Women’s Basketball Hosts Hartford in AE Home Opener Thursday (7 p.m.)

GAME NOTES

DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire women's basketball team looks to pick up its first conference win of the season, as it plays host to reigning America East champion University of Hartford on Jan. 5 (7 p.m.) at Lundholm Gymnasium. Links to live stats, audio and video will be available at unhwildcats.com.

THE MATCHUP

Thursday's matchup between UNH and Hartford will be the 56th meeting all-time between the two programs. New Hampshire is looking to snap an 18-game drought against Hartford, the longest stretch without a win against any Wildcat opponent. The last New Hampshire victory against the Hawks came during the 2002-03 season when the Wildcats swept the series. In that season, the Wildcats earned a 56-53 road victory before grabbing a 60-50 home win. The Wildcats earned victories in seven of the first eight meetings with the Hawks.

SCOUTING HARTFORD (9-6, 0-1 AE):

The University of Hartford women's basketball team dropped its conference opener against Albany, 40-37, Monday evening … The Hawks, last year's America East champions, now stand at 9-6 overall and 0-1 in league play … The loss to Albany also marked the first time the Hawks lost at home this season … Shanise Bultron came off the bench to score 10 points, the only player on the game to hit the double-figure mark … Daphne Elliott finished with nine points … Neither team shot well for the game with the Great Danes leading the two teams with a 16-of-50 effort (32 percent), while Hartford finished with a 25 percent shooting effort on 11-of-44 … Six of the Hawks' 11 baskets came from beyond the arc … Ruthane Doherty ranks fifth in scoring (13.5) and 10th in rebounding (6.6) … Nikkia Smith ranks third in field goal percentage at 46.0 percent … As a team, Hartford leads the league in field goal percentage (38.0) and 3-point percentage defense (25.9).

SCOUTING NEW HAMPSHIRE (7-6, 0-0 AE):

The University of New Hampshire women's basketball team fell to UMBC, 67-65, Monday evening in the conference opener … The Wildcats stand at 7-6 on the season … Denise Beliveau recorded 17 points and a season-high 16 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the season as she shot 8-of-8 at the charity stripe … Morgan Frame led the way offensively with a game-high 23 points, finishing 8-of-10 from the floor and 7-of-7 at the free throw line … As a team, the Wildcats shot 39.6 percent (21-53) from the field and 94.7 percent (18-19) from the charity stripe … UNH held a 10-point lead with 5:48 left in the game, but the Retrievers scored 13 straight for the late lead and eventual victory … Beliveau ranks seventh in scoring (13.1) and second in both rebounding (9.0) and free throw percentage (90.7) … She also leads the league with six double-doubles on the season … Hogan is the most efficient 3-point shooter in the league, clocking in at 45.5 percent from beyond the arc … As a team, UNH leads the conference in 3-point field goal percentage (35.5) and rebounding defense (35.2), and ranks second in scoring at 58.5 points per game.

THE COACHES

Head Coach Maureen Magarity is back for her second season as head coach of the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team. Last season, Magarity led UNH to a 6-10 conference record - twice as many wins as the year before - and a trip to the America East tournament before the Wildcats fell to Binghamton in the quarterfinals. Magarity was named the sixth head coach in the history of the program on May 18, 2010 and the youngest coach of a Division I team – men's or women's – in the country.

Head coach Jennifer Rizzotti returns for her 13th season at the helm of the Hartford women's basketball team. In 12 years as head coach, Rizzotti has won four regular season championships over the past six years, in addition to five tournament championships appearances in nine years and six trips to the NCAA Tournament. Rizzotti, a three-time America East Coach of the Year, led the 2010-11 Hawks to the program's fifth America East Championship and sixth NCAA Tournament appearance.

