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) knocked one of two free throw attempts, putting the ‘Cats up 19-17 at the intermission.
Canisius got off to a quick start in the second frame, as a 3-pointer by Lee and the second of two free throw attempts by Melissa Gardner knotted the score at 21-21 with 15:42 remaining.
Williams answered quickly with a jumper and a layup in just over a minute span, putting the ‘Cats up 25-21. However, the Griffs once again fought back to even the score, as a pair of free throws by Ashley Durham and a jumper by Lee, set the score at 25-25 with 12:40 remaining.
On the ensuing possession, Wells helped kick off a 5-0 run as she drilled a 3-pointer and Williams dropped in a pair of free throws, giving New Hampshire the 30-25 edge with 11:19 remaining.
The Golden Griffins responded with a 7-2 run that lasted nearly two minutes, as Lee capped off the scoring stretch with a layup at 9:15. The Wildcats came back strong, scoring five unanswered points, as Cari Reed (Oswego, N.Y.) finished off the run, stealing the ball under the basket and putting up a quick turnaround layup, giving UNH its largest lead of the game, with a 37-32 lead with 7:43 remaining.
The Golden Griffins came back posting a 6-0 run, as Russell got things started finding the bottom of the net with a layup at 6:44. Canisius would polish off the stretch with layups from Ellie Radke and Allison Braun on ensuing possessions, giving the home team its first lead of the half, pushing ahead 38-37.
Following the run, Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) layed the ball in to end the stretch and reclaim the lead with score 39-38 with 4:38 remaining.
For nearly the next four minutes of the action neither team could find the bottom of nets, until Russell hit Lee with a pass down court that set up a fast break layup with 43 seconds remaining, giving the home team a 40-39 advantage.
Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) would help answer the call on the next trip down the floor, as she found a wide open McDonald under the basket for a layup, taking the lead for good, with the score 41-40.
Williams made the final stop after the change of possession, intercepting a pass with ten seconds remaining to preserve the win for New Hampshire. Beliveau would knock down a free throw attempt with seven seconds remaining finalizing the score at 42-40.
The Wildcats shot 34 percent for the game, while forcing Canisius to shoot just 26.7 percent from the floor. Canisius' shooting clip is the lowest percentage the Wildcats have allowed as a defense this season.
McDonald tallied eight points, four rebounds, an assist and a block on the night. Beliveau added seven points, four boards and two steals.
As for Canisius, Russell scored 13 points, tallied four rebounds, four assists and three steals. Lee led the Golden Griffins with 14 points and also chipped in with three rebounds and three steals.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) a senior guard on the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team, was honored as Player of the Week by the America East Conference on Dec. 21.
Simpson recorded 10 points and a career-high 11 assists to propel the Wildcats to an 80-72 victory Sunday afternoon against Holy Cross at Lundholm Gymnasium. Simpson also recorded two steals, two blocks, two rebounds and was one of five Wildcats in double digit scoring in the contest.
After trailing 37-33 at the half, Simpson ignited the ‘Cats with 15:37 remaining, sparking a 10-0 run by setting up Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) with a layup and scoring a basket of her own on ensuing possessions in a span of 2:37 to take a 49-39 lead. She then helped UNH build its largest lead of the game with a steal and a long outlet pass to Racheal Fowler (Glassboro, N.J.) for a layup, capped off with a 3-pointer by Simpson on the next possession to push the score to 71-56 in favor of the home team.
Scoring all of her 10 points in the second frame, Simpson helped the Wildcats outscore the Crusaders 47 to 35 in the stanza, as the team posted an impressive .615 percent shooting clip from the floor. Not to mention, the 80-point output by the ‘Cats is the largest point total posted by New Hampshire since it notched 85 points against UMBC on Jan. 10, 2009.
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.
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SET TO FACE NO. 23 SYRACUSE ON DEC. 30