Basketball Notebook: Sheldon Announces Retirement From Tufts University

Bob Sheldon, who has coached the Tufts University men’s basketball team for three decades, announced his retirement Thursday. (PHOTO COURTESY: TuftsNow)

By Matt Noonan 

Prior to yesterday’s announcement from the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) regarding an update on the upcoming winter sports season, which has been canceled, Bob Sheldon, who has guided the Tufts University men’s basketball team for the past 33 years, announced he will be stepping down effectively on Thursday, December 31, 2020. 

Matt Malone, who has been an assistant under Sheldon for the past 15 years, will take over as the interim coach, according to Wednesday’s (Oct. 7) release from the Tufts University athletic department

Sheldon and the Jumbos matched a program record for wins (23) this past winter while capturing their first-ever NESCAC Tournament Championship by outlasting Colby College in double-overtime

“I was getting near the end of my career as it was, and then when Covid came up and the craziness with that, I just felt that it was time for me to go,” said Sheldon, via the Tufts athletic department story, which can be seen (and read) on the school’s athletic website. 

Sheldon noted he “went back and forth” with his decision to retire, but seems content with his choice to leave a program that he believes is in “a good spot going forward.” 

Prior to their season concluding earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Tufts won a pair of NCAA D-III Tournament games in Medford, including a come-from-behind win over Western Connecticut in the opening round. 

Sheldon, who is the program’s all-time winningest coach, would have entered his team’s 2020-21 season as one of the Top 25 NCAA D-III winningest coaches after being named the NESCAC and National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Northeast Region Coach of the Year in March. 

The 2020-21 NESCAC winter sports season has been canceled: As noted above, the NESCAC became the first New England D-III conference to cancel its upcoming winter sports season on Thursday, October 7, after postponing its fall season on Friday, July 10

While health and safety were stressed in yesterday’s release regarding the decision by the conference’s presidents, the NESCAC did note that some of their schools have made “significant modifications” to their current academic calendar, which would limit the number of games each program would be able to compete in.  

The NESCAC has made no announcement regarding spring sports – an update will most likely come in a few months – but the conference did say the league’s 11 schools could schedule non-conference games if they choose to. However, D3Sports.com has reported that some schools within the conference have already made decisions for its various winter sports programs, including Middlebury College, which announced yesterday that they “will not hold any athletic competitions during the winter season.” 

Elms College to join the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC): While it is uncertain if and when Elms College will resume athletic competition in the next few weeks or months, the athletic department did announce some exciting news earlier this week about joining the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) for the 2022-23 school year. 

The Blazers currently compete in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) and would join a former member of the eight-team league – that would be Dean College – which joined the GNAC as a full-time member at the start of the current academic year (2020-21)

Both Elms College basketball teams competed last winter in the NECC Tournament with the women’s squad advancing to the conference championship game against Mitchell College

The GNAC has welcomed a few new schools to its conference over the past few years, including Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts in 2017, and Colby-Sawyer in 2018. 

D3 Basketball: Noontime’s Saturday Conference Tournament Predictions

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By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

Welcome to the championship Saturday!

Before we officially tip-off a busy day of New England D-III basketball, I think it is time I dish out some predictions for who will win their respective conference tournament title this afternoon (or early evening).

And after today’s games conclude, we’ll turn our attention to another busy slate of championship games tomorrow.

So, without further ado, here are today’s predictions for ten championship games – enjoy the action, everyone!

Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC): Endicott over Nichols. The Gulls have some serious momentum on their side following Thursday’s dramatic win over Wentworth Institute of Technology. 

Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC): Endicott over the University of New England. I didn’t think the Gulls would beat Roger Williams earlier this week, but that road win provided them a home date (and a home town crowd this afternoon, too) for an important match-up with the Nor’easters.

Great Northeastern Athletic Conference (GNAC): Emmanuel College over Saint Joseph’s College. For the second-straight season, the Saints will find a way to beat the Monks and win their 17th conference crown.

Little East Conference (LEC): Western Connecticut over UMass Dartmouth. The Colonials looked pretty good the other night against UMass Boston and should continue their impressive play against the Corsairs.

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC): Westfield State over Worcester State. I picked against the Owls on Thursday – I thought Salem State was going to spoil their run to the NCAA Tournament, so today I’ll go with the Blue and White over the Lancers.

