DURHAM, N.H. – Reaching the conference semifinals for the first time since 2005, the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team looks to exceed last year's success, compete for an America East championship and earn its first NCAA appearance in program history.
Statistically, UNH returns three of its five starters including two that appeared in all 30 games. Additionally, New Hampshire welcomes back two of its top four scorers and rebounders, its second best 3-point and free throw shooter and two of their top three assist leaders.
The Wildcats lost two of their statistical leaders this season due to graduation. One of the graduates is forward Morgan Frame, who ranked amongst the top 10 in conference scoring (10.8 points per game) and rebounding (7.0 rebounds per game). Furthermore, the 2012-13 America East Second Team selection boasted the highest field goal percentage (.412) and second highest point total per game (10.8) on the squad. Fellow Second Team All-America East selection Cari Reed is the other departure. Reed paced the 'Cats in scoring, averaging 12.4 ppg. In addition, the guard was the top 3-point shooter, hitting 37 percent of her shots from beyond the arc.
Fourth-year head coach Maureen Magarity welcomes four newcomers to the program as well as returns eight letterwinners from last year's America East semifinalist team.
The 2013-14 Wildcats returns two seniors this season, boasting America East Preseason All-Conference Team selection Kelsey Hogan (Nashua, N.H.) and Sarah-Marie Frankenberger (Gross Gerau, Germany). Hogan returns to the squad for her final season as the captain for a third consecutive season. Playing in 23 games and starting in 22, Hogan averaged 9.8 ppg, ranking third on the team. In addition, the guard hit 33.3 percent of her 3-point attempts, including the 2012-13 America East Moment of the Year buzzer beater in last season's conference quarterfinal over Stony Brook. Serving as the quarterback of the offense, Hogan poses a threat as a passer and a shooter with the ability to drive to the net. Coming back from injury, Frankenberger played in 28 of 30 games and was in the starting lineup eight times as a sophomore in 2011-12. Averaging 2.8 points and 1.4 rebounds during in 2011-12, she positioned herself fifth on the team in field goal percentage and posted a 94.1 free throw percentage.
The largest class of Wildcats, UNH returns four juniors to the team as well as adding a transfer student-athlete. Three of the four juniors played in every game last season for the 'Cats and started in a combined 31 games. Kaylee Kilpatrick (Saint John, New Brunswick) started in 23 games and played every contest last season. The 6-4 forward racked up 32 blocks, averaging one block per contest. Named a co-captain for the 2013-14 season, Kilpatrick was the most efficient shooter from the field, hitting .460 of her shots the previous season. Starting in 18 games last season, guard Ariel Gaston (Toledo, Ohio) will be called upon again to utilize a myriad of backcourt skill sets. Possessing strong ball-handling skills and the ability to run the point, Gaston ranked second in assists (59; 2.0 per game) and steals (26). Furthermore, the guard was ranked fourth in America East in assist/turnover ratio (1.3). Junior guard/forward Stephanie Spoto (Pittsfield, N.Y.) was an option off the bench, playing in all 30 games during the 2012-13 campaign. Unfortunately, due to a preseason injury, she will not be in the lineup for the Wildcats this season. UNH welcomes junior transfer guard Madison Lopez (Albuquerque, N.M.) to the squad this season, coming from Cochise College. Lopez appeared in all 32 games for the Apaches and started in four, averaging 6.8 ppg. The guard will provide depth and versatility at the position. Lopez has the ability to knock down the 3-pointer as well as the ability to play both the inside and outside game.
The Wildcats return two sophomores from last season. Guard Elizabeth Belanger (Acton, Mass) and forward Kendall Martenet (Waukesha, Wis.) combined for 51 games played and 817 minutes played. Belanger, an America East All-Rookie Team selection, appeared in every game and started in 17 to average 5.9 ppg and 3.6 rpg for the Wildcat backcourt. Martenet was a frequent option off the bench, making 21 appearances in 2012-13. The 6-2 forward looks to have an increased role this season after compiling 6.1 minutes per contest. Center Corinne Coia (North Smithfield, R.I.) will make her UNH debut for 2013 after sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer regulations. During her freshman campaign at the University of Rhode Island, Coia played in 27 of 29 games for the Rams, placing third on the team in points (207), field goal percentage (.407) and rebounds (107). Moreover, the 6-4 center is a mobile post player that will provide an immediate impact on the floor this season. Sophomore guard Markey Flewelling (Epping, N.H.) joins the 'Cats after playing for New England College last season; she will sit out this season due to transfer regulations. Flewelling played in 23 of 26 games for the Pilgrims and ranked second on the squad in 3-pointers, hitting 42 shots from long distance.
The Wildcats open the 2013-14 campaign at home against Worcester State on Saturday, Nov. 9. New Hampshire officially begins regular season play at New Jersey Institute of Technology Wednesday, Nov. 13. UNH returns back to Durham on Saturday, Nov. 16 to host Northeastern University. The following week, the 'Cats travel to Central Connecticut State University (Nov. 20) and return to Lundholm Gymnasium to clash with Colgate (Nov. 25). Starting the month of December, the Wildcats visit Bryant University slated for Sunday, Dec. 1. New Hampshire returns home to take on Howard University (Dec. 4) in its first-ever matchup between the two schools. After away contests against Dartmouth College (Dec. 7) and Boston College (Dec. 15), UNH closes out the 2013 calendar year at home against Cleveland State (Dec. 18) and Boston University (Dec. 22). Beginning the 2014 portion of the schedule, the Wildcats close out non-conference play against Ivy League foes at Brown University (Jan. 3) and at home against the Yale University (Jan. 7). New Hampshire begins its America East campaign at Lundholm on Saturday, Jan. 11 against Stony Brook University. Following the match against SBU, the Wildcats visit the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Jan. 15) and the University of Hartford (Jan. 18). After hosting the University of Vermont (Jan. 20), New Hampshire embarks on a season-long three-game road trip against the University at Albany (Jan. 23), the University of Massachusetts Lowell (Jan. 26) and the University of Maine (Jan. 29). Binghamton University concludes the first lap of conference competition in Durham on Sunday, Feb. 2. After hosting UMBC (Feb. 6), New Hampshire travels to New York to compete against Stony Brook (Feb. 9) and Binghamton (Feb. 12). After hosting Hartford (Feb. 16) and traveling to Vermont (Feb. 19), the Wildcats conclude the remaining three games of the regular season at home. UNH will welcome UMass Lowell (Feb. 22), Albany (Feb. 26) and Maine (March 1).