WOMEN'S BASKETBALL KICKS OFF DEC. 20 DOUBLEHEADER VERSUS HOLY CROSS

(GAME NOTES)

THE MATCHUP
    Sunday's matchup marks the 19th meeting all-time between New Hampshire and Holy Cross College. The Crusaders hold a 12-6 record in the series, with their most recent victory coming in a 87-60 decision on Nov. 21, 2000 at the Hart Center. UNH's first matchup against Holy Cross came on Feb. 15, 1983, which resulted in a 69-57 Wildcat victory. In the last five meetings between the two squads, Holy Cross has a 4-1 record against New Hampshire. However, the Wildcats controlled the series in the first five meetings, posting a 4-1 record, including four straight wins.

SCOUTING HOLY CROSS (3-7):
    In Holy Cross' last outing, the Crusaders fell to the University of Vermont, 78-56, on Dec. 7 ... Courtnay Pilypaitis and May Kotsopoulos combined for 47 points in the contest, leading the way for the Catamounts ... With the loss, Holy Cross fell to 3-7 on the season, while Vermont improved to 6-1 ... Briana McFadden led the Crusaders with a team-high 15 points and eight rebounds ... Holy Cross started out the game with a 3-2 lead, but that wouldn't last long as Vermont posted a 13-point run, taking a 15-3 lead at 13:24 ... Vermont would continue to shut down Holy Cross, holding the Crusaders to just eight points in the next eight minutes of the action ... In that time, the Catamounts pushed ahead with their largest lead to that point, with a 20-point advantage with 4:44 remaining in the first frame ... Vermont continued to pile on the points in the remainder of the stanza, holding a 43-24 lead at the intermission ... Holy Cross shot 37.5 percent in the half, while Vermont shot 47.1 percent ... The Catamounts continued to stay hot in the second half, pulling ahead by 24 points, capitalizing on three Holy Cross turnovers ... Vermont then posted its largest lead of the game, 66-35, with 8:47 remaining ... Holy Cross was able to cut the lead down to 19 on back-to-back 3-pointers by Bethany O'Dell, however, the deficit was too much to overcome as Vermont held on to win ...  O'Dell and Whitney Fremeau notched 12 and 11 points, respectively in the contest ... O'Dell leads the Crusaders with 14.6 points and 3.1 rebounds per game .. McFadden adds 13.0 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game ... Fremeau has chipped in with 13.0 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.

SCOUTING NEW HAMPSHIRE (3-5):
  Last time out the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team fell to Central Connecticut State University, 60-48, on Dec. 10 at Lundholm Gymnasium ... Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) scored 12 points, tallied six rebounds, two assists and two blocks, earning America East Player of the Game honors for UNH ... The two squads tipped off the action trading baskets, until UNH strung off a 6-0 run, sparked by a McDonald jumper at 11:57 that gave the Wildcats the early 11-10 lead ... New Hampshire capped off the stretch with a pair of jumpers by Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) and McDonald, pushing its lead to five, with the score 15-10 at 10:15 ... CCSU would fire back with a 6-0 run of its own, holding a 16-15 advantage over the ‘Cats ... Emily Rose hit the go-ahead bucket for CCSU on a jumper at the 9-minute mark, giving the Blue Devils their first lead in nearly three minutes ... Kelley Flynn (Hopinkton, N.H.) and Diamon Beckford (Philadelphia, Pa.) answered the call for the Wildcats, scoring back-to-back baskets pushing the score to 20-16 with 6:28 remaining ... The Blue Devils were once again quick to respond, as Alexzandria Dowdy rebuttaled with a 3-pointer of her own on the ensuing possession, sparking a 6-1 run, giving CCSU a 24-22 lead with 3:08 remaining ... However, UNH would enter the half up 33-29 after Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass) nailed a trifecta at the buzzer to close out the stanza ... The Blue Devils kicked off the second half with back-to-back 3-pointers on ensuing possessions, giving the visitors the 35-33 advantage with 18:46 remaining ... The quick start would be a tale of things to come for CCSU, as they closed out the game with a 17-6 run that built its lead up to 12 and proved to be too much of a burden for New Hampshire to overcome ... Beliveau added six points, seven boards, three assists and two steals in the loss ... Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.) chipped in with five points, five assists and four rebounds ... In UNH's previous outing, the Wildcats fell short against St. Peter's College, 66-47, on Dec. 5 at the Yanitelli Center ...  The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Peahens, moving them to 2-3 on the season, while the Wildcats fell to 3-4 ... Williams and Beliveau led the Wildcats with 15 and 12 points, respectively ... The first five minutes of the action opened with both teams trading blows, as a basket by Denise Beliveau at 10:55, knotted the action at 7-7 with 15:55 remaining ... Following the stretch, the two squads would continue to trade baskets, until UNH pulled ahead with its largest lead of the game on a basket by Williams at 11:16 set the score at 17-14 ...  The two squads battled back and forth for the next six minutes of play, in a stretch that featured three ties and six lead changes ... The Peahens would catch fire late in the stanza, as a pair of free throws by Jessica Coles at 5:03 sparked a 14-3 run to close out the half, giving the home team a 37-27 advantage at the intermission ... Midway through the second frame, the Peahens strung off a 14-2 run that lasted nearly seven minutes, building their largest lead of the contest, with a 55-35 advantage at 10:31 ... Beliveau snapped the scoring stretch, knocking down three free throws in a one-minute span, to kick off a 9-4 New Hampshire run ... Williams capped off the stretch with a 3-pointer and a jumper on back-to-back possessions, cutting the Peahens' lead down to 15, setting the score at 59-44 with 4:53 remaining ... For New Hampshire, the run was too little too late, as St. Peter's would once again pick up the pieces with five unanswered points, pushing its lead back up to 20, while holding UNH to just three points in the final four minutes of play to preserve the win