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC): Worcester State over Framingham State. The Lancers enter the final game of the MASCAC playoffs with some serious momentum following their win over Westfield State on Thursday.

New England Collegiate Conference (NECC): New England College over Mitchell. The Pilgrims’ offense produced 92 points the other night against Dean College and will dominate the Mariners defense this afternoon.

New England Collegiate Conference (NECC): Eastern Nazarene over New England College. The Lions are seeking their 22nd win of the 2019-20 season, which they will get against the Pilgrims.

North Atlantic Conference (NAC): Maine-Farmington over SUNY Canton. Terion Moss will continue his impressive play again this afternoon and guide the Beavers to both a conference championship, as well as a first-round appearance in next week’s NCAA Tournament.

North Atlantic Conference (NAC): Husson over Maine-Farmington. The Eagles soared to victory last night over NVU-Lydon and will do it again today against Maine-Farmington.

New England Basketball Weekend Watch (Friday, Jan. 17th)

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By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

Happy Friday, everyone – hope you are all staying warm on this bone-chilly (and windy) day in Boston.

Did I hear there was some snow in the forecast for tomorrow? When does the warm weather arrive?

Well, while we anxiously wait for temperatures that we had a week ago, let’s dish out a brand new ‘New England Basketball: Weekend Watch’ with some thoughts on a few local D-III games.


Colby College at Middlebury College (Friday, Jan. 17th at 7 p.m.): A battle between our top two teams in this week’s Noontime Top 10 Men’s Basketball Poll.

The Mules of Colby enter the contest riding an impressive 13-game winning streak – they extended that streak last weekend with back-to-back wins over Connecticut College and Trinity College. Sam Jefferson is one of two players in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) averaging 22.8 points per game – he will certainly be a player to watch on Friday evening, as well as someone the Panthers will need to locate when he is on the court.

As for the Panthers, they enter this marquee matchup with a 15-1 mark – they lost last weekend to Amherst College but rebounded the following day with a one-point win over Hamilton College. Tommy Eastman highlighted the Blue and White’s win over the Continentals – similar to Jefferson, he will also be a player to watch in this contest.

Noontime’s Prediction: I think the Panthers’ win over Hamilton provided them with some momentum that not only helped them against Albertus Magnus earlier this week but should assist them to make a few more plays than Colby, especially down the stretch. Middlebury will beat Colby, 81-78. 

Tufts University at Amherst College (Saturday, January 18th at 3 p.m.): It may be too early to call this a ‘must-win’ game for both teams, but as two of the top three women’s basketball teams in the NESCAC, this is a VERY important contest.

Since falling to Emmanuel College last month, the Mammoths have won 11-straight – they will attempt to make it 12-straight wins when they host Bates College this evening with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m.

Amherst’s Madeline Eck was named the conference’s player of the week on Monday – she entered the week averaging 15.6 points per game. The senior guard, who has played and started in all 15 games this season, has converted 72.1 percent of her free throws while averaging seven caroms per contest.

First-year coach Jill Pace has enjoyed a very successful start with the Jumbos, who enter this weekend riding a 14-game winning streak. Before Tufts visits Amherst on Saturday, they will travel to Hamilton on Friday for a 7 p.m. tip-off.

Tufts opened conference play last week with a 78-60 win over Wesleyan University – it was a game that featured a double-double of 28 points and 10 rebounds by Erica DeCandido. DeCandido will be a player to watch on the Powder Blue and White against the Mammoths on Saturday.

Noontime’s Prediction: This will be a good test for both teams, but Amherst has been impressive since falling to the Saints and should find a way to beat the Jumbos on their home court by a score of 63-57. 


Time for some ‘extra picks’ for the weekend! 

MBB: Tufts (MBB) over Hamilton (Jan. 17th): After falling to Suffolk University earlier this week, the Jumbos will find a way to bounce back against the Continentals before hosting the Mammoths on Saturday afternoon.

MBB: Emmanuel College over Lasell University (Jan. 18th): Coach Danny Lawson and the Saints should continue their recent momentum at home against the Lasers and score their first conference win of 2020.

WBB: Smith College over Emerson College (Jan. 18th): The Pioneers scored an impressive road win earlier this week against the Ephs of Williams College and should be able to continue that momentum on the other side of the state against the Lions.

