WOMEN'S BASKETBALL KICKS OFF THREE-GAME ROAD TRIP AGAINST QUINNIPIAC (NOV. 29)
Sunday's matchup marks the third meeting all-time between New Hampshire and Quinnipiac. The Bobcats hold a 2-0 record in the series, with their most recent victory coming in a 68-65 decision on Nov. 22, 2004 . UNH's first matchup against Quinnipiac came on Dec. 3, 2003, which resulted in a 82-76 Bobcats win.
SCOUTING QUINNIPIAC (0-2):
Quinnipiac University fell, 84-61, to Providence College at Mullaney Gymnasium Tuesday night ... The loss drops the Bobcats' record to 0-2 on the season, while the Friars improve to 4-0 ... Quinnipiac led early, 8-5, as senior Kathleen Neyens notched five points during the stretch ... The Friars responded with a 12-0 run over a three-minute span midway through the first half ... Providence built its lead up to as much as 13 in the opening stanza, with a 35-22 advantage over the visitors ... Providence picked up right where it left off in the second frame, posting a 17-point lead, 55-38, four and a half minutes into the action ... The Friars continued to pile on the points midway way through the stanza, leading by as many as 26 over the Bobcats ... Providence shot 43.3 percent for the contest, while Quinnipiac connecting on 33.9 percent of its shots ... The Bobcats tallied 44 boards in the game, while the Friars compiled 41 ... Three Quinnipiac players finished the game in double-digit scoring, as Felicia Barron scored 12, while Courtney Kaminski and Jacinda Dunbar added 10 apiece ... Dunbar leads the Bobcats with 11.0 points and 9.5 rebounds per game this season ... Barron has also chipped in for Quinnipiac with 11.0 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.
SCOUTING NEW HAMPSHIRE (3-1):
Last time out the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team defeated Harvard University 78-65 in overtime on Tuesday night at Lundholm Gymnasium.... Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) scored a career-high 17 points all in the second half and in overtime to lead the 'Cats to victory ... The Wildcats laced the nets for a 20-5 run to start the game ... UNH posted a 12-2 run to kick off overtime, shooting 80 percent (4-for-5) from the field in the extra frame, on their way to outscoring the Crimson 20-7 in the stanza to secure the victory ... McDonald, who was named America East Player of the Game for UNH, finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and a career-high three assists ... Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) tallied 18 points and eight rebounds, four steals and two assists ... Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) finished with 14 points, a career-high 14 boards and two blocks ... Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) chipped in with eight points, eight assists and two blocks ... Diamon Beckford (Philadelphia, Pa.) notched a career-high eight points and pulled in five rebounds ... In UNH's previous outing, the Wildcats earned their second win of the year against an Atlantic-10 team with a 58-57 victory over UMass on Nov. 20 at Lundholm Gymnasium ... Three Wildcats scored in double-figures, with Williams leading the way with 17 points, while Beliveau and McDonald tallied 15 and 10 points, respectively ... The 'Cats compiled a season-high 13 steals in the contest, on their way to forcing a season-best 27 turnovers ... UNH shot 44 percent (11-25) in the second half, outscoring the Minutewomen 32-22 in the stanza
So far this season the Wildcats have been playing stellar defense against some impressive company. They have held opponents to a .303 shooting percentage from the floor this year, while shooting an impressive .373 clip themselves. The fresh start comes against two A-10 (St. Joseph's, UMass) and one ACC (Maryland) program, following a season in which opponents shot .404 from the field against the ‘Cats. In their most recent action against 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.
DIAMON IN THE ROUGH
Diamon Beckford (Philadelphia, Pa.) scored a career-high eight points and pulled down five rebounds against Harvard on Tuesday night. 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 6.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
EVERYTHING BUT THE KITCHEN SINK
Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) tallied a season-high eight assists against Harvard on Tuesday night. For the 2-guard turned point guard, Simpson has stepped up in her new role, notching 23 assists through the first four games this season. However, setting up her teammates is nothing new for multi-tooled guard, as she has has averaged 5.7 assists per game in her last seven games dating back to last year. In that span she set a career-high in assists with 11 against Binghamton on March 4, 2009. Simpson has been stellar across the board for the 'Cats this year, averaging 5.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game.
Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) netted a season-high 18 points against Harvard on Tuesday night. For the senior, it was the ninth time in the last 10 games she has scored in double-figures. In her previous double-digit effort, she poured in 17 points in UNH's 58-57 win over UMass on Nov. 20 at Lundholm Gymnasium. During the nine 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 Tuesday's 78-65 overtime victory over Harvard, three Wildcats scored in double-figures for the third time in the last four games. 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.) scored a career-high 17 points all in the second half and in overtime to lead the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team to a 78-65 overtime victory over Harvard University on Tuesday night at Lundholm Gymnasium. In addition to her 17 points, McDonald finished the night with seven boards and a career-high three assists. Prior to Tuesday's game against Harvard, 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. During the two game span, McDonald is averaging 13.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.
Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) notched her first double-double of the season on Tuesday night 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 THE CLUTCH
With Tuesday's 78-65 overtime victory over Harvard University, 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.
After pouring in 18 points and ripping down eight rebounds in Tuesday's 78-65 ovetime win over Harvard, Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) set herself up to join some elite company. With 929 points and 508 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.
The Wildcats improved to 3-1 on the season with Tuesday's 78-65 win over Harvard, 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.) scored a career-high 17 points all in the second half and in overtime to lead the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team to a 78-65 overtime victory over Harvard University on Tuesday night at Lundholm Gymnasium.
With the win, the Wildcats improve to 3-1 on the season, their best start since the 2005-06 campaign, when the ‘Cats won three straight games to start the year 3-1. As for the Crimson, they drop their second straight game, falling to 2-2 on the young season.
For New Hampshire, the win comes as its largest margin of victory in overtime in program history. It is also UNH's first victory against Harvard since Dec. 29, 1999, when the Wildcats defeated the Crimson 70-58 at Lundholm Gymnasium. 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.
UNH kicked off the action playing stingy defense against the Crimson, holding the visitors scoreless for the first 5:16 of the action and not allowing a field goal until the 8:44 mark, when Emma Markley drained a jumper to make the score 15-5 in favor of the home team.
Offensively the ‘Cats were just as tenacious, lacing the nets for a 20-5 run to start the game, as Diamon Beckford (Philadelphia, Pa.) knocked down a pair of free throws to cap off the run with 6:49 remaining in the first half. Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) kicked off the run for New Hampshire with layup at 17:31, on her way to pouring in 11 points during the stretch.
Elle Hagedorn ended the run with a layup with 6:31 remaining, as she sparked a stretch in which the Crimson scored seven unanswered points, with the score set at 20-10 in favor of UNH with 4:44 remaining in the first half.
Jilliane Friel (Durham, N.H.) answered the call for the Wildcats as she drained a pair of 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions, building UNH's lead back up to 14 points with score 26-12 with 3:36 remaining.
Following Friel's pair of treys, the two squads would trade baskets for the remainder of the stanza, with UNH holding a 29-20 lead at intermission.
The start of the second half was much the same for both teams, as the two went back and forth with one another in the early going with UNH holding a lead no larger than 12 points in the first ten minutes of the half.
The Crimson would catch fire just past the midway point, as Christine Matera drained a trifecta to spark a 14-4 run that would knot up the action at 53-53 with 3:57 remaining.
McDonald would score a bucket on UNH's next trip down the floor to put the Wildcats back out in front 55-53. However, the basket wasn't enough to silence the Crimson, as they continued their hot shooting as Brogan Berry knocked down a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to give Harvard its first lead of the game, with the score 56-55 with 3:17 remaining.
Next trip down Beckford nailed a pair of free throws, to give the ‘Cats the lead once again with score set at 57-56. After nearly one minute of scoreless play, the Crimson responded, as Emma Markley layed the ball with 1:00 remaining to put the visitors up 58-57.
The Wildcats had one last chance to put the Crimson away for good as Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) drove along the baseline in the final seconds of regulation in an attempt to score the game-winner, but was fouled by Christine Matera and sent to the line for a pair of free throws with 0:03 remaining. Simpson drained the first of two free throws, sending the game into overtime tied at 58-58.
The Wildcats made quick work of the Crimson at the start of the overtime period as Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) and Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.) drained back-to-back 3-pointers on ensuing possessions to put the ‘Cats up 64-58 with 3:39 remaining.
New Hampshire's quick start was a forecast of things to come, as the Wildcats posted a 12-2 run to kick off overtime. The hot shooting didn't stop there, as the ‘Cats shot 80 percent (4-for-5) from the field in overtime, on their way to outscoring the Crimson 20-7 in the stanza to secure the victory.
McDonald, who was named America East Player of the Game for UNH, finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and a career-high three assists. Williams tallied 18 points and eight rebounds, four steals and two assists. Beliveau finished with 14 points, a career-high 14 boards and two blocks.
Simpson chipped in with eight points, eight assists and two blocks. Beckford notched a career-high eight points and pulled in five rebounds.
As for the Crimson, Emma Markely finished with 21 points, seven rebounds and two steals. Brogan Berry and Victoria Lippert chipped in with 15 and 13 points, respectively.
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.