The 2001-02 women’s basketball team will take on a new look this year, as youth and, hopefully, quickness will replace the experience and scoring ability of three talented outgoing seniors. As they head into the new season, head coach Pat Manning’s 12th, the Ephs look to improve on their 12 wins and 13 losses from a year ago.
Perhaps the most significant loss the Ephs have to overcome is the loss of first team all-NESCAC and all-NEWBA (New England Women’s Basketball Association) point guard Liz Tilley ’01.
Tilley led the Ephs, averaging 16.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. Tilley holds the all-time record for assists at Williams with 369, and she finished 10th in total scoring in the NESCAC with 828 points.
Other loses from the 2000-2001 Ephs are two dynamic guards, Robyn Goldman ’01 and Melissa Griffin ’01. Goldman, an athletic shooting guard, was deadly from three point land and was relied upon for rebounding and defense.
Goldman averaged 6.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
Griffin was a superb defender who provided great consistency and leadership â€“ Griffin shot over 40 percent from the field despite only averaging 2.3 points per game.
Looking ahead to this season, Manning should have ample ability to plug the holes left by Tilley, Goldman and Griffin. Captain Kate Stumpo ’03 will be looked to for her leadership and tenacious defense. Stumpo is a 5’ 7″ guard with a good shooting touch and great court sense.
“Despite our youth, we’ve been building a foundation for the success of our team since the early fall,” Stumpo said. “If everyone continues to make that commitment, there should only be room for improvement.”
Also instrumental this year will be the play of forward Abi Jackson ’03. Jackson, a 5’ 10″ three-sport athlete, is a strong rebounder with great quickness and strength.
Last year, Jackson averaged 9.3 points per game and led the team with 7.3 rebounds per game. She will prove to be an inside force to be reckoned with this season, having gained valuable experience last year.
“We will be looking to run on teams this season, so depth will be important,” Jackson said. “I think that will be an important determinate of how far we can go this year. The season has been a lot of fun so far, I have a good feeling about this year. I feel like everyone really wants to work hard to raise the bar and have a great season.”
Joining Jackson in the back court this season will be 6’1″ Amy Geant ’03. Geant is a finesse player, a scoring threat from anywhere on the court. Missing from this year’s team is Nicole Stephens ’02, who, to the surprise of fans and Record editors alike, will not be playing this season.
At the center position, 6’0″ Bridget McDonough ’04 will look to improve on her fantastic opening season.
McDonough averaged 6.8 points per game and 4.3 rebounds per game last year; the Ephs will rely on McDonough’s agility and size both inside and outside of the paint.
Turning to the newest members of the team, the first year class looks to be strong and willing to make the commitment necessary to elevate the squad’s level of play from last season. First-years on the team this year include Amy Dieckmann, Kerri McMahon, Alana Zell, Kate Beswick and Natalie Geier.
“We have a really talented freshman class who will be able to contribute to the team’s success,” Melissa Skeffington ’03 said. “The team’s leadership has been excellent and we’ve worked really well together all fall. We have great potential and it should be a really exciting year.”
“We have a strong freshman class this year, which gives us a lot of depth on the bench,” Jackson said, concurring with Skeffington’s assessment. “They are all very hard workers and are good players overall.”
The Ephwomen have great work ethic, commitment to improvement, and should be exciting to watch. The Williams Tip-Off Tournament, beginning Nov. 18, marks the start of the 2001-2002 season.