CAMBRIDGE, Mass.-- First-time weekly-award recipients highlight last week's women's basketball action. Binghamton University senior guard Orla O'Reilly (Cork, Ireland) put up big offensive numbers for the Bearcats to capture Player of the Week, while University of Vermont forward Niki Taylor (York, Maine/York), today's Rookie of the Week, has been a key cog to the Catamounts' undefeated start.
In three road games last week, O'Reilly averaged 20.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 steals and raised her season scoring average to a league- and career-best 18.5 points per game. Her shots were on point all week as she shot 20-for-43 (.465) from the field, including 10-for-25 (.400) from beyond the three-point arc, and 11-for-12 (.917) from the charity stripe.
O'Reilly poured in a career-high 29 points at Siena on Tuesday, a 2011-12 America East season high, and posted five rebounds and five assists. The senior earned all-tournament status later in the week at the Minnesota/SUBWAY Classic while leading the Bearcats to a 1-1 weekend in St. Paul. In a loss to Minnesota, O'Reilly scored a team-high 13 points while collecting three boards, an assist, a steal and a block. She closed out the week with a 19-point, five-rebound, two-assist effort against Nevada. O'Reilly tallied five of her points in the final 30 seconds of the game to secure a six-point victory for Binghamton.
University of Vermont freshman forward Niki Taylor (York, Maine/York) helped lead the Catamounts to a 3-0 week, including the title at UVM's own TD Bank Classic. In three home victories, the rookie averaged 10.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and one steal per game.
Taylor earned all-tournament team distinction with a team-high 15 points and eight boards in the championship game against St. Joseph's. She added 11 points, nine rebounds and three steals in the opener against Colgate. In the team's home opener on Wednesday night, Taylor chipped in six points and eight rebounds while going 4-for-4 from the foul line against Fairfield. She finished the week shooting 72.7 percent from the free-throw line and 46.2 percent from the field.
Taylor is 19th in the conference with 10.0 points and fifth with 8.5 rebounds per game this season, both tops or tied for first among all freshmen.
Monday, November 21
George Mason at Stony Brook, 7 p.m. l Live stats l Live video l Live audio l
The conference has started the season with a 16-13 (.551) record through two weeks. That includes a 4-4 record against 2011 postseason tournament teams. Those wins have come against Morgan State, Monmouth, St. Joseph's and Nevada, all Postseason WNIT participants. Three out of the four losses (Notre Dame, Iowa, Maryland) have come at the hands of NCAA Tournament teams.
The Catamounts, who went winless during non-conference play in 2010-11, have made an instant turnaround this season with a 4-0 start. Vermont's most recent two wins came in its own annual TD Bank Classic, winning the tournament for the seventh time overall and first time since 2007. Also making a great first impression in 2011-12 is Seton Hall transfer Shanai Heber who made her first appearance as a Catamount in Patrick Gym this past week, and earned tournament MVP honors with 11 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals in the championship game against St. Joseph's on Saturday night.
Hartford's game against in-state foe Central Connecticut State on Tuesday night will be broadcast live on CPTV Sports, the new 24-hour all-sports network in Connecticut. Saturday's Rhode Island vs. Boston U. game will also be televised live by NESN.
America East teams have been able to put up big numbers on the scoreboard already this season. After only recording four 80+ point games all of last season, including once in a three overtime thriller, squads have posted 80 or more points three times in 2011-12. Albany tallied 81 points on Nov. 13 against LaSalle, while both Binghamton and Vermont reached 80 points in games this past week.
Albany junior foward Julie Forster's 26-point, 20-rebound performance against La Salle on Nov. 13 wasn't only a career game, but it was one of the conference's top individual efforts of the decade. It was the first 20+ point, 20+ rebound game since two-time America East Player of the Year Heather Ernest (Maine '04) recorded 21 points and 21 rebounds at New Hampshire on Jan. 14, 2001.
America East teams went 11-3 in the first 14 games of the season for a .785 winning percentage. The league stood at 3-11 (.214) through the first 14 games of the 2010-11 season.
Hartford advanced to the Preseason WNIT semifinals, joining Top-25 foes #1 Baylor, #2 Notre Dame and #22 UCLA as the final four teams. The Hawks fell to the Fighting Irish in South Bend, however junior forward Ruthanne Doherty earned one of just six spots on the all-tournament team. Doherty averaged 15.5 points and 5.3 rebounds in the three games. Baylor defeated Notre Dame on Sunday to win the Preseason WNIT Championship.
Opening weekend marked the debut of two head coaches at their current institutions. Richard Barron and the Black Bears opened up with a loss at Central Connecticut, but the team gave Coach Barron his first win as Maine head coach with a victory at Rhode Island on Nov. 13. The Nov. 11 season-opener at Fairfield was Beth O'Boyle's first at the helm of the Seawolves. After falling to the Stags, Coach O'Boyle will get another shot at win #1 Monday evening at home against George Mason.
The 2011-12 season also marks the second season at the helm for three other America East head coaches. Albany's Katie Abrahamson-Henderson, New Hampshire's Maureen Magarity and Vermont's Lori Gear McBride enter their second campaign at their current schools.
