Tag Archives: Babson College Women’s Basketball

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.

Mass. College Sports: Mid-Week Notebook (LINKS)

By Matt Noonan 

Happy July 1st, everyone!

The summer is usually a slower period, but also a time where some news and links are shared about the collegiate sports world. So, we have decided to initiate a once a week mid-week notebook to share stories and news. This will be a weekly post for the next few weeks before our fall sports preseason coverage begins.

Thanks again for circling back and remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@NoontimeSports & @NoonSportsBlog)!

* In yesterday’s Boston Herald, we learned that UMass Boston honored former Boston State men’s ice hockey head coach, Ed Barry.

* Babson College alum,  Jenn Gottberg, will be inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame. As noted in the release, “She will become the first player in program history to be enshrined as part of the Class of 2015 ceremony at the DCU Center on August 8.”

* As noted in the Wheaton College Athletics’ Summer Baseball Update (Week 4), Mike Gibbons, a New York Mets draftee that is pitching for the Brooklyn Cyclones, picked up his second minor league victory on the bump. Chris Denorfia – also a Wheaton Baseball Alum – went 6-for-14 last week with the Chicago Cubs.

* The Northeast-10 Conference produced its 2014-15 highlight reel, which you certainly will want to check out! Lots of great highlights and moments from the past school year, enjoy!

* Smith College announced the hiring of Katie Moore, who has been named head coach of the lacrosse team for the 2016 season.

* The Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) announced Westfield State University has named Colleen Bannister as the new head women’s softball coach.

2013 Mass. College Sports Predictions

By Matt Noonan

The New Year has just begun, and while many are still recovering from their celebrations and parties, others, like myself, are asking their crystal ball about 2013.

2012 was an exciting year in sports, especially in the college sports world in Massachusetts. And below are my predictions and thoughts on what could occur over the next few months.

Boston College will win the Hockey East: The Eagles head coach just celebrated a major milestone this past weekend, as Jerry York scooped up win No. 925. He’s now the sole leader in wins in NCAA hockey, but the spotlight was quickly repositioned to his team. Boston College currently resides atop the Hockey East standings and is definitely the frontrunner to capture another conference crown in March. I’m confident that this crew can do it again, but if injuries occur, Boston University or New Hampshire might be the second or third best bets.

Babson College’s Conference Winning Streak Will Conclude: It’s very likely that the Beavers will once again win the NEWMAC (New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference) in February, but I also think their 68-game streak will be snapped, too. Smith College was the last team to defeat the Green and White in 2009, and ever since, Judy Blinstrub’s squad hasn’t dropped a single conference match. However, with the second half of the season set to tip-off tomorrow for most teams, I wouldn’t be totally surprised if the Pioneers (Smith) or Clark or Springfield beats Babson in January or February.

Jim O’Brien Leads Emerson College To A Winning Record: Last season, the former Boston College and Ohio State head coach guided the Lions to 7-19 campaign. This year, Emerson’s men’s basketball team is 4-5, and could possibly finish the season with a .500 record.

UMass Men’s Basketball Goes Dancing: I am very confident about the Minutemen, and believe they’ll earn a spot in the March Madness Tournament. They are the clear favorite in this area, and will certainly make the Bay State proud.

Tufts Softball Returns To The NCAA Championship: Against one of the best home run teams in the country last May, the Jumbos surrendered three long balls, which eliminated them from the championship. This season, I’m expecting the Powder Blue and White to return to the tournament. Although, I’m not sure if they’ll win it, but I certainly like their chances despite losing four valuable seniors.

Framingham State Football Three-Peat: They’ve won the MASCAC (Massachusetts State Athletic Conference) the past two years, and this fall, they’ll do it again. The Rams won’t be competing in the NEFC (New England Football Conference), but will still face some non-conference foes, which will prepare them for another shot at NCAA glory.

AIC Football Will Be The Team To Beat: They’re young, fast and now have two years of experience under their belt. The Yellow Jackets from American International College will certainly be the team to beat in the Northeast-10 Conference, I guarantee it.

What’re your predictions? Do you think another college or team or player will endure a great deal of success this year? Let us know by leaving a comment below or sending us an email (NoontimeSports@gmail.com).

Remember to follow Noontime Sports on Twitter (@NoontimeSports or @NoonSportsBlog). 

NEWMAC Women’s Final Recap: Babson College 74, Smith College 51

By Matt Noonan 

BABSON PARK, MA – For the second year in a row, Babson College defeated Smith College to capture their fourth consecutive NEWMAC crown, as well as an automatic bid for the upcoming NCAA Division III tournament.

“It’s always great to win a championship,” said Babson head coach Judy Blinstrub. “I’m just so proud of these kids. They [gave] all they had all year, and everybody’s doubted us, but we never doubted ourselves.”

Blinstrub’s Beavers earned the lead for good when sophomore Allanah Wynn, (10 points) connected with junior Katerina Mallios, who recorded a jump shot at 17:37, which provided Babson with an 8-6 lead that eventually ballooned to a 74-51 victory.

“Allanah does an awesome job finding the open players. She’s smart, she knows exactly when to pass, so it [worked well on that particular possession],” said Babson junior Sarah Collins, who ended the game with 17 points and 13 rebounds.

Babson ended the first session on a 30-13 run, which was ignited by some impeccable defense that held Smith to 26.7 percent from the field.

“I just think when we key in on defense, we’re really tough to beat,” said Blinstrub. “We’re going to get our transition baskets from our good defense, but everyone of our players can shutdown somebody, and we stepped it up another notch today.”

Babson continued it’s offensive surge in the second half, as Collins recorded a jump shot at 18:27, which sparked the Beavers to go on an 11-2 run that preserved the lead for good.

Smith College freshman Paulina Solis, (14 points, three steals) answered on the ensuing possession when she registered two points on a layup to propel the Pioneers to finish the game with an additional 28 points, which wasn’t enough to catch Babson.

“They’re a really good team,” said Blinstrub. “Smith plays great defense, and we just had to play our game and make sure they didn’t rattle us with their defense. I thought that we played smart. We played smart and took care of the ball.”

“It’s always hard to beat a team three times in a season,” said Collins. “We know them so well at this point, and know how they play.”

Babson has now won 65 consecutive conference matches, and will return to the court later this week to prepare for their upcoming quest toward a national championship.

“I don’t care who we play [because] I’m ready to dominate,” said Collins. “And I know my whole team is right behind me when I say that.”

Wurdeman Notches 2,000th Career Point

Early in the second half, Babson senior Nicki Wurdeman collected a pass from Mallios to record a layup at 16:18 to give the Beaver a 49-21 cushion. However, that particular layup didn’t just extend Babson’s lead, but it also provided the co-captain with her 2,000th career point in a Green and White jersey.

“It was pretty great,” said Wurdeman. “It was awesome to share it with all my friends, who’re also my teammates, so it was a really good experience.”

Wurdeman also shared a special moment a few weeks ago with her friends, and classmates when she netted 24 points against Colby College to become the program’s all-time leading scorer.

“She’s just a pleasure to have [on this roster],” said Blinstrub. “She’s the most unselfish player. She could care less about her award, she cares more about her team, and she’s just a great kid, outstanding player, and we’re fortunate to have her.”

Wurdeman ended Sunday’s contest with 14 points and eight rebounds, and is certainly excited about her team’s chances in this year’s tournament.

“We’re going to win the national championship,” said Wurdeman. “That’s all I’ve got to say.”

Wurdeman Becomes Babson’s All-Time Leading Scorer

By NoontimeSports.com 

Babson College senior forward Nicki Wurdeman tallied 24 points on Tuesday evening against Colby College, which lifted the Beavers past the Mules, 65-59.

Wurdeman’s 24 points also pushed her past Michel Merten Diodati, as Babson’s all-time leading point scorer for the women’s basketball team with 1,940 points.

Merten Diodati, who presented Wurdeman after the games with flowers to celebrate the milestone, finished her career with the Beavers in 1995 with 1,927 points. She held the record for 16 years.

Babson has two more regular season games remaining, and it’s likely that Wurdeman will increase her point total against Clark University and Springfield College.

To read more about the historic evening, CLICK HERE for the press release via Babson Athletics.

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