WACBA Honor Roll (Women’s Basketball) Week Two

Ama Biney was tabbed this week's WACBA Women's Player of the Week after an impressive effort in a trio of games last week. (PHOTO CREDIT: Frank Poulin)

Ama Biney was tabbed this week’s WACBA Women’s Player of the Week after an impressive effort in a trio of games last week. (PHOTO CREDIT: Frank Poulin)

By WACBA Hoops (@WACBHoops

Women’s Player of the Week: Ama Biney (WPI | Jr. | Worcester, Mass.): Biney averaged 21 points, six rebounds and 2.7 steals per game in a 3-0 week for the Engineers. She dropped a career-high 28 points on RPI Saturday and followed up with 16 points Sunday against Johnson & Wales en route to WPI Thanksgiving Classic MVP honors. Earlier in the week, Biney added 19 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals in just 19 minutes against Nichols.

Women’s Rookie of the Week: Cassidy Harrison (Becker | Fr. | Foxborough, Mass.): Harrison almost led one of the most improbable comeback’s in Becker women’s basketball history, scoring 16 of her 25 points in the fourth quarter at MCLA on Tuesday night before Becker finally succumbed, 56-47. The freshman shot 55 percent from the floor and 41 percent from behind the arc. She also recorded five steals. For the season, Harrison is leading the team with 14.3 points per game.

Women’s Honor Roll:

Katelynn Rizzuto (Fitchburg St. | Soph. | West Boylston, Mass.): Rizzuto posted a double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds to go along with three assists, four steals and two blocks in an 81-75 setback to UMass Boston on Tuesday.

Kyra Rose (Fitchburg St. | Fr. | Rockland, Mass.): Rose registered a game-best 32 points, nine rebounds, one assist, three steals and one block in an 81-75 setback to UMass Boston on Tuesday.

Infiniti Thomas-Waheed (Holy Cross | Jr. | Newton, Mass.): Thomas-Waheed connected on 32 percent shooting and 60 percent from beyond the arc in a pair of setbacks this past week against Dartmouth and Yale. Against the Big Green, Thomas-Waheed tallied 16 points, six rebounds, a trio of steals and two blocks in a 53-49 setback to Dartmouth. A few days later against the Bulldogs, she netted 15 points, including a trio of three-pointers and snatched nine caroms.

Britt Herring (Worcester St. | Soph. | W. Brookfield, Mass.): The sophomore center led the Lancers to a 1-1 week by averaging 12.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks per game. Herring went four-for-seven from the field and registered a game-high four blocks in the Lancers’ 64-39 setback to Western New England. She then concluded the week with her first double-double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds, helping her team to a 61-52 non-conference victory over Wellesley.

WACBA Honor Roll (Men’s Basketball) Week Two

WPI's Connor Willgress  was tabbed this week's WACBA Men's Player of the Week after an impressive performance last week against Worcester State. (PHOTO CREDIT: WPI Athletics/Frank Poulin)

WPI’s Connor Willgress was tabbed this week’s WACBA Men’s Player of the Week after an impressive performance last week against Worcester State. (PHOTO CREDIT: WPI Athletics/Frank Poulin)

By WACBA Hoops (@WACBAHoops)

Men’s Player of the Week: Connor Willgress (WPI, | Jr. | Mill Creek, Wash.): Willgress stuffed the stat sheet with career-best of 15 points and six rebounds, along with a pair of steals and an assist to help the Engineers knock off city rival Worcester State last Tuesday. In addition to scoring eight of the game’s first 10 points, he was five-of-eight from the field, including three-of-four from beyond the arc to go with a pair of free throws in 27 minutes.

Men’s Rookie of the Week: DeAnte Bruton (Nichols | Fr. | New London, Conn.): Bruton scored a career-high 30 points in just 28 minutes as the Bison defeated Westfield State last Tuesday. He canned 8-of-12 from the field – including four-of-seven from downtown to go along with three steals, three rebounds, and three assists.

Men’s Honor Roll:

Jaleel Bell (Fitchburg State | Sr. | Dorchester, Mass.): Collected 23 points, nine rebounds, one assist and two steals for the Falcons in a 90-78 setback to Albertus Magnus on Tuesday evening.

