DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire women's basketball team returns 11 letterwinners, including three starters, from last year's team that recorded 16 victories and advanced to the Women's Basketball Invitational tournament.
Statistically, UNH returns three of its top four scorers, two of its top three rebounders, the top two 3-point shooters, two of the top four assist leaders and a player who started all 30 games a year ago.
One of the starters and statistical leaders lost to graduation is Denise Beliveau, who is one of the top all-around players in program history. She led the 2012 team in points, rebounds, field goals made and attempted, free throws made, steals and minutes en route to garnering America East All-Conference First Team, All-Defensive Team and All-Academic Team; in addition, Beliveau ranked second in both field goal percentage and free throw percentage as well as third in 3-point FG percentage and assists.
Third-year head coach Maureen Magarity welcomes four newcomers to the program, which looks to continue its ascent in the America East conference – last year's fourth-place finish in the conference standings marked the highest since 2005, when the Wildcats were third.
One way to climb the ranks is with a strong post presence. Another is with strong point play. The 2012-13 UNH Wildcats boast both with senior forward Morgan Frame (Waterville, Maine), who was voted to the America East Preseason All-Conference Team, and junior guard Kelsey Hogan (Nashua, N.H.), the team captain.
In her first year as a UNH Wildcat in 2012, Frame led the team in scoring (16.0 points per game) and ranked second in rebounds (7.5 per game) to garner America East All-Conference Second Team recognition. She would have led the league in scoring and ranked No. 8 in rebounding if she met the minimum requirement of 75% games played (Frame played in 22 of 30 games – 73.3%).
Frame led the team in field goal percentage (.443), and she also attempted the most free throws despite missing eight games (due to NCAA transfer regulations).
The 6-foot-1 forward, a two-time America East Player of the Week honoree who was named UNH's Player of the Game five times, ranked second among Wildcats in field goals attempted and made as well as made free throws.
Frame was UNH's top scorer 12 times (in 22 games) and the top rebounder nine times; she led the squad in both statistics seven times and tallied seven double-doubles, including a 35-point, 12-rebound effort against Wagner in just her second game as a Wildcat. The 35 points marked the highest single-game output by any America East player last year.
Hogan, the aforementioned player who started all 30 games in 2012, is a multiple threat in the backcourt. As the quarterback of the offense, she is strong on the dribble and an excellent passer. Hogan is also an accurate jumpshooter – she led not only the team but the America East conference in 3-point field goal percentage (.446; 41-for-92).
Hogan also led New Hampshire in assists, ranked second in both 3-point field goals made and minutes (33.9 mpg) as well as third in scoring(10.2 ppg), field goals made and attempted, field goal percentage (.386) and free throws made and attempted.
With those statistics, Hogan's other conference rankings included fifth in FT percentage (.896), seventh in minutes, 11th in both scoring and assists and 12th in field goal percentage.
Other stats illustrate Hogan is a multi-dimensional overall player. In addition to her offensive prowess, she also tied for second on the squad in steals and was third in rebounding (3.8 rpg).
The third returning starter is senior shooting guard Cari Reed (Oswego, N.Y.). She played in 28 of 30 games with 22 starts a year ago, when the 6-footer led the team in 3-point field goals made (44) and attempted (123). Reed also ranked second among all 'Cats in 3-point field goal percentage (.358) and blocks.
The sharpshooter rewrote the UNH record book with eight 3-pointers in a game against Harvard at Lundholm Gym; she had shared the previous benchmark of six 3-pointers in a game with six others. Reed finished that game vs. Harvard with a career-high 32 points.
In other statistics, Reed ranked fourth in scoring average (7.8 ppg), field goal percentage (.383) and minutes (25.8 per game).
Another player who returns with starting experience is senior guard Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.), who utilizes her quickness and athleticism to drive past defenders but can also hit the mid-range jumper. Wells missed the entire 2012 season due to injury, but she started 21 of 29 games in 2011 as a junior and was in the starting lineup all 31 games in '10. In her junior season, Wells ranked third on the team in steals, fourth in assists and fifth in scoring; she also led the team in free throw percentage and ranked ninth in America East in 3-point field goal percentage.
Another senior returning to the backcourt is Jilliane Friel (Durham, N.H.). The 3-point specialist has played in 58 career games. Last year, Friel played in 17 games, all off the bench, and averaged 6.4 minutes.
Three other returners fulfill a variety of backcourt skill-sets. Ariel Gaston (Toledo, Ohio) possesses strong ball-handling skills and can run the point. In her collegiate debut, the season opener against Brown, Gaston tallied career highs in rebounds, assists, steals and minutes. She played in all 30 games as a rookie and was in the starting lineup nine times, including both postseason games. Gaston ranked fourth in assists and her game averages included 2.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 18.8 minutes.
Junior guard Sarah Marie Frankenberger (Gross Gerau, Germany) played in 28 of 30 games and was in the starting lineup eight times last year as a sophomore, when she averaged 2.8 points and 1.4 rebounds per game. Frankenberger ranked fifth on the team in field goal percentage and excelled at the foul line, where she made 94.1 percent of her free throw attempts. Unfortunately, due to an off-season injury, she will not be in the lineup for the 'Cats this season.
Sophomore guard Alexandra Leftridge (Melville, N.Y.) saw limited action in 2012. She played in 11 games, all off the bench, and averaged 3.2 minutes.
The frontcourt includes three other returning letterwinners. Junior forward Bridgette McKnight (Norristown, Pa.) came off the bench in 25 games a year ago. In 8.8 minutes per game, she averaged 1.2 points and 1.8 rebounds. McKnight's season highlights included career highs in points (10), rebounds (seven) and steals (four) against intrastate rival Dartmouth College. She matched those personal bests in both points and rebounds at Stony Brook.
Kaylee Kilpatrick (St. John, New Brunswick) is a 6-foot-4 physical presence in the post. She played in 21 games and was in the starting lineup four times last year as a freshman. Kilpatrick, who recorded a career-high 14 points as well as two rebounds, one assist and two blocks in a home game against Albany, averaged 1.9 points, 0.9 rebounds and 6.8 minutes per game.
Stephanie Spoto (Pittsford, N.Y.), a 6-foot sophomore forward, looks to increase her role. She played in 12 games, all off the bench, in 2012 and totaled a season-high eight minutes in consecutive games against Manhattan College and University of Rhode Island.
Sophomore center Corinne Coia (North Smithfield, R.I.) joins the 'Cats after playing for the University of Rhode Island in 2012; she will sit out this season due to transfer regulations. Coia played in 27 of 29 games for the Rams and ranked third on the team in points, field goal percentage and rebounds; she was second in both free throws made and attempted as well as fifth in minutes. Prior to URI, Coia was a standout at The Lincoln School, where she was the first player in school history to reach 1,000 rebounds and the second to score 1,000 points.
Kendall Martenet (Waukesha, Wis.) is the other new addition to the frontcourt. The 6-2 forward was a three-time captain at Mukwonago High School, where she led the team in rebounding as a junior and senior.
Elizabeth Belanger (Acton, Mass.) and Victoria Duffey (Commerce Township, Mich.) join the Wildcat backcourt. Belanger garnered ESPN Boston All-State Team and Boston Herald All-Scholastic Team, Lowell Sun Player of the Year and Dual County League MVP accolades at Acton-Boxborough Regional High School.
Duffey comes to UNH from Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes after lettering at Walled Lake Central High School for three years. She was a three-year starting point guard and two-time captain at Walled Lake Central, where she earned three All-Conference and two Academic All-State accolades.
New Hampshire, selected fourth in the America East Coaches' Preseason Poll, opens the 2012-13 season with three consecutive road games starting Nov. 14 (7 p.m.) at Yale University. The Wildcats' home opener is Nov. 25 (1 p.m.) vs. Cornell University.