Setting The Stage For The First Day of the NCAA D3 Women’s Basketball Tournament

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Mary Kate O’Day and the Framingham State women’s basketball team will make their NCAA Tournament debut on Friday against Amherst College. (PHOTO COURTESY: Frank Poulin/Framingham State Athletics)

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

We’re just one day away from the start of the 2020 NCAA D-III Women’s Basketball Tournament, which means its time to highlight a few things you need to know about this year’s postseason while also sharing some predictions, too.

Which New England teams will be competing in this year’s NCAA D-III Men’s Basketball Tournament? 

  • This year, there are 12 teams from our region that will begin their respective quests toward Columbus, Ohio tomorrow, including two teams that will be host sites for both the first and second rounds.
  • Here are the teams that will be representing New England in the 2020 NCAA D-III Tournament: Amherst CollegeFramingham StateEndicott CollegeBowdoin CollegeEmmanuel CollegeEastern ConnecticutSmith CollegeHusson UniversityNew England CollegeWilliams CollegeWestern New England, and Tufts University.

What are the first-round matchups, times and locations? 

Here is the schedule for tomorrow’s (Friday, March 6th) first-round schedule:

  • Tufts University vs. SUNY Poly, 5 p.m. (at Western New England)
  • Williams College vs. Albright College, 5 p.m. (at Ithaca College)
  • Eastern Connecticut vs. St. John Fisher, 5 p.m. (at Messiah College)
  • New York University vs. Emmanuel College, 5 p.m. (at Bowdoin College)
  • Smith College vs. DeSales University, 5:30 p.m. (at SUNY New Paltz)
  • SUNY Cortland at Western New England, 7 p.m.
  • New England College at Ithaca College, 7 p.m.
  • Brooklyn at Bowdoin College, 7 p.m.
  • Endicott College at University of Scranton, 7 p.m.
  • Framingham State at Amherst College, 7 p.m.
  • Husson University at SUNY New Paltz, 7:30 p.m.

Which teams could advance to Saturday’s (March 7th) second round? 

  • Amherst College: The Mammoths are the favorites in their pod as they should be able to top Framingham State tomorrow and then beat either Merchant Marine or Rowan University on Saturday. The Rams should provide some challenges for the Mammoths, so don’t expect Amherst to run away from Framingham State following the opening tip.
  • Bowdoin College: The Polar Bears could be the favorite on their side of the bracket – they should be able to beat Brooklyn, but could face some challenges against either Emmanuel or New York University. But I think the Polar Bear has what it takes to not just win two games this weekend, but perhaps advance to Ohio and possibly play Tufts in the national semifinals.
  • Smith College: The Pioneers enter the postseason with a great deal of momentum. They won three straight New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) tournament games last week, including back-to-back contests against MIT and Springfield College. For the Pioneers to advance to the second round, they will need to slow down a Bulldogs squad that has won 14 consecutive contests. DeSales has four players on their roster that are averaging 10 points or more per contest so for Smith to prevail, they will need big games from Amelia Clairmont and Katelyn Pickunka.
  • Tufts University: The Jumbos are primed for a deep postseason run – they should be able to get past SUNY Poly, a team they beat earlier this season, and then either SUNY Cortland or Western New England on Saturday. The loss to Bowdoin in the 2020 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) can certainly be used as motivation for games this weekend, as well as future contests later this month.
  • Williams College: The Ephs should certainly be in the mix for a second-round contest on Saturday, but face a talented Lions squad that fell short of winning their respective conference tournament championship. For Williams to be successful, they will need to find ways to stop Albright’s Dejah Terrell, who is averaging 22.4 points and 3.1 blocks per game. Additionally, they will need to keep their eyes Gabby Boggs, who is averaging 9.4 points and 9.4 rebounds. Williams will need a big game from Maggie Meehan, who enters the postseason clash averaging 13.7 points.

What first-round match-up will I be watching? 

  • SUNY Cortland vs. Western New England: The Golden Bears have not played a game since last month. But one can bet they have been preparing for Friday’ match-up with a Red Dragons squad that is 7-5 on the road this season. SUNY Cortland is making its first tournament appearance since 2010 and will be led by Beth Bonin, who is averaging 18.2 points per game. Western New England should be able to counter with their senior trio of Emily FarrellCourtney Carlson, and Meghan Orbann.

First-Round Predictions! 

  • Tufts over SUNY Poly
  • Western New England over SUNY Cortland
  • Albright College over Williams College
  • Ithaca College over New England College
  • SUNY New Paltz over Husson University
  • Smith College over DeSales University
  • St. John Fisher over Eastern Connecticut
  • Bowdoin College over Brooklyn
  • Emmanuel College over New York University
  • Scranton over Endicott College
  • Amherst College over Framingham State

 

Western New England Secures Our New England D-III Women’s Team of the Month

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Emily Farrell and Meghan Orbann have been two players to watch on Western New England this season. (PHOTO COURTESY: Chris Marion)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation 

Western New England has enjoyed a very successful start to its 2019-20 season.

The Golden Bears have won six of seven contests and head into their final week of the semester with some serious momentum. And that momentum, as well as their impressive play has earned WNE our Noontime Sports Women’s Basketball Team of the Month honor for November.

WNE secured the fourth spot in our weekly Top 10 New England D-III Women’s Basketball Poll yesterday for the second-straight week following a post-Thanksgiving Day win over Roger Williams.

Before their win over the Hawks, the Golden Bears picked-up some impressive regional wins against Babson CollegeEastern Connecticut State, UMass Dartmouth, and Worcester State.

WNE’s lone loss of the season came early last month against Springfield College.

This week, the Golden Bears will look to conclude the first semester with two more wins when they host Salve Regina University on Wednesday, December 4th before visiting Endicott College on Saturday, December 7th. Following their visit to Beverly, Massachusetts, the Golden Bears will be off until the first week of January when they host Westfield State.

WNE is currently third in field goal percentage (38.6%) in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), but first in free throw percentage (75.9%). Meghan Orbann is seventh in the conference in points per game (13.1), while Emily Farrell is tied for eighth with 13.0 points per game.

Players to Watch on Western New England: 

  • Meghan Orbann: The senior is averaging a career-best 13.1 points per game – she has tallied 92 points in seven games this season on 29 of 69 shooting … Orbann has converted 14 of 31 three-pointers and has pulled down 45 rebounds … Through seven contests, Orbann has recorded 14 steals and 13 assists.
  • Emily Farrell: The senior guard is averaging 13.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.3 assists in seven contests this season … Farrell is second on the team in points (91) and third in rebounds (33) … She leads the Golden Bears with 30 assists and is tied for second with eight steals.
  • Courtney Carlson: Carlson is third on the team in points (9.9), rebounds (4.7), and assists (2.0) per game … The senior forward’s 9.9 points per game is currently a career-best … Through seven contests, Carlson has recorded 32 rebounds, 14 assists, and 14 steals.