DYNAMIC DUO

The tandem of Denise Beliveau and Morgan Frame is shaping up to be one of the top power combinations in the conference, averaging 35.8 points per game since Frame entered the lineup five games ago which accounts for more than half the team's points in that span. Additionally, the duo is averaging a combined 17.8 rebounds per game in the five-game stretch. For their efforts across the conference landscape, the pair owns back-to-back America East Player of the Week awards, as Frame won on Dec. 26 and Beliveau on Jan. 2.

SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE

The winner of Thursday's contest might very well be determined beyond the 3-point line. New Hampshire leads the conference in 3-point field goal percentage (34.5, 68-197), while Hartford ranks first in 3-point field goal percentage defense (25.9, 53-205).

SWEET CHARITY

UNH shot a near-perfect 18-of-19 at the free throw line at UMBC, led by Denise Beliveau (8-8) and Morgan Frame (7-7). Beliveau ranks second in the conference in free throw shooting percentage this season, shooting 39-of-43 (90.7) at the charity stripe. As a team, the Wildcats rank second in the league at 71.7 percent, trailing only UMBC (73.1).

CRASHING THE BOARDS

Denise Beliveau grabbed a season-best 16 rebounds at UMBC, marking the most by a Wildcat this season and second-most in the league. Beliveau ranks second in the America East in rebounding with 9.0 boards per contest and leads the league in defensive rebounds (6.3). As a team, the Wildcats are 7-1 when they pull down more rebounds than the opposition and currently lead the conference in defensive boards (35.2). 

RISING TO THE (CYCLONE) CHALLENGE

Denise Beliveau enjoyed her trip to Ames, Iowa as the senior averaged 18 points and 7.5 rebounds per game at the Iowa State Cyclone Challenge. In the consolation game against NJIT, Beliveau poured in a season-high 24 points and added a game-high 12 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season. The senior was highly efficient from the floor as she shot 8-of-14 from the field and 3-of-4 from long range. Her sharpshooting efforts fueled the Wildcats to a victory as she halted a 13-2 NJIT run with eight straight points, including back-to-back 3-pointers, to put UNH back in contention after an early deficit. Beliveau also logged double-digits in the opener against Big-12-foe Iowa State as she chipped in 12 points and added four steals, en route to All-Tournament Team and America East Player of the Week honors.

STARTING STRONG

The UNH starting five accounted for all but two of the team's 79 points in the win over NJIT on Dec. 30. Denise Beliveau led the way with 24 points, while Morgan Frame (20), Kelsey Hogan (13) and Abigail LaRosa (11) also reach double-figures. Cari Reed just missed the mark with nine points and also dished out a career-best seven assists. In all, the team's 79 total points mark the highest scoring output of the season.

SETTING NEW MARKS

Kelley Flynn recorded season highs of 10 points, six rebounds and four blocks at Iowa State in the opening round of the Cyclone Challenge (Dec. 29). The double-digit mark was Flynn's highest scoring output since the season-opener at Brown when she notched 8 points.  

FRAMEWORK

Morgan Frame, a junior transfer from St. Anselm's College, erupted for a career-high 35 points and 12 rebounds at Wagner in just her second career game as a Wildcat. Frame shot 15-for-26 from the floor to pace the Wildcats and fell just one point shy of matching the school record for points in a game, earning America East Player of the Week honors for her efforts. She also collected three steals in 41 minutes off the bench. Frame was instrumental throughout the contest as she scored nearly half of UNH's points in the first stanza (13-of-27) to keep the Wildcats within reach at halftime. She went on to net 18 in the second half and four points in overtime to seal the victory. Frame notched a double-double in each of her first two games since becoming eligible as a mid-year transfer last season and is averaging 21.8 points and 9.0 boards per game this season.

LEADING THE LEAGUE

Only two players have netted 30-point performances in the America East this season, and both belong to New Hampshire. Morgan Frame owns the highest single-game effort in the league with a 35-point outing at Wagner, while Cari Reed represents the other member of the club with a 32-point showing against Harvard. Additionally, Frame's 15 field goals and Reed's eight 3-pointers are also single-game league-best efforts this season. 