NOW BOARDING
    Kelley Flynn (Hopkinton, N.H.) has pulled in 11 rebounds in 14 minutes of action in the last two games for the 'Cats. In her most recent outing, she ripped down five boards, scored four points and tallied a block and a steal against Central Connecticut State on Dec. 10. She was just as effective in the game prior against St. Peter's, pulling down a season-high six rebounds against the Peahens. On the season, she is averaging 1.9 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.

SPREADING THE FLOOR
    The Wildcats currently have three players averaging in double-figure scoring, with Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) leading the way with 12.4 points per game, while Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) and Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) are averaging 11.9 and 10.1 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. For Beliveau, it was the sixth time this season she has tallied multiple steals in a game. She currently leads the team with 18 steals and ranks fourth in the conference with an average of 2.3 steals per game.

SHE'S HEATING UP
    Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) finished with 14 points, a career-high 14 boards and two blocks to lead the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team to a 78-65 overtime victory over Harvard University on Nov. 24 at Lundholm Gymnasium. Beliveau followed that performance by tallying 13 points, seven rebounds and two assists against Quinnipiac on Nov. 29, finishing as one of only two Wildcats in double-figure scoring. Most recently, she notched six points, pulled down seven boards and tallied three assists against Central Connecticut State on Dec. 10. Beliveau has scored in double-figures in five of the last six games and has compiled at least six rebounds in the last five games. On the season, the sophomore forward is averaging 12.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 1.3 assists per game. In addition, her 5.8 defensive rebounds per game, rank second in the America East Conference.

3-POINT PARADE
    Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) knocked down a 3-pointer in Thursday's game against Central Connecticut State, giving her 170 3-point field goals for her career. The impressive total ranks second all-time in program history, nine field goals shy of Heidi Plencner's all-time mark of 179. This season, Simpson has drilled nine trifectas, averaging 5.1 points per game. Last year, she notched 62 3-pointers, which was the best single-season mark in program history.

BLOCK PARTY
    Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) tallied two blocks against CCSU on Thursday, giving her the fifth-best block total in the conference with 11 to kick off the season. In the game prior against St. Peter's, she swatted a season-high three shots, giving her a block in each of the last four games. 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 67.

RIGHT ON POINT
    Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) scored seven points last time out against Central Connecticut State, giving her 41 on the young the season. She now has 915 points for her career, which ranks 15th all-time in program history. Her two best offensive outbursts came against No. 21 Maryland and Harvard, when she tallied a season-high 11 and eight 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.

ELITE-11
    After tallying 7 points and pulling down four rebounds against Central Connecticut State on Dec. 10, Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) set herself up to join some elite company. With 974 points and 535 rebounds in her UNH career, Williams is on pace to become just the eleventh Wildcat to score over 1,000 points and compile 500 rebounds in program history. The last 'Cat to achieve the feat was Danielle Clark in 2007, who scored 1,331 points and tallied 579 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.

CENTURY CLUB
    Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) tallied one steal against Central Connecticut State on Dec. 10, giving her 104 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 11 steals, averaging 1.1 per game.

DEFENSIVE SPECIALISTS
     So far this season the Wildcats have been playing stellar defense against some impressive company. They have held opponents to a conference-best .326 shooting percentage from the floor this year, while shooting an impressive .364 clip themselves. The fresh start comes against an  A-10 (St. Joseph's, UMass), an ACC (Maryland) and a Big East (Seton Hall) program, following a season in which opponents shot .404 from the field against the ‘Cats. 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.

DOING THE DISHES
    Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) has stepped up in her new role as point guard this season, notching the third-best assist total in the conference with 38 through the first eight games this year. Against Seton Hall on Dec. 3, she dished out her second best total of the season, tallying seven assists. Against Harvard on Nov. 24, she tallied a season-high eight assists. On the season, she is averaging 4.8 assists per game. For her career, Simpson has tallied 244 assists, ranking her 12th all-time in program history. To break into the top-10 all-time, Simpson needs just 45 assists, which at her current pace should be attained in 10 games. Simpson has been stellar across the board for the 'Cats this year, averaging 5.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.4 steals per game. In her most recent action against Central Connecticut State, she finished with seven points, two assists, one steal and one block.    

