Mass. College Hoops: NESCAC Preview (LINKS)

By Matt Noonan 

Our preseason basketball coverage continues with more links from the New England Small College Athletic Conference.

Three teams from Massachusetts (Amherst, Tufts and Williams) compete in this conference, so those are the links we’ve provided below.

Men’s Basketball

* Amherst College — After securing their fifth consecutive NESCAC crown, the Lord Jeffs season concluded in the third round of the March Madness tournament against Franklin & Marshal. This year, expect great things from  Aaron Toomey and Willy Workman, as well as Peter Kaasila and David Kalema. Amherst has a great deal of depth, which will certainly come in handy against Brandeis and Williams.

* Tufts University — Bob Sheldon knows what it takes to be successful, especially in a very competitive conference. Last season, the Jumbos concluded their campaign with 16-9 record, as well as a quarterfinal loss in the NESCAC tournament to Bates College. So, after this season last year, it’s expected that the men sporting the blue and white will be hungry for more wins this winter.

* Williams College — The Ephs will begin another season tomorrow when they host the Williams Tip-Off Tournament. Their first game is against So. Vermont. Williams will rely heavily on senior co-captains Nate Robertson and James Klemm.

Women’s Basketball

* Amherst CollegeThe 2012-13 season will certainly be an interesting one for the Lord Jeffs. Caroline StedmanLem Atanga McCormick and Kim Fiorentino all graduated, so that means some new players will have to step-up and fill the void immediately.

* Tufts University — Nine Letter-winners will anchor the Jumbos this season following their second straight trip to the March Madness tournament. Expect great things from Kate Barnosky and Bre Dufault this season.

* Williams College — Pat Manning knows that NESCAC is a tough conference year in and year out. So, to counter their competition, the Ephs will rely heavily on their senior class this winter.

Massachusetts College Basketball: D3Hoops Notebook

By NoontimeSports.com 

Catching up on some of the local Massachusetts Division III hoops squads.

* Browsing the NEWMAC website, I noticed that the MIT Engineers men’s basketball team is currently undefeated. Larry Anderson must be doing something right, especially since his team has figured out various ways to defeat quality opponents like Tufts University, Salem State, and Springfield College this year. This weekend, (Saturday, Jan. 21), they’ll host Worcester Polytechnic Institute, (WPI for short), which could decide an eventual conference winner.

* Besides MIT and WPI, Springfield, Wheaton College, Babson College, Clark University and the U.S. Coast Guard all remain in contention to earn the third, fourth, fifth and sixth seeds for the February tournament.

* As for the women’s squads in the NEWMAC – they’re all looking up to Judy Blinstrub’s Babson College Beavers, who’re a perfect 8-0 in conference play, and 12-2 overall. The Beavers struggled earlier this season, especially against Tufts and Williams College, but have seemed to recover quite well over the past few weeks.

*The Beavers will face the Cougars of Clark on Wednesday, which could determine the eventual conference winner, yet let’s not count out those Smith College Pioneers, who according to one source, “knows how to pick your pocket” on defense.

* In the NESCAC – Middlebury continues to be the dominant force, as they’re currently ranked the top team in the men’s conference. They’re 4-0 in conference play, as well as 14-0 overall, and yes, I know they’re not a Massachusetts school, but they’re currently the top team in the country, so show some respect to our neighbors up in Vermont.

* Amherst College’s men’s basketball team has only lost once this season, which was against the Brandeis University Judges, but since then, they’ve earned five significant wins against Wesleyan University, Connecticuit College, and Hamilton College. The Lord Jeffs begin a five-game road trip on Friday when they travel to Wesleyan College.

* Tufts University’s men’s and women’s teams have been fun to watch this season, too. Yes, they’re young, but also very talented. The Jumbos men’s team finally earned their first home victory last weekend against Bowdoin College, while the women’s squad picked up two important wins recently against Wheaton and Colby College.

* The Williams College men’s basketball team has been hot and cold as of recently, as well as won three of their last five contests. Junior James Klemm led the Ephs with 19 points, while sophomore Michael Mayer scored 14 against Connecticuit College.

* Similar to the men’s team, the Williams women’s basketball team recently picked up their second conference loss of the season, despite tallying 72 points against Connecticuit College. The Ephs will look to close out their three-game road swing on Thursday, Jan. 19, at Easter Connecticuit with a win before returning home to face Hamilton and Amherst.

* Speaking of the women’s basketball team at Amherst, they still remain d3hoops.com’s number one team in the nation. The Lord Jeffs haven’t lost a game all season, and are certainly a lock to win the NESCAC. Seniors Lem Atanga McCormick and Caroline Stedman have combined for 336 points in 14 games, while freshman Megan Robertson leads the team with 100 rebounds, (51 offense, 49 defense).

* The Fitchburg State women’s basketball team ended their 11-game winning streak on Jan. 7, when Bridgewater State defeated the Falcons, 78-59. The Green and Yellow have bounced back, and will look to earn their second conference win on Tuesday, Jan. 17, when they host Worcester State.

* Finally, the Westfield State Owls remain the top squad in the MASCAC. The Owls have won 10 games this season, and one of the biggest came on Saturday, Jan. 7, when they defeated Salem State, 85-54.

Massachusetts College Basketball: Recapping Saturday’s D3Hoops Action

The MIT Engineers earned their 11th "W" of the season on Saturday! (Photo Credit: MIT News)

By NoontimeSports.com 

The Division III college basketball season in Massachusetts is slowly approaching the mid-way point, but don’t worry hoop fans because there are still loads of games remaining in January and February to be played.

Here’s some interesting news and notes from Saturday’s games, enjoy.

* The MIT Engineers matched their best start in school history on Saturday, as they defeated the Tufts University Jumbos, 60-56. Junior guard Mitchell Kates scored the go-ahead layup with 21 seconds remaining in the second half to secure the team’s 11th win. The Engineers will host Wheelock College on Wednesday before enjoying a short holiday break.

* Wheelock College’s junior forward Keneisha Milton recorded a school record 24 rebounds against Bay Path College in the team’s eighth loss of the season. The Wildcats outrebounded their opponent, 66-43, as well as also set a school record for rebounds in a game. The Wildcats will look to earn their first win in a few weeks when they travel to Newbury College on Thursday, January 5, 2012.

* It was a tough week for the Smith College Pioneers, who dropped two-of-three contests against Springfield College (Tuesday) and Trinity College (Saturday). However, they did muster their third conference victory against the United States Coast Guard Academy on Thursday, 57-42. The Pioneers will return to the court once more on Wednesday when they travel to Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

* Junior guard James Klemm and sophomore forward Taylor Epley combined for 34 points, two assists, and nine rebounds, as Williams College cruised to their eighth win of the season against Springfield College, 68-57. The Ephs have now won seven of their last eight contests, and will enjoy a short break before returning to the court on Wednesday, December 28, when they travel to The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts for the Coach Connor Classic.

* Senior Jill Greenberg led the Ephs with 23 points and five assists, as Williams College’s women’s basketball team earned their eighth win of the season against Wesleyan, 69-55. Williams College currently remains atop the NESCAC, (New England Small College Athletic Conference) with Amherst College, who is [7-0].

* The Amherst College men’s basketball team suffered their first setback of the season, as Brandies University defeated the Lord Jeffs, 76-61. The Judges have now won four of their last six meetings against the Lord Jeffs since the ’07-’08 season.

Massachusetts College Basketball – Division III/November Team

Wheaton College's Brendan Degnan has been a major component for the Lyons this season! (Photo Credit: Wheaton College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

The first official month of Division III college basketball in Massachusetts is officially in the books, and now it’s time to look back at some of the great individual performances from the past few weeks.

Here’s a list of some of the men and women that earned our monthly honors, enjoy.

Men’s Basketball

Brendan Degnan (Wheaton College, Senior) – The senior guard has been a lightning rod for the Lyons this season, and certainly is one of the major reasons why Wheaton has experienced a great deal of success. Degnan finished the month of November with 85 points, 26 rebounds, eight assists and eight steals, as well as led the Lyons in points against Wheelock College and Emerson College, but only mustered five points against the team’s most recent opponent, Mount Ida.

Russell Braithwaite (Babson College, Junior) – The Beavers haven’t lost a game all season, and a major reason for that is due to Mr. Braithwaite’s play, who currently leads the team with 36 rebounds and 78 points. He’s also registered 10 steals too, and has one block through six games.

Marcus McDermott (Babson College, Junior) –McDermott is tied with teammate Braithwaite for total points, (78 points), but leads the team with 18 assists. McDermott led the Beavers with 19 points against Curry College on Monday, and will continue to be a major asset, especially against Emerson College, Tufts University and Amherst College in December.

Max Kaim (Wheelock College, Senior) – Kaim has helped the Wildcats offense and defense, but also leads the squad with 72 points through five games. He’s recorded 17 rebounds, 14 assists and 11 steals.

James Klemm (Williams College, Junior) – Klemm is off to a fast start, and leads the Ephs offense with 72 points, (14.4 points per game). He’s also tallied 21 rebounds, seven assists and four rebounds. His best game of the season thus far came against Wesleyan, as Klemm led the squad with 21 points, as well as contributed one rebound and two assists.

Willy Workman (Amherst College, Junior) – Mr. Workman has been a workhorse for the Lord Jeffs this season, and is averaging 16.3 points per game. He’s recorded 12 assists, 11 steals and three blocks, and has pulled down 11 defensive rebounds.

Noel Hollingsworth (MIT, Senior) – After six games this season, the senior center currently leads the squad with 98 points, and 20 offensive rebounds. He’s complimented the efforts of teammates Will Tashman and Mitchell Kates, who’ve also helped the Engineers remain undefeated.   

Can anyone stop Fitchburg State's Amy Fahey? (Photo Credit: Fitchburg State Athletics)

 

Women’s Basketball

Nicki Wurdeman (Babson College, Senior) – The pre-season All-American has been a major reason the Beavers are off to another successful start this season. Despite dropping their only contest of the month to Williams College, Wurdeman leads Babson with 82 points, and is tied with Kathleen King for 40 rebounds. Through four games, she’s handed out seven assists, and has recorded six steals and five blocks.

Kathleen King (Babson College, Senior) – It’s no surprise that King made this list, as she’s been a major reason for helping her team with points, (63), assists, (11) and rebounds, (40).

Sarah Collins (Babson College, Junior) –The junior forward has certainly complimented King and Wurderman’s play quite well. Through four games, Collins has scored 54 points, and leads the team with 12 blocks.

Jill Greenberg (Williams College, Senior) – The former Westwood High School Wolverine has done quite well this season, and not only leads the Ephs in minutes played, but has also recorded 65 points, 14 assists, and 18 rebounds.

Megan Robertson (Amherst College, Freshman) – The former Philips-Andover Academy star has excelled quite well at Amherst, and despite not starting four games, she currently leads the team with 54 points and 26 rebounds. She’s averaging roughly 19.8 minutes per game and could be added to the starting line-up soon, especially if her numbers remain consistent.

Rosa Drummond (Smith College, Sophomore) – The two-sport athlete is off to an amazing start. She’s registered 91 points in five games, along with 27 rebounds and 13 steals. The Pioneers have won five games this season, and certainly she’s a reason why her team has experienced a great deal of success.    

Amy Fahey (Fitchburg State, Sophomore) – Fahey has been “on fire” through five games, and leads the Falcons with 142 points. Yet, despite averaging 28.4 points per game, she’s also recorded 49 rebounds, seven steals and seven assists. 

Week One – Massachusetts Division III Men’s and Women’s Top-5

James Wang and his Williams College Ephs begin the season atop our Noontime Sports DIII Men's Basketball Poll!

By NoontimeSports.com 

Tuesday marks the official start date for a variety of Division III Men’s and Women’s College Basketball teams in Massachusetts, and with that being the case, here’s a look a some of the teams to watch during the opening week of the season.

Also, as a side note, Noontime Sports will provide a weekly Top-5 and certainly, we’d appreciate, as well as encourage any feedback from coaches, players or fans. Feel free to contact us with thoughts or opinions at NoontimeSports@gmail.com.

Men’s Basketball:

1.) Williams College – The Ephs ended their season with a crushing two-point loss to Wooster in the Division III Final Four, but appear destined to return to Virginia for the second year in a row. D3Hoops.com has Williams ranked third nationally, and that’s probably because of senior guard James Wang and junior guard James Klemm, who finished the season as two of the team’s top three scorers. Yet, one of the biggest questions entering the upcoming season will be who’ll fill the void of Troy Whittington, who led the squad with 250 rebounds. Williams will kick-off their season on Friday (Nov. 18) when they host Southern Vermont.

2.) Amherst College – Despite squandering an 18-point lead in the NESCAC, (New England Small College Athletic Conference) semi-finals to Middlebury, the Lord Jeffs came within two games of Division III championship, but fell to their archrival, Williams College. This season, Amherst will seek revenge against Middlebury and Williams, as well as battle the Ephs for the top spot in conference. Also, without Connor Meehan as the team’s main floor general, the Lord Jeffs will have to rely on sophomore guard Aaron Toomey and senior guard Taylor Barrise to carry the load. Amherst’s season begins Friday (Nov. 18) against Plymouth State.  

3.) Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – After a rather difficult loss last Friday to Harvard University, the Engineers will look to kick-off their season with a victory on the road at Curry College on Tuesday (Nov. 15) before returning home on Thursday (Nov. 17) against Gordon College. MIT’s six top scorers are back from last year’s [20-9] team, including preseason All-American Noel Hollingworth.

4.) Brandeis University – The Judges start the year ranked just outside the Top-25.  Head coach Brian Meehan will try to duplicate the start he saw last year, when his team won its first eleven games, en route to a [19-9] campaign that ended with a victory in the ECAC New England Championship game.

5.) Worcester Polytechnic Institution (WPI) – After losing the NEWMAC, (New England Men’s and Women’s Athletic Conference) championship to MIT in Worcester, the Engineers ended their postseason run with a loss in the second round to Amherst. WPI will need to find someone to replace Jeffery Robinson, who led the team last season with 471 points. WPI begins its season on Wednesday (Nov. 16) at home against Husson.

Women’s Basketball:

Can the Amherst College Women's basketball team return to the championship again this season? (Photo courtesy of NESCAC's website).

1.) Amherst College – After winning the Division III championship, the Lord Jeffs will enter the year ranked atop numerous polls as the team to beat.  Yet, despite adding four new members to their squad, the Lord Jeffs championship unit remains in tact with senior guard Caroline Stedman and senior forward/center Lem Atanga McCormick. The Lord Jeffs begin their title defense on Saturday (Nov. 19) when they host Norwich.

2.) Babson College – Despite ending their successful campaign with a loss to Amherst in the playoffs, the Beavers experienced one of their best seasons in program history with 30-wins, and appear to be even hungrier than last year. Seniors Kathleen King and Nicki Wurderman, along with junior Sarah Collins will be the main focal point of the Beavers offense and defense, and you can bet they’ll cause nightmares for opposing coaches. Babson will begin its NEWMAC title defense on Tuesday (Nov. 15) when they host Salem State.   

3.) Williams College – For the last two seasons, the Ephs have either ended their campaigns in the first or second round of the NESCAC playoffs, but this year, they appear to be a front runner to challenge Amherst. Senior Jill Greenberg will be one of the key players to watch this season, especially since she finished last year with 247 points and 71 steals, as well as led the squad with 133 assists. Also, the Ephs will need to find Taylor Shea’s replacement on the boards. The Ephs begin their season against Whitman at home on Friday (Nov. 18) before facing Babson on Saturday (Nov. 19).

4.) Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) – For the past two seasons, WPI has always finished second behind Babson, but could this be the year the Engineers challenge the Beavers for first place in the NEWMAC? The Engineers will rely heavily upon senior guard Lauren Hannmann, who finished the year with 322 points, 26 steals, and 23 assists. WPI begins their season on Tuesday (Nov. 15) against Brandies.   

5.) Tufts University – Replacing Colleen Hart will be the biggest challenge for the Jumbos entering the upcoming season. Tufts has been to the NESCAC playoffs the past two years, but has struggled against both Amherst and Williams. The Jumbos finished last season winning 10-of-11 games at home, but faltered on the road with a [5-5] record. If the Jumbos are going to challenge the Ephs and Lord Jeffs, they have to win on the road. Tufts kicks off their season against Babson on Saturday (Nov. 19) at the Williams Tip-Off Tournament.   

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