Cal Howes (Worcester State | Fr. | Maynard, Mass.): The first-year guard led the Lancers with a team-high 11 points on three trifectas and two good free throws in a 91-54 setback to WPI. He also registered a rebound and a steal in 23 minutes played.

WACBA Honor Roll (Women’s Basketball) Week One

Lauren Manis of Holy Cross was named this week's Co-WACBA Women's Player of the Week after tallying a pair of double-doubles in three games. (PHOTO CREDIT: Holy Cross Athletics/Brian Foley Photography)

Lauren Manis of Holy Cross was named this week’s Co-WACBA Women’s Rookies of the Week after tallying a pair of double-doubles in three games. (PHOTO CREDIT: Holy Cross Athletics/Brian Foley Photography)

By WACBA Hoops (@WACBAHoops)

WORCESTER, MASS. – With the first week of the NCAA College Basketball season in the book, it is time to unveil our first Worcester Area College Basketball Association (WACBA) Honor Roll of the 2016-17 season, featuring our Women’s Player and Rookie of the Week.

Women’s Player of the Week: Katelynn Rizzuto (Fitchburg State | Soph. | West Boylston, Mass.): Rizzuoto averaged a double-double of 13.0 points and 10.3 rebounds per contest as well as 1.3 assists and 2.0 steals per game in three games for the Green and Gold. She tallied a double-double of 12 points and 15 caroms to go along with two assists and five steals in a 76-62 setback to Clark, while adding eight points, five boards, one assist and one block in an 89-81 win over St. Joseph (Conn.). Rizzuoto concluded the week with a double-double of 19 points and 11 caroms as well as one assist and one steal in a 58-57 setback to Wellesley on Saturday.

Women’s Rookie of the Week: Lauren Manis (Holy Cross | Fr. | Franklin, Mass.): In a span of three games, Manis recorded a pair of double-doubles, beginning with 15 points and 10 rebounds against Bryant. Two games later against Marist – the Crusaders’ initial win of their season – she netted 12 points and recorded 10 rebounds. In a span of three games, she has recorded 34 points, 29 rebounds, five swipes, three assists and two blocks.

Kyra Rose (Fitchburg State | Fr. | Rockland, Mass.): Rose averaged 22.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 3.0 assists per game in three contests for the Falcons. She collected 22 points, five caroms, four assists and three steals in a 76-62 setback to Clark on Tuesday before adding 31 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals in an 89-81 win over St. Joseph (CT) on Friday. Rose concluded the week with 13 points, three caroms, one assist and three steals in a 58-57 setback to Wellesley on Saturday.

Honor Roll:

Jo Impellizeri (Assumption | Sr. | Seaford, New York) – Impellizeri averaged 19.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in a 0-2 week for the Hounds, while shooting 54.2 percent from the floor. The senior scored 16 points to go with 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals in a tough 56-48 loss to Stonehill. She then put up a career-high 23 points, eight rebounds and two assists in an 81-78 overtime loss to St. Michael’s.

Sam O’Gara (Clark University | Jr. | Worcester, Mass.): In a 2-1 week, O’Gara averaged 20 points and 5.7 assists and was named to the Worcester City All-Tournament team. In the Cougars’ season opening win over Fitchburg State, O’Gara pumped in 25 points on 9-for-15 shooting to go along with five assists and five steals. Then in a win over Becker, she racked up a 20 points, seven assists and five more steals as the Cougars rolled to victory. In the Scarlet and White’s 70-61 loss to Worcester State, O’Gara totaled 15 points, four assists and two steals.

Infiniti Thomas-Waheed (Holy Cross | Jr. | Newton, Mass.): Thomas-Waheed netted a career-high 23 points against Bryant and a career-best 14 rebounds against Marist. During her team’s three-game span, Thomas-Waheed converted 17 of 33 field goals for 46 points – she netted 12 of 20 free throws, pulled down 25 rebounds and tallied six assists, six steals and a pair of blocks.