On Sun., Nov. 13, Boston U. senior guard Alex Young joined two other active America East players in the 1,000 career point club. With a 12-point effort against UMass, Young has now amassed 1,021 points in her career, joining UMBC's Michelle Kurowski (1,313) and Binghamton's Andrea Holmes (1,160).
A pair of America East women's basketball senior standouts are candidates for the 2011-12 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. UMBC guard Michelle Kurowski and University of New Hampshire forward Denise Beliveau, both all-conference honorees, each earned the preseason recognition announced on Fri., Nov. 4. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. Lowe’s, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, will announce the women’s Senior CLASS Award® winner during the NCAA Women’s Final Four®, which will be held April 1 and 3 in Denver. The 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot.
Albany (2-2, 0-0 AE) dropped two games last week in non-conference action on the road... The Great Danes fell to Big 10 opponent Iowa 82-60 before dropping a 65-53 decision to Brown... Junior forward Julie Forster (Huntington, N.Y./Huntington) recorded two straight double-doubles, her second and third of the season, averaging 12.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. Forster also finished with five steals, four assists and two blocks... Junior guard Ebone Henry (San Diego, Calif./Mater Dei Catholic) led the team with 18.5 points per game in the two games... As a team, the Great Danes recorded 20 steals, while only giving up 12 to opponents... However, Albany struggled from the free-throw line, only hitting 17 of 36 shots from the charity stripe... The Great Danes' two opponents went 44-for-57 from the line... Albany will continue non-conference play, visiting Toledo of the Mid-American Conference on Tuesday before hosting St. Francis (NY) on Sunday.
Binghamton (3-1, 0-0 AE) is off to its best start since the 1998-99 season... Senior guard Orla O'Reilly averaged 20.3 points per game in leading Binghamton to a 2-1 week. She poured in a career-high 29 points against Siena on Nov. 29, which represents the highest total turned in by an America East player so far this season. At the Minnesota/SUBWAY Classic, O'Reilly was named to the All-Tournament team after averaging 16.0 points and 4.0 rebounds. She scored five of her game-high 19 points against Nevada (on Nov. 20) in the final 30 seconds of play in leading Binghamton to a 58-52 triumph. For the season, O'Reilly is averaging a career-high 18.5 points per game... Junior point guard Andrea Holmes (Memphis, Tenn.), who is averaging 12.8 points per game, now is in ninth place in program history with 1,160 points. With 13 points against Nevada on Nov. 20, she passed Erica Carter (2006-10), who had 1,150 points during her career... Senior forward Viive Rebane (Talinn, Estonia/Audantes School), who is averaging 12.0 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, has recorded a pair of double-doubles so far this season.
Boston U. (1-2, 0-0 AE) has erased halftime deficits to tie the game in the second half in each of its three games this season... Against Richmond, the Terriers trailed by seven at the half, eventually taking a four-point lead before the Spiders came back to win... Senior Alex Young (Hickory, N.C./St. Stephen's) has now scored in double-digits in all three games...Senior forward Caroline Stewart (Topsfield, Mass./Masconomet Regional) nearly had a double-double, as she hauled in 13 rebounds to go along with eight points... Junior guard Mo Moran (Hopewell Junction, N.Y./John Jay) has scored at least 12 points in two of the Terriers' three games this year.
The Hawks (2-1, 0-0 AE) dropped their only game last week in a WNIT Semifinal at #2 Notre Dame (98-43) on Thursday night... Against the Fighting Irish junior Daphne Elliott (Fairfield, Conn./Faifield Warde) led the Hawks with nine points, while Ruthanne Doherty (Richmond, Va./L.C. Bird) added eight points... Doherty scored the first honor of the year for Hartford as she was one of six players named to the WNIT All-Tournament Team joining preseason All-America candidates Brittany Griner (Baylor) and Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame). Over the three games, Doherty averaged 15.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. She was also among the leaders in assists and steals with eight and nine, respectively, combined for the week... The Hawks will play three games in the week ahead, first welcoming the CCSU Blue Devils in a rematch of the 2010-11 season opener on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at The Chase Family Arena at The Reich Family Pavilion... The Hawks will then travel to Orlando, Fla. for two games at the UCF Thanksgiving Classic. Hartford will take on the TCU Horned Frogs on Friday (12 p.m.) and the host Knights on Saturday (2:30 p.m.).
