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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Hoopla: Women’s America East previews

Albany:

Under fourth year head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson, the Great Danes were able to have a 27-4 record last season, including a perfect 16-0 regular season record against their America East Conference foes. They became the fourth team in conference history and the first since 1996 to go undefeated in the regular season then go on to win the title. They lost by five to UNC in the first round of the NCAA tournament and are returning seven letterwinners from last season, including one starter. They were a unanimous No. 1 selection and bring back two all-conference performers in Megan Craig and Shereesha Richards. They led the conference in scoring offense, defense, field goal percentage, field goal percentage defense, rebounding, assists and steals.

 

Hartford:

Jennifer Rizzotti will start her 15th season with the Hawks, who went 21-12 in the regular season last year, along with a 10-6 conference record. They finished with the No. 2 seed and lost in the conference championship to Albany. They return 11 letterwinners, along with three starters. They notched their seventh 20-win season since 2002, along with their 8th trip to the America East Championship in that time span. Coach Rizzotti leads the conference in active wins and is the all-time wins leader in America East tournament play with 23. The Hawks will look to continue their winning tradition, as they have finished third in the conference or higher for nine consecutive seasons. Amber Bepko will look to lead the team again, as she recorded a 10 ppg average as a sophomore and earned All-Conference Second Team honors.

 

New Hampshire:

The Wildcats, under the leadership of fourth year coach Maureen Magarity, will look to build upon their T-fourth finish last season, as they went 12-18 while putting up a 6-10 conference record. They return eight letterwinners, which include three starters. UNH reached the semifinal round of the America East Championship for the first time since 2005 last season and were the top free throw shooting team in the conference, shooting 70.4 percent from the charity strip. Senior guard Kelsey Hogan will look to lead the Wildcats, as she was named to the Preseason All-Conference team. She averaged 9.8 ppg last season and led the team in assists, with 3.2 assists per game. Last season, the Wildcats won their first conference tournament game since 2005, and will look to improve on that mark this year.

 

Vermont:

Vermont earned the sixth seed in the conference tournament last year and earned an upset win over UMBC in the first round. Vermont was the top offensive rebounding team in the America East in 2012-2013 at 14.6 per game. However, their record was not as stellar, as they finished 10-21, which included a 6-10 conference record. The Catamounts return 10 players from last season, which counts for second most in the season. Three of those were starters. The assistant coach at Vermont, Courtnay Pilypaitis, is currently a member of Team Canada and competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics. The Catamounts are a very young roster, as there are only two seniors, Tonya Conley and Sam Simononis. Last season, the Catamounts advanced to their 18th America East semifinal and first since 2010.

 

Maine:

Richard Barron, in his third year at the helm of the University of Maine Black Bears, will try to improve on their 4-24 performance last season. They went 3-12 in America East and finished ninth in the conference last year. Maine has the most amount of returning players with 11, including four starters. Last year’s co-rookie of the year, Liz Wood, will be huge for the Black Bears after leading all freshmen in scoring and rebounding last season. The Black Bears were also very good at knocking down the 3-point shot last season, making 5.4 per game. Three of the team’s top long ball shooters are back, in Courtney Anderson, Lauren Bodine and Liz Wood. Ashleigh Roberts will also look to lead the Black Bears to a good year, as she had 10.4 ppg and 6.6 rpg.

 

UMBC:

UMBC was a very senior-led team last year, as they only return four players and one starter. The Retrievers got upset in the America East Conference Tournament last year in the first round by Vermont, and would like to not let that happen again, though it will be tough with nine newcomers. Head coach Phil Stern is one of the only three active head coaches to win an America East title in their careers. UMBC had its second-highest seed ever in the America East tournament last season, earning that third seed. The Retrievers will have one of the youngest rosters in the conference, as they have only one senior to go along with two juniors, three sophomores and six freshmen. UMBC will also look to improve on their fifth ranked scoring offense, along with third in the conference last season in blocked shots and fifth in steals.

 

Binghamton:

Binghamton was the seventh seed in last year’s conference tournament, as they finished 6-24, while boasting a 5-11 regular season. They do return 10 letterwinners, along with three returning starters. Binghamton has advanced to the America East tournament semifinals three times in the past five years, and will look to build upon that this season. Two of the team’s top three scorers from last season are back, who include leading scorer Sherae Swinson who averaged 9.8 ppg and All-Rookie selection Morgan Murphy who averaged seven ppg. The players that return this season accounted for 47.8 percent of the team’s scoring last season, and the Bearcats ranked third during conference play, holding opponents to 37.4 percent shooting from the field.

 

UMass Lowell:

UMass Lowell replaces Boston University in the America East this season, as they begin their first season as a Division I program. The River Hawks finished with their best record in 10 years last season, going 18-9 and 15-7 in conference play. The averaged 81.5 points per game which was second in Division II and would have led their new conference. They will have to replace the nation’s leading scorer in Bianca Simmons, who averaged 28.2 points per game last year and was an All-America selection. Head coach Sarah Behn is 29-25 in two years with the River Hawks, who return five players from last season, none of whom were starters. The River Hawks also have 11 newcomers who will need to be incorporated into their new offense.

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