Brianna Hackett (Worcester State | Jr. | Hollis, N.H.): The junior guard totaled 37 points, four assists and three steals in a 2-1 week for the Lancers. Hackett was a game-changer in the Lancers’ 70-61 win over Clark as she drained six of 11 three-pointers – two of which were at the buzzer (one at the end of second period and another at the end of the third period) to give the Lancers extra momentum heading into the final session. She then tallied 14 points in the 50-36 setback to WPI. Hackett was named to the Worcester City Tournament All-tournament team as she netted a total of 10 trifectas with a 47.8 three-point field goal percentage throughout tournament play.

Ama Biney (WPI | Jr. | Worcester, Mass.): Biney averaged 14.3 points per game in a 2-1 week for the Engineers. She was named the Worcester City Tournament Most Outstanding Player, too. The junior added 12 rebounds, 16 steals and five blocks in just 71 minutes. She bookended her week with a 16 and 18-point performances against UMass Dartmouth and Worcester State, respectively, while averaging 13.5 points and totaling six steals in tournament play.

WACBA Honor Roll (Men’s Basketball) Week One

Fitchburg State's Jaleel Bell was one of two student-athletes to earn this week's WACBA Player of the Week honors. (PHOTO CREDIT: Fitchburg State Athletics)

Fitchburg State’s Jaleel Bell was one of two student-athletes to earn this week’s WACBA Player of the Week honors. (PHOTO CREDIT: Fitchburg State Athletics)

By WACBA Hoops (@WACBAHoops)

WORCESTER, MASS. – With the first week of the NCAA College Basketball season in the book, it is time to unveil our first Worcester Area College Basketball Association (WACBA) Honor Roll of the 2016-17 season, featuring our Men’s Player and Rookie of the Week.

Men’s Player of the Week:

Jaleel Bell (Fitchburg State | Sr. | Dorchester, Mass.): Averaged 28.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game in three games for the Falcons. Registered a double-double of 30 points and 11 rebounds as well as three assists and three steals in a 68-66 setback to Rhode Island College on Tuesday before adding 44 points, six rebounds and three steals in an 88-78 win over Regis on Friday. Concluded the week, collecting 11 points, two caroms, one assist and three steals in an 81-63 setback to Colby College on Saturday.

Marcos Echevarria (Nichols | Soph. | Lynn, Mass.): Echevarria averaged 27.0 ppg last week for the Bison, who opened the season with two games last week. He scored 17 points in the season opener at Thomas (ME) on Tuesday, then scored a career-high 37 points in a win over Lasell on Saturday. Echevarria knocked down six three-pointers and went 11-of-14 from the line against the Lasers.

Men’s Rookie of the Week: Jake Wisniewski (WPI | Fr. | West Brookfield, Mass.): Wisniewski averaged nine points per game even with seeing limited minutes against Salve Regina Friday night. He debuted with 14 points, seven rebounds and a pair of assists versus Eastern Connecticut. The local product scored 11 and pulled down six boards against DeSales in Saturday’s championship contest.

Honor Roll:

Karl Ziegler (Assumption | Sr. | Annadale, Va.): Ziegler was instrumental in the Hounds’ opening conference 2-0 for the first time since the 2012-13 season, averaging 18.0 points and 6.5 rebounds while shooting 63.6 percent from the floor. Facing Stonehill, he went 6-of-9 from the floor for 16 points and seven rebounds as Assumption won 74-69. On Saturday, Ziegler put up 20 points with six rebounds as the Hounds took down St. Michael’s, 82-78.

Kareem Davis (Becker | Soph. | Lowell, Mass.): Davis began his season with a blistering start, scoring exactly 24 points in each of his first three games. Davis is shooting 45 percent from the floor, 44 percent from behind the three-point arc and 93 percent from the free throw line. Davis is also averaging 3.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 39.7 minutes per game.

Luca McCormick (Clark University | Soph. | Bradenton, Fla.): During a 2-1 week for the Cougars, McCormick literally carried the team to a pair of victories with two game-winning shots. First, in Clark’s 77-74 win over Worcester State, McCormick hit the game-winning three-pointer with seconds remaining to give the Scarlet and White a season-opening win. In that contest he finished with 24 points on 8-for-14 shooting. Then, in Clark’s 71-70 win over Newbury College, McCormick was again the hero, dropping in the game-winning/go-ahead three-point bomb with less than ten seconds left in regulation. He finished that contest with 22 points and ten rebounds. He also had 13 points and seven rebounds in the Scarlet and White’s only loss of the week, an 85-78 defeat to Rhode Island College. For the week, he averaged 19.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.

