Women’s basketball looks to fly under NESCAC radar

Losing six of 14 players to graduation is never an easy obstacle for a team to overcome. When four of those six were starters and the other two logged significant minutes every game, it’s even harder. But with seven new players and two new assistant coaches, women’s basketball is confident in its ability to remain one of the conference’s most competitive teams.

“This year’s team has a new positive energy and spirit,” co-captain Whitney Livermore ’08 said. “With seven new players, there is definitely less playing experience than we had last year. There’s also a greater sense of excitement that has inspired a drive to build something really great.”

Livermore, along with the two other seniors on the squad, co-captain Dominique de la Torre ’08 and Niki Savageau ’08, will provide leadership for the young team. “Our returners will have to rely on their own experience to help bring our frosh along,” Livermore said. “[They] will be key in leading this team on the court and from the bench. They will be needed to keep things running smoothly.”

Other than their three seniors, the Ephs will rely heavily on co-captain Mika Peterman ’09, who started at guard last season. Her 7.4 points per game last year made her the fourth leading scorer on the team. She was also second with 38 three-pointers.

With so many spots on the roster open due to last year’s graduation, first-years will have to step quickly into their positions. Chessie Jackson ’11 and Jess Harris ’11 will likely see significant playing time this season.

Last year the Ephs fell in the first round of the NCAA tournament to Southern Maine, 68-62. They finished with a 20-7 record, an impressive 11-0 at home. “After losing in the first round of the NCAA tournament last year, we were disappointed with the outcome,” Peterman said. “All the returners have certainly been working hard in the off season. We have high expectations for this season despite losing so many seniors.”

With a record of 295-127 (.699), Head Coach Pat Manning returns for her 18th year at the helm of women’s basketball. Liz Creighton, Erika DeSanty and Shevie Brooks will round out the coaching staff as assistants.

“Our two new assistant coaches, Erika DeSanty and Shevie Brooks, have brought an awesome new outlook to our dynamic,” Livermore said. “Thanks to them, we’re developing rapidly into a cohesive team – something that’s hard to do with half the players being brand new.”

Given the combination of new players and coaches this year, the Ephs may be flying under the radar coming into conference play.

“No one in the NESCAC or beyond really knows what to expect from us this year because we’re so different from last year, so we’re looking forward to taking them by surprise,” Livermore said. “Obviously we expect to be strong competition in the NESCAC again this year, but we need to take care of our first semester non-conference games, starting this weekend.”

The Ephs will begin their season this Saturday against WNEC in the Babson Tip-Off Tournament. The tourney will continue through Sunday.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *