WOMEN'S BASKETBALL OPENS UP CONFERENCE PLAY AGAINST VERMONT ON JAN. 2
Saturday's matchup between New Hampshire and the University of Vermont marks the 63rd meeting between both teams. Vermont leads the all-time series 34-28. The Catamounts have won nine straight against the Wildcats, including their most recent victory, a 57-46 decision in the America East Quarterfinals on Mar. 13, 2009. Despite their recent success against the Wildcats, the Catamounts have struggled playing at Lundholm Gymnasium, with New Hampshire posting a 19-9 record all-time against Vermont in Durham.
SCOUTING UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT (10-2):
The University of Vermont is coming off two wins over Dayton (74-65) and Rhode Island (58-49), capturing the Blue Sky Classic hosted by Dartmouth College on Dec. 29-30 ... The Catamounts have now won five straight road games, posting a 8-1 road record this season ... Tonya Young was named MVP of the tournament, scoring a career-high 25 points in UVM's win over Dayton ... She finished the tournament averaging 17.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, while shooting 61.9 percent from the floor and 75 percent (6-for-8) from 3-point range ... May Kotsopoulos scored a game-high 19 points to lead Vermont past Rhode Island on the final day of the tournament ... Courtnay Pilypaitis posted her third double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds against Rhode Island on Dec. 30 ... For her career, Pilypaitis has now compiled 709 rebounds, a mark which ranks seventh all-time in program history ... Pilypaitis is the first player in America East Women's Basketball and Vermont history to record 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists over the course of a career ... The Catamounts received votes for the seventh straight week in the latest USA Today/ESPN Top-25 Poll, which was released on Dec. 29 ... The last time UVM received votes in the national top 25 poll was during the 1999-00 season, when the Catamounts won the America East Regular Season and Tournament, advancing to the NCAA Tournament ... Kotsopoulos leads the Catamounts with 18.2 points per game this season ... Pilypaitis and Kendra Seto have chipped in with 14.8 and 10.1 points per game, respectively.
SCOUTING NEW HAMPSHIRE (5-7):
Last time out the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team fell short against No. 23 Syracuse University, 58-48, at Manley Field House ... For the Orange, it was their second lowest offensive output this season ... The Wildcats knocked down 10 3-pointers in the contest, marking the first time UNH has achieved the feat since draining 14 trifectas against Colgate on Dec. 5, 2008 ... Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) was named America East Player of the Game for UNH, scoring 18 points, tallying five rebounds, three assists and a steal on the night ... Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) added 12 points, nine rebounds and two steals in the contest ... With her impressive output, she now has 1,031 points and 568 rebounds, totals that rank 12th and 11th, respectively, all-time in program history ... Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) chipped in with six points, three boards and a career-high seven blocks ... McDonald has now tallied a block in each of the last eight games ... She is averaging 4.3 blocks per game over the course of the last three outings ... Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) added six assists in the contest ... She currently ranks second in the conference in assists, with an average of 5.5 per game this season ... The Wildcats currently have three players averaging in double figure scoring, with Williams leading the way with 12.7 points per game, while Beliveau and McDonald are averaging 12.6 and 10.9 points per game ... The last time at least three Wildcats ended the season averaging double-figures in scoring was the 2007-08 campaign, when Simpson averaged 11.3 points, Ashley Cerniglia averaged 10.8 points, Williams averaged 10.5 points and Beliveau averaged 10.0 points per game ... In UNH's previous outing, the Wildcats earned a 42-40 victory over Canisius College on Dec. 28 at the Koessler Athletic Center ... The Wildcats held the Golden Griffins to .267 shooting from the floor, marking the lowest shooting percentage the Wildcats have allowed as a defense this season ... The 40 points scored by the Golden Griffins was the fewest points the Wildcats have given up this year ... The ‘Cats held a 19-17 advantage at the intermission ... With the score set at 25-25 with 12:40 remaining, Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.) helped kick off a 5-0 run as she drilled a 3-pointer and Williams dropped in a pair of free throws, giving New Hampshire the 30-25 edge with 11:19 remaining ... Canisius would polish off a 6-0 run with layups from Ellie Radke and Allison Braun on ensuing possessions, giving the home team its first lead of the half, pushing ahead 38-37 ... Following the run, McDonald layed the ball in to end the stretch and reclaim the lead with score 39-38 with 4:38 remaining ... After a four minute scoring drought by both teams, Simpson would help answer the call, as she found a wide open McDonald under the basket for a layup, taking the lead for good, with the score 41-40 ... Williams led the way for the 'Cats scoring 12 points and pulling down 11 rebounds, for her first double-double of the season ... She has 14 double-doubles for her career ... Williams aside, McDonald tallied eight points, four rebounds, an assist and a block on the night ... Beliveau added seven points, four boards and two steals ... For Beliveau, it was the eighth time she has tallied multiples steals in a game this year.
The Wildcats drained a season-high 10 3-pointers against Syracuse University on Dec. 30, making it the first time UNH has achieved the feat since draining 14 trifectas against Colgate on Dec. 5, 2008. Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) led the way knocking down a season-high four trifectas, while Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) and Cari Reed (Oswego, N.Y.) each hit two apiece and Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.) and Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) each added a trey to the mix. Wells leads the Wildcats with 14 3-point field goals this season, while shooting a team best 36.8 percent from down town.
REED IT AND WEEP
Cari Reed (Oswego, N.Y.) provided a major punch off the bench for the 'Cats against Syracuse on Dec. 30, achieving career-highs in points (6), rebounds (4) and assists (4) in 21 minutes of action. On the season, the freshman is averaging 2.3 points and 1.8 rebounds per game. She is shooting an impressive 57.1 percent (4-for-7) from beyond the arc, while shooting 38.5 percent (5-for-13) from the floor.
Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) tallied a career-high seven blocks against Syracuse on Dec. 30, giving her a block in each of the last eight games. Earlier this season, she notched five blocks versus Louisville on Dec. 22, becoming the first Wildcat to tally five blocks in a game since Ray Williams reached the mark against Yale on Nov. 19, 2005. On the season she has 25 blocks, giving her the third-best block total in the conference, with an average of 2.1 per game. 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 fifth all-time in blocks with 81.
Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) notched her first double-double of the season against Canisius College on Dec. 28 with 12 points and 11 rebounds. For Williams, the impressive mark comes as her 14th career double-double. Last season, the forward earned a conference-best 10 double-doubles. As a team, UNH has had three players notch double-doubles this season. Aside from Williams, Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) is the most recent Wildcat to achieve the feat, notching 10 points and a career-high 11 assists against Holy Cross on Dec. 20. Before that, 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.
AGAINST ALL ODDS
With UNH's 42-40 victory over Canisius College on Dec. 28, the Wildcats snapped a seven-game America East Conference losing streak against the Golden Griffins. Earlier this season, Canisius earned a pair of wins against America East opponents, with victories over Binghamton (49-46) and Albany (52-41). For New Hampshire, the win comes as the program's second in its last three meetings against Canisius College.
After rounding out non-conference play against Syracuse on Dec. 30, UNH head coach Kristin Cole is off to her best start during her tenure at New Hampshire, leading the 'Cats to a 5-7 record in non-conference play to kick off the season. The impressive total comes as the most non-conference wins the Wildcats have earned since also tallying five wins during the 2006-07 campaign.
Three Wildcats scored in double-figures for the fourth time this season against Louisville on Dec. 22. Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) and Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) each tallied 18 points, while Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.) added 12 points. The last time three Wildcats scored in double-figures was in UNH's 78-65 overtime victory over Harvard on Nov. 24. In that contest, Williams (18), McDonald (17) and 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 Wells tallied 15 and 12 points, respectively, leading the 'Cats to a 64-56 victory at Lundholm Gymnasium.
So far this season the Wildcats have been playing stellar defense against some impressive company. They have held opponents to a conference-best .339 shooting percentage from the floor this year, while shooting an impressive .379 clip themselves. The fresh start comes against an A-10 (St. Joseph's, UMass), an ACC (Maryland) and three Big East (Seton Hall, Louisville, Syracuse) programs, following a season in which opponents shot .404 from the field against the ‘Cats. Most recently against No. 23 Syracuse, the ‘Cats held the Orange to their second lowest offensive output this season, allowing just 58 points and forcing them to shoot just 31.5 percent from the floor. Against Canisius College on Dec. 28, the Wildcats held the Golden Griffins to .267 shooting and just 40 points, marks that are both team-highs. 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.
Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) tallied career-highs in points (18), rebounds (9) and blocks (5) against Louisville on Dec. 22. McDonald reached the 18-point mark in the game prior against Holy Cross, when she helped lead the 'Cats to an 80-72 victory. The success is nothing new for the junior center, as she is off to a stellar start this season, posting 10.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game this year.
Lauren Wells (West Chester, (Pa.) tallied 12 points, one shy of her career high, against the University of Louisville on Dec. 22. In addition, she also compiled a career-high four steals in the contest. For Wells, it was the second time this season she has scored 12 points, as she also reached the mark in a 64-56 win against St. Joseph's on Nov. 13.
TORCHING THE NETS
The Wildcats scored 80 points against Holy Cross on Dec. 20, marking the largest point total posted by New Hampshire since it notched 85 points against UMBC on Jan. 10, 2009. The 80-point output not only comes as a season-high in scoring, but it also marks the first time UNH has shot over 50 percent (54.4; 31-57) from the floor since the ‘Cats did so against Iona on Dec. 12, 2007, when they finished with a .500 percent (30-60) shooting clip.
Five Wildcats finished in double-figure scoring in an 80-72 decision against Holy Cross College on Dec. 22. Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) led all scorers with 20 points and was followed by Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.; 18 points, six rebounds), Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.; 15 points, nine rebounds), Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.; 10 points, 11 assists) and Racheal Fowler (Glassboro, N.J.; 10 points). The last time five Wildcats scored in double-figures was against Colgate on Dec. 5, 2008, when Simpson (24), Abigial LaRosa (Hampton, N.H.) (19), Williams (13), Chrissy Hall (Northbridge, Mass.) (13) and Fowler (10) all scored in double-figures.
SPREADING THE FLOOR
The Wildcats currently have three players averaging in double-figure scoring, with Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) leading the way with 12.7 points per game, while Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) and Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) are averaging 12.6 and 10.9 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. On the season, Beliveau has tallied multiple steals in a game eight times for the Wildcats. She currently leads the team with 25 steals, with an average of 2.2 steals per game.
Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) knocked down a 3-pointer on Dec. 30 against Syracuse, giving her 174 3-point field goals for her career. The impressive total ranks second all-time in program history, five field goals shy of Heidi Plencner's all-time mark of 179. This season, Simpson has drilled 13 trifectas, averaging 5.1 points per game. Last year, she notched 62 3-pointers, which was the best single-season mark in program history.
RIGHT ON POINT
Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) scored three points last time out against Canisius, giving her 61 on the young the season. She now has 935 points for her career, which ranks 15th all-time in program history. Her two best offensive outbursts came against No. 21 Maryland and Holy Cross, when she tallied a season-high 11 and 10 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.
WELCOME TO THE CLUB
After tallying 18 points and pulling down five rebounds against Louisville on Dec. 22, Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) became just the eleventh Wildcat to score over 1,000 points and compile 500 rebounds in program history. For her career she has compiled 1,031 points and 568 rebounds. The last 'Cat to achieve the feat was Danielle Clark in 2007, who finished her UNH career with 1,331 points and 579 rebounds. 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.
Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) tallied a steal against Syracuse on Dec. 30, giving her 110 steals for her Wildcat career. The impressive total ranks 22nd 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 17 steals, averaging 1.4 per game.
DOING THE DISHES
Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) has stepped up in her new role as point guard this season, notching the second-best assist total in the conference with 66 through the first 12 games this year. Most recently, she tallied a game-high six assists against No. 23 Syracuse. Against Louisville on Dec. 22, she tallied her second best assist total of the season, dishing out eight assists for the second time this year. In the game prior, she tied a career-high with 11 assists against Holy Cross College on Dec. 20. The last time she reached the 11-assist mark came against UMBC on Feb. 2, 2008. For her career, Simpson has tallied 272 assists, ranking her 11th all-time in program history. To break into the top-10 all-time, Simpson needs just 17 assists, which at her current pace should be attained in four games. Simpson has been stellar across the board for the ‘Cats this year, averaging 5.1 points, 5.5 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game.
Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) netted 12 points against Syracuse on Dec. 30, making it the 15th time in the last 18 games dating back to last year she has scored in double-figures. Against Louisville on Dec. 22, she notched a season-high 18 points for the third time this year. Her two other 18-point outings came in back-to-back efforts against Quinnipiac (Nov. 29) and Harvard (Nov. 24). During the 18 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.
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.