DIAMON IN THE ROUGH
    Diamon Beckford (Philadelphia, Pa.) scored a career-high eight points and pulled down five rebounds against Harvard on Nov. 24. The solid production has been nothing new this season for the freshman sensation, as she notched three points, six rebounds and two steals against St. Peter's College on Saturday. Against UMass on Nov. 20, she tallied six points, five boards and two steals. 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 4.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.

CONSISTENT 'CAT
    Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) netted 15 points against St. Peter's College on Dec. 5, making it the eleventh time in the last 14 games dating back to last year she has scored in double-figures. Her most stellar outings this season have came when she posted a season-high 18 points in back-to-back efforts against Quinnipiac (Nov. 29) and Harvard (Nov. 24). During the 14 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.

DOUBLE-DOUBLE TROUBLE
    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. 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.

TRIPLE THREAT
    In UNH's 78-65 overtime victory over Harvard on Nov. 24, three Wildcats scored in double-figures for the third time in a four game stretch. 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.

CAREER STRETCH
    Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) poured in a career-high 17 points for the second time this season against Seton Hall on Dec. 3. Her previous 17-point output came against Harvard University on Nov. 24, when she lead the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team to a 78-65 overtime victory at Lundholm Gymnasium. In addition to her 17 points, McDonald finished the night with seven boards and a career-high three assists. Against UMass on Nov. 20, 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. In the last six games, McDonald is averaging 11.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. She has also tallied block in each of the last five games.  On the season, she ranks second in the conference in field goal percentage with a .515 shooting clip.

A-10 SPECIAL
    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.

KC MASTERPIECE
    The Wildcats improved to 3-1 on the season with their 78-65 win over Harvard on Nov. 24, 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. Last season, the 'Cats won two games in non-conference, however, finished the season with a 6-10 record in conference play, rounding out the year with a 8-23 record.

PICTURE PERFECT
    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 12 points and pulled in six rebounds, but it was not enough, as the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team fell to Central Connecticut State University, 60-48, Thursday night at Lundholm Gymnasium.
    With the win, the Blue Devils snap a two game losing streak and improve to 3-5 and 0-1 in Northeast Conference play. As for the Wildcats, they fall to 3-5 on the young season.
    The two squads tipped off the action trading baskets, until UNH strung off a 6-0 run, sparked by a McDonald jumper at 11:57 that gave the Wildcats the early 11-10 lead. New Hampshire capped off the stretch with a pair of jumpers by Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) and McDonald, pushing its lead to five, with the score 15-10 at 10:15.
    Despite the lead, CCSU would fire back with a 6-0 run of its own, holding a 16-15 advantage over the ‘Cats. Emily Rose hit the go-ahead bucket for CCSU on a jumper at the 9-minute mark, giving the Blue Devils their first lead in nearly three minutes.
    Kelley Flynn (Hopinkton, N.H.) answered the call for the Wildcats, as she layed the ball in to end the run with 8:10 remaining. Diamon Beckford (Philadelphia, Pa.) added insult to injury moments later, as she drilled a 3-pointer to extend UNH's lead to four, pushing the score to 20-16 with 6:28 remaining.
    The Blue Devils were once again quick to respond, as Alexzandria Dowdy rebuttaled with a 3-pointer of her own on the ensuing possession, sparking a 6-1 run, giving CCSU a 24-22 lead with 3:08 remaining.
    Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.) responded by knocking down a trifecta next trip down the floor, reclaiming the lead, as the ‘Cats pushed ahead 25-24 with 2:51 remaining.
    Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass) added to the mix moments later as she scored three points the old-fashioned-way, taking back the four-point lead with 1:47 remaining.
    Despite the flurry of scoring, CCSU was quick to the draw, as Justina Udenze knocked down the first of two free throws and Gabrielle Oglesby nailed a jumper on back-to-back possessions, cutting UNH's lead down to one, with the score 28-27.
    McDonald would quickly answer with jumper on the next trip down the floor, giving UNH a three-point advantage. Oglesby knocked down a pair of free throws on the ensuing possession, cutting the lead back down to one with 0:32 remaining. However, Beliveau drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to put the ‘Cats up 33-29 at the intermission.
    The Blue Devils kicked off the second stanza with back-to-back 3-pointers on ensuing possessions, giving the visitors the 35-33 advantage with 18:46 remaining. Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) responded to the run with a midrange jumper, knotting up the action at 35-35 apiece.
    Despite the basket, CCSU kept up the pace in the moments that followed, posting an 8-1 run, earning its largest lead to that point, with a 43-36 advantage at 15:28.
    New Hampshire picked up the pieces following the stretch, stringing off a 6-0 run, capped off with a layup by Williams at 11:43, setting the score at 43-42, in favor of the visitors.
    However, the late push by the ‘Cats was not enough to overcome the Blue Devils, as CCSU closed out the action with a 17-6 run that built its lead up to 12 and proved to be too much of a burden for New Hampshire to overcome.
    McDonald earned America East Player of the Game honors for UNH, as she finished with 12 points, six rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Beliveau added six points, seven boards, three assists and two steals. Wells chipped in with five points, five assists and four rebounds.
    Udenze led the Blue Devils with 15 rebounds and 12 rebounds. Oglesby added 10 points and six boards.

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.
    
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.   

 

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