Jamal Mustapha (Worcester State | Jr. | Worcester, Mass.): The junior guard led the Lancers in scoring this past week, averaging 14 points per game. He tallied 14 points, seven rebounds, and three assists and a block in the Lancers’ 77-74 loss to Clark. Mustapha scored a game-high 17 points in the 78-60 setback to Roanoke, and then put up another 11 in the loss to Newport News Apprentice. Mustapha finished the week with a 47.2 field goal percentage.

Ian Converse (WPI | Sr. | Woodstock, Conn.): Converse averaged 18 points and nine rebounds in a 3-0 week for the Engineers. He was tabbed the Ted Coghlin Memorial Tournament Most Valuable Player following WPI’s overtime win over DeSales. He picked up his fifth career double-double on Friday night against Salve Regina and added 21 points, including 10 in the first half during Saturday’s title game.

Catching Up With Babson College Guard Taylor Russell

Babson College senior Ashley Russell and the Bears kick-off their 2016-17 season on Saturday, November 19th when they tip-off against Farmingdale State. (PHOTO CREDIT: Babson College Athletics)

Babson College senior Ashley Russell and the Bears kick-off their 2016-17 season on Saturday, November 19th when they tip-off against Farmingdale State. (PHOTO CREDIT: Babson College Athletics)

By Bob Whitney (@WhitneyBob

Taylor Russell is a senior at Babson College and a captain on this year’s women’s basketball squad. Russell, along with fellow captain Giovanna Pickering and seven others return from a team that went 21-6 last year and captured its fifth New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular season title since 2010.

Russell started nine times and appeared in 26 of 27 for legendary Coach Judy Blinstrub’s Green and White, averaging career highs of 9.3 points and 5.5 rebounds, while shooting 45.1 percent from the floor. Russell was a three-sport (basketball, lacrosse and volleyball) All-Star at Braintree High School in Braintree, Massachusetts.

Russell’s younger sister, Ashley, is a sophomore on the Penn Quakers basketball team.

Noontime Sports correspondent Bob Whitney recently spoke with Russell just prior to the Beavers’ first game of the 2016-17 season on Saturday, November 19 against Farmingdale State (Amherst College Tip-Off Classic 8 p.m.).

How prepared were you to play at the college level?

My high school coach, Kristen McDonnell, was a real stickler for defensive fundamentals – it was all about defense first. That skill set really helped me in my first year at Babson. I felt like I was a step ahead of the other freshman because we had spent considerable time on defensive skills (individual and team) at Braintree HS.

What have you noticed are the biggest differences in transitioning from playing in high school to college?

There are a couple of things that quickly come to mind. First of all, the pace of the game is so much quicker. Then the competition is much more intense and finally managing the time commitment between basketball and maintaining your studies. At Babson one of our guiding principles is students first and athletes second!

What challenges have you faced on the offensive end?

I have had to become a much more versatile player in college. I have had to learn the No. 2, 3 or 4 spots on the floor. I spent a lot of time learning and refining my post moves over the last three seasons.

What are the challenges of being a student-athlete?

No question maintaining a balance between basketball and the classroom. Time management is critical to your success. It was a real challenge, but I am glad that I made the sacrifice to do both.

What are the intangibles of playing a sport in college?

I have learned a lot, but I truly believe that hard work will pay off for you in the long run – whatever it takes to get the job done on the court or in the classroom. You also get the opportunity to make some incredible friendships along the way, which will hopefully become life-long. In addition playing a sport teaches you a lot about teamwork, decision-making, leadership, adapting to change and how to handle pressure.

Finally, what kind of senior season do you expect to have?

Well, we lost a number of very experienced players from last year so experience will be a factor in the early games. But we have some very good freshman this year and a transfer so I expect us to be right in the mix for the NEWMAC title. Last year we just missed the NCAA tournament but this year I expect us to earn the automatic bid.

Follow Bob on Twitter @WhitneyBob; like him on Facebook and Instagram.