CARDIAC 'CATS 

New Hampshire has played its best basketball in close games this season, as the team is a near-perfect 4-1 in games decided by five points or less. UNH downed Wagner, 73-72, in overtime, thanks to a last-second jumper by Denise Beliveau in extra time. Earlier in the season, Kelsey Hogan tipped in a game-winning buzzer-beater to help UNH beat Cornell. In both those contests, Cari Reed kept the Wildcats in the game with a late 3-pointer, including a timely distance shot at Wagner to send the game into overtime.   

MODEL OF EFFICIENCY

New Hampshire shot a season-best 48.8 percent from the field in the team's win over Manhattan on Dec. 9, hitting 20-of-41 from the floor. Denise Beliveau paced the team with a game-high 17 points, shooting a season-best 75 percent from the floor (6-8).  Additionally, the Wildcats were a perfect 13-of-13 from the free throw line, marking the best single-game effort in the conference this season. Kelsey Hogan paced the lineup as she hit all six of her free throws down stretch to ice the victory.

CARI THE LOAD

Junior Cari Reed erupted for 32 points, including a school-record eight 3-pointers, in UNH's home loss to Harvard. The previous school record was six 3-pointers, a mark shared by eight different Wildcats including Reed, while her 32 points are the most in the America East this season and the most by a Wildcat since Maren Matthias dropped 30 points on Dec. 13, 2002. Reed's eight treys rank second all-time in America East play and helped boost her numbers across the board this season. She ranks second in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage (42.4, 25-59), third in 3-point field goals made (2.1), and fifth in field goal percentage (44.1, 45-102).

BELIVEAU NETS 1,000 POINTS 

Denise Beliveau scored a team-high 15 points against Holy Cross, becoming the 16th player in program history to record 1,000 career points. She entered the contest at 999 and achieved the feat with her first basket of the game on a layup at the 18:18 mark of the first half. On that same basket, Beliveau also passed Heidi Plencner on the all-time scoring list and now sits alone in 10th place with 1,112 career tallies.

FROM DOWNTOWN

Sophomore Kelsey Hogan and junior Cari Reed both rank inside the top-five in the America East for 3-point field goal percentage. Hogan leads the league at 45.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc, while Reed ranks third at 42.4 percent. As a team, UNH owns the best 3-point field goal percentage in the conference, shooting 34.5 percent from behind the arc.

FANTASTIC FOUR WILL SCORE

The Wildcats boast four players averaging double-digits is scoring through 13 games this season. Morgan Frame leads the lineup with 21.8 points per game, while Denise Beliveau, Kelsey Hogan and Cari Reed clock in at 13.1, 10.8 and 10.1, respectively.

HOGAN'S HEROES

Sophomore Kelsey Hogan jumped out to a great start this season as she ranks third on the team in scoring with 10.8 points per game, netting double-digit numbers in eight games. A proven player in crunch time situations, Hogan posted 15 points at Cornell, including the game-winning basket with one-tenth of a second left on the clock to secure the, 63-62 victory. In UNH's season-opener at Brown, Hogan erupted for a game-high 17 points, more than she had in any single game last season, shooting 4-of-5 from downtown and also added a career-high nine boards. Hogan went on to best that mark with 10 rebounds against Seton Hall. She ranks first in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage (45.5) and leads the team in minutes played (34.4). 

DOUBLE JEOPARDY 

Denise Beliveau posted 17 points and 16 rebounds at UMBC for her league-leading sixth double-double of the season. She has recorded back-to-back double-doubles after a 24-point, 12-rebound performance against NJIT. Beliveau is no stranger to the accomplishment as she posted a conference-best 11 double-doubles last season.

ALL-AROUND EFFORT

Denise Beliveau netted 17 points against UMBC, scoring in double-figures for the third straight contest. She now has scored in double-figures in 10 out of 13 games this season. Beliveau ranks near the top of the America East in several statistical categories, including first in defensive rebounds (6.3), second in rebounding (9.0) and seventh in scoring (13.1).

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