Maine (1-2, 0-0 AE) dropped its home opener on Saturday afternoon 65-53 to visiting Bryant... It was only the second-ever meeting between the two teams as Maine won last season's contest... The game was played in 'The Pit' inside Memorial Gym on the campus of Maine. The game was the first played in 'The Pit' for the women's team since the Black Bears defeated Dartmouth 60-59 in an overtime thriller played on Jan. 26, 1993... Ashleigh Roberts (Wilmington, Del.) paced Maine in the loss against Bryant as she tallied 10 points. It was Roberts' 24th career game scoring in double-figures, which now leads the team in active double-digit performances. Roberts also ran her streak of scoring in double-figures to five straight games. All five of Maine's newcomers have made their collegiate debuts as freshman guard Kelsey Mattice (Cicero, N.Y.) appeared in her first game on Saturday. Mattice logged 20 minutes in her first action, scoring six points on 2-for-8 shooting from beyond the arc. Mattice also added four points and a rebound in her debut... Maine is now 9-2 in its last 11 home openers... Senior Samantha Baranowski (Stanhope, N.J.) tallied her 400th career point with the Black Bears on her third bucket of the afternoon Saturday. Maine will host the 19th annual Dead River Company Classic tournament beginning Friday, Nov. 25. Evansville will battle Brown in game one before the Black Bears play host to Troy in game two.
UMBC (2-2, 0-0 AE) dropped a pair of games last week… The Retrievers fell at cross-town Coppin State 68-60 on Wednesday. Trailing by 19 points at halftime, UMBC rallied to pull as close as four in the second period but could not complete the comeback… Senior forward Erin Brown (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) led all scorers with 16 points and was 4-for-9 from three-point range… Senior center Topé Obajolu (Randallstown, Md./Archbishop Carroll) finished with 15 points and eight rebounds… On Saturday, the Retrievers gave No. 9 Maryland all it could handle in a 70-59 loss at the RAC… UMBC was within four points midway through the second half but could not overcome the Terps’ size… The 11-point margin was the lowest on the season for Maryland, who had outscored its first three opponents by an average of 31 points… The loss snapped the Retrievers’ 12-game home-court winning streak… Brown and senior guard Michelle Kurowski (Hicksville, N.Y./Hicksville) each scored 14 points… Kurowski moved into fifth place all-time at UMBC with 1,313 career points… The Retrievers take on a pair of cross-town rivals this week, visiting Loyola on Tuesday and Towson on Sunday.
University of New Hampshire (1-1, 0-0 AE) dropped its only matchup on the week, a 61-38 loss against Seton Hall in the home-opener… Sophomore Kelsey Hogan (Nashua, N.H./Nashua North) notched seven points and recorded a game-high 10 rebounds as the America East Player of the Game… Junior Cari Reed (Oswego, N.Y./Oswego) also chalked up seven points, hitting 3-of-8 shots and 1-of-3 in three-point attempts… As a team, the Wildcats shot 31 percent from the floor and won the battle for bench points by an 11-8 margin… In two games this season, the Wildcats top the conference with a .333 three-point field goal percentage on 11-for-33 from the field... Hogan currently ranks third in the America East with 9.5 rebounds per contest and first in defensive rebounds (7.5)... UNH will kick off a three-game road stretch against Cornell University on Tuesday, Nov. 22 before visiting Central Connecticut State on Nov. 27.
The Seawolves (0-2, 0-0 AE) dropped a 52-48 decision at Iona in their only game of the week... Stony Brook held Iona to seven points in the first half, setting a program record for fewest points allowed in a half and was the fewest points allowed in a half in an NCAA Division I women’s game since Georgia Tech allowed just three points to Tennessee State last season... The Seawolves led 17-7 at the half and held Iona scoreless for over 10 minutes at one stretch in the first half... Iona shot just 3-for-21 (14.3 percent) from the field in the first half... The Gaels scored 45 points on 48.6 percent (17-for-35) shooting in the second half... Junior Dani Klupenger (Aurora, Ore.) scored a career-high 14 points against Iona after going scoreless in the opener against Fairfield... Klupenger’s three 1:36 into the game gave the Seawolves a 3-2 lead and SBU did not trail again until Aleesha’s Powell three with 57 seconds left in the game put the Gaels up 48-45... Junior transfer Jessica Previlon (Brooklyn, N.Y.) made her first start against Iona and had seven points and nine rebounds after going for six points and seven rebounds in the opener against Fairfield... The Seawolves are in the midst of stretch in which they play four games in eight days.
Vermont (4-0, 0-0 AE) went 3-0 on the week. UVM defeated Fairfield 65-48 behind 17 points and 11 rebounds from junior Shanai Heber (Patterson, N.J./Patterson Kennedy). Heber went on to be named the MVP of the TD Bank Classic, Vermont's own tournament. She helped the Catamounts win their own tournament for the seventh time overall and first time since 2007 ... She finished the week averaging 10.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.6 steals... Freshman Niki Taylor (York, Maine/York) scored a career-high 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead UVM past Saint Joseph's. Taylor was named to the all-tournament team after totaling 26 points and 17 rebounds in the two games... UVM head coach Lori Gear McBride picked up her 70th career win with the victory over Colgate... The Catamounts have had six different players reach double figures in the scoring column this season... UVM hosts Dartmouth on Tuesday (Nov. 22) at 5 p.m. to close out a four-game homestand... The Catamounts travel to Houston, Texas for the Husky Classic on Nov. 25-26, marking the start of an eight-game road swing to close out the non-conference slate... UVM takes on the hosts, Houston Baptist at 8:30 p.m. (EST) on Nov. 25 and then faces Texas Southern on Nov. 26 at 4 p.m. (EST).