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
Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) scored 18 points and pulled in five rebounds, but it was not enough, as the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team fell to No. 23 Syracuse University, 58-48, Wednesday night at Manley Field House.
With the win, the Orange improve to 12-0 on the season, marking the program's best start in history and the first time the team has won 12 consecutive games since the 2007-08 campaign. As for the Wildcats, they fall to 5-7 on the year, after holding the Orange to its second lowest offensive output this season.
The Orange started off the game scoring the first two buckets, as Nicole Michael buried a 3-pointer and Vionca Murray layed the ball in to jump ahead 5-0 at 15:43.
The Wildcats would fight back with two baskets of their own, as Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) laced a jumper and Beliveau buried a layup to set the score at 5-4 with 11:02 remaining.
Syracuse responded stringing off a 7-0 run, as Michael drilled a 3-pointer to kick off the run, propelling the Orange to a 12-4 lead with 9:26 remaining. Beliveau helped answer the call for UNH, as she ended the scoring drought with a trifecta, however, that would be the last time the ‘Cats would score for more than two minutes.
In the meantime, the Orange picked up the tempo, posting an 8-0 run that pushed the score to 20-7 in favor of the home team. Tasha Harris helped pick up the scoring load during the stretch as she knocked down jumpers on back-to-back possessions to cap off a run that lasted 1:40.
Beliveau would once again snap the run, as she knocked down another 3-pointer on the following possession. Immediately following the basket, Kayla Alexander answered with a layup, but that wasn't enough for the Orange to catch fire, as Cari Reed (Oswego, N.Y.) fired in a trifecta to cut the score to 22-13 with 5:14 remaining.
The Orange put together a 9-0 run following Reed's 3-pointer, as Juanita Ward drained two buckets in the stretch, pushing the home team's lead to 31-13. New Hampshire would find its stroke in closing moments of the half as Beliveau and Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) both drained 3-pointers on ensuing possessions to cut the score to 31-19 at the intermission.
UNH picked up right where it left off at the start of the second stanza, putting together a 11-7 run that was capped off with a 3-pointer by Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) that cut the deficit down to eight points, with the score 38-30 at 15:11.
Alexander added three points the old-fashioned-way on the next trip up the floor, but it was not enough to shut down the ‘Cats as they scored seven unanswered points following the basket, narrowing the score to just four points, with the score 41-37 at 12:45.
After just over one minute of scoreless play, Syracuse would catch fire once again, posting a 7-2 run. Alexander tallied all seven points for the Orange during the stretch, including a jumper that sparked the run at 11:35.
For the next five minutes of play, both teams would exchange baskets, until the Orange scored four unanswered points, capped off with a pair of free throws by Erica Morrow with 29 seconds remaining.
For Syracuse, the four point run pushed its lead to its highest of the half, with a 12-point advantage, a lead it would not relinquish for the remainder of play.
Beliveau was named America East Player of the Game for UNH, scoring 18 points, tallying five rebounds, three assists and a steal on the night. Williams added 12 points, nine rebounds and two steals in the contest. McDonald chipped in with six points, three boards and a career-high seven blocks.
As for the Orange, Alexander finished the night with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Michael added 12 points, six boards and three steals.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) a senior guard on the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team, was honored as Player of the Week by the America East Conference on Dec. 21.
Simpson recorded 10 points and a career-high 11 assists to propel the Wildcats to an 80-72 victory Sunday afternoon against Holy Cross at Lundholm Gymnasium. Simpson also recorded two steals, two blocks, two rebounds and was one of five Wildcats in double digit scoring in the contest.
After trailing 37-33 at the half, Simpson ignited the ‘Cats with 15:37 remaining, sparking a 10-0 run by setting up Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) with a layup and scoring a basket of her own on ensuing possessions in a span of 2:37 to take a 49-39 lead. She then helped UNH build its largest lead of the game with a steal and a long outlet pass to Racheal Fowler (Glassboro, N.J.) for a layup, capped off with a 3-pointer by Simpson on the next possession to push the score to 71-56 in favor of the home team.
Scoring all of her 10 points in the second frame, Simpson helped the Wildcats outscore the Crusaders 47 to 35 in the stanza, as the team posted an impressive .615 percent shooting clip from the floor. Not to mention, the 80-point output by the ‘Cats is the largest point total posted by New Hampshire since it notched 85 points against UMBC on Jan. 10, 2009.
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.