DURHAM, N.H. - In a rivalry that dates back to the first varsity season at UNH, the teams reunited last year after a 13-season hiatus. From 1986-89, the two teams were both part of the Seaboard Conference. Nowadays you can find the Blue Devils in the Northeast Conferenece.

    New Hampshire welcomed Head Coach Kristin Cole during the offseason as the program’s fifth head coach. A highlight of the 2006-07 season was the emergence of Amy Simpson, an all-rookie last year. Simpson started all 27 games and averaged 7.0 points per game. With 7.3 ppg, senior Ashley Cerniglia is the Wildcats’ top returning scorer, while junior Danielle Flowers was an 18-game starter a year ago. The Wildcats, who finished tied for ninth in the conference last season, were selected ninth in the America East preseason coaches’ poll.

    Central Connecticut was picked to finish in a tie for 10th in the 2007-08 Northeast Conference Women’s Basketball Preseason Coaches’ Poll. CCSU welcomes back seven players from last season’s team.  Led by captains P.J. Wade and Jhanay Harris, the corps of returnees will join six newcomers on the roster.  Wade, a sophomore, is the team’s top returning scorer and rebounder  as she averaged 6.4 points and 2.9 rebounds per game in a NEC All-Rookie Team season.  Harris, a junior, is a second-year captain who was a conference all-rookie honoree as a freshman. The Blue Devils opened up the season at Virginia Commonwealth this past Friday.

     The University of New Hampshire women’s basketball team embarks on a new era this upcoming season, as Kristin Cole becomes the fifth head coach in the history of the program. With a majority of the squad being underclassmen, the Wildcats will look to their young athletes for emerging talent, as they found in 2007 America East All-Rookie Team member Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) last season.

Back Court
     Senior guard Ashley Cerniglia (Pittsford, N.Y.) will be the leader in the backcourt as the lone senior will serve as a captain to the 2007-08 squad. Cerniglia returns after playing only 14 games last season. Though the junior guard  missed the majority of the season due to a lingering injury, she finished the season third on the squad in points, averaging 7.3 per game. By sinking a career-high five 3-pointers verses Boston University, Cerniglia was able to jump into the top 10 on UNH’s all-time career 3-pointers made list with 79 (ninth place).     
     Simpson enjoyed a fine start to her collegiate career last season, starting in all but two games as a freshman. Her first season with the Wildcats was highlighted by a 21-point effort during the final game of the regular season against Binghamton. She drained six of her nine 3-point attempts, four of which came during the first half. The dangerous 3-point threat nailed 45 on the season, which is sixth most by a UNH player in a single season and climbed onto UNH’s career list for 3-pointers made (17th). 
     Sophomore guard Jenny McDade (Derry, N.H.) played in 24 games last season for the Wildcats and showed her potential as a scoring and rebounding threat. McDade shined against tough competition, putting up a career-high eight points versus Dartmouth and a career-best four rebounds against Maine.  Althena Gaines (Glassboro, N.J.) looks to emerge at the guard position this season after a medical redshirt freshman year.

Front Court
     Junior captain Danielle Flowers (Chalfont, Pa.) will bring experience to a young squad of post players. The 6-1 forward saw action in every game last season, starting  more than half of them. She posted double-digit point totals seven times last season, including a career-high 17 points against Stony Brook. Flowers was named to the Lady Luck Classic All-Tournament Team after posting 13 points to help lift the Wildcats past Winston-Salem State.
     Chrissy Hall (Northbridge, Mass.) and Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) will both help to solidify the front court. Hall saw action in 16 games, including six starts and as she got more comfortable in the lineup her game improved. She thrived against tough competition, leading the team in scoring in the Wildcats' win against Maine with a career-high 12 points and posted 12 again versus Albany at the America East Championships. Hall also led the Wildcats in rebounding, pulling down a career-best eight boards against a strong Vermont team. Williams showed strong scoring potential from both  inside and the outside perimeter last season. She posted a career-best 13 points in the Wildcats' win over Winston-Salem State at the Lady Luck Classic. Williams notched 13 again at Vermont, draining two three-pointers within the last minute of play.
     Sophomore center Racheal Fowler (Glassboro, N.J.) also showed tremendous growth as she was named the team’s Most Improved Player at UNH’s annual awards banquet. Fowler began the season seeing limited playing time, however, she found herself as a regular part of the lineup during the second half, earning a start in the last regular season game versus Binghamton. She had career performances in both Albany games, posting five points and collecting four rebounds at home, followed by a career-high six points at Albany. Fowler pulled down a team-high five defensive rebounds en route to a career-high eight boards at Stony Brook. She finished with a field goal percentage of .419 (13-31), which ranked third on the Wildcats' squad.

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