MBB: Endicott College over Roger Williams (Jan. 18th): The Gulls have rebounded nicely since falling to Nichols College earlier this month with back-to-back wins over Curry College and Gordon College. Look for a big game on Saturday from Keith Brown and Jalen Echevarria.

WBB: Rhode Island College over UMass Boston (Jan. 18th): RIC appears to be the team to beat in the Little East Conference (LEC) – they enter Saturday’s match-up riding an 11-game winning streak. RIC’s Willcia McBorrough will be the player to watch in this contest.

WBB: Westfield State over Bridgewater State (Jan. 18th): After surrendering 101 points to Framingham State last weekend, the Owls have rebounded with some important conference wins over Fitchburg State and Worcester State. Look for Blue and White to extend their current winning streak to three games on Saturday.

WBB: Eastern Nazarene at Mitchell College (Jan. 18th): The Lions appear to be the team to beat (and watch) in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) – this has the making of a potential postseason preview.


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D3 Lacrosse Notebook: Springfield Gains Momentum With Win Over WNE

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By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

It was an important non-conference win on Tuesday for the Springfield College men’s lacrosse team, which gained some important momentum heading into it’s New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) clash this Saturday against Babson College.

The Pride netted 18 goals – the second most tallies they have recorded in a single game this season – to defeat Western New England (our seventh-ranked team in this week’s Noontime Sports Top 10 Poll) for their fourth win of the season.

Cameron Glover netted a season-high five goals in the win, while Zachary Schuette registered a hat trick and two helpers. Additionally, the Pride received a trio of goals from Jack Vail while Patrick Watson added five points on four assists and one goal.

For Springfield, the next few weeks are critical especially after enduring a difficult start to its current season. The Pride struggled in a trio of early March contests but did score an important non-conference win against Endicott College. They concluded the month with a 21-5 win over Emerson College before earning its first win of the new month yesterday against the Golden Bears.

With just seven contests remaining, including one non-conference contest with Middlebury College, every game is important for a unit that has made 11 consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament.

As of early today, the Pride is one of four teams with 1-0 marks in NEWMAC play, but their game against Babson certainly won’t be easy as the Beavers will also enter the Saturday meeting with hopes of improving to 2-0 in league play.

Sticking with the NEWMAC, Coast Guard Academy remains the top team with a 7-2 overall record (and 1-0 league mark). The Bears scored a hard-fought 14-13 win last Saturday evening against Clark University.

Coast Guard hosts UMass Dartmouth this evening at 7 p.m. before they visit Wheaton College on Saturday for a 1 p.m. face-off in Norton, Massachusetts.

Switching gears to the women’s game, fans of D3 lacrosse should keep an eye on a tight race in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) with Endicott CollegeRoger Williams, and University of New England locked in a three-way tie for first place.

The Gulls were my pick to win the conference this spring – I won’t change it, I promise! – but Endicott will certainly be challenged over the next few weeks when they take on their remaining conference foes, including Roger Williams and UNE. Both meetings will occur later this month. Wins over the Hawks and Nor’easters would help the Gulls secure the top seed for the conference tournament.

Becker College appears to be in the diver seat in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) with a 5-1 mark. They have rebounded from their lone setback of the season last month with back-to-back wins against Anna Maria College and MCLA. They will face Mitchell College this afternoon with hopes of earning their sixth win, but also their initial conference victory.

Dean College appears to be the front-runner in the NECC, thanks to five wins, including a 19-5 league victory last month against Becker. The Bulldogs are led by Anthony Trasacco, who has recorded 45 points on 30 goals and 15 assists. The Cheshire, Connecticut native has a chance to match his point total from last spring when he recorded 64 points on 45 goals and 19 assists.

Dean has just four games remaining before the NECC Tournament commences – they should be the favorite in their league’s postseason.

Finally, keep an eye on Wentworth‘s Brooke Paradis, who currently ranks 10th in NCAA Division III in goals per game (5.40). The Pelham, New Hampshire native is enjoying another successful season after posting career-highs in goals (62), assists (22) and points (84) one year ago.

This season, Paradis has notched 54 markers in 10 contests, along with 13 assists for 67 points. She has converted 17 free-position goals while snatching 55 draw controls and scooping 29 ground balls.

This past weekend, Paradais she netted her 200th goal in a 21-6 win over Nichols College while also setting a new program record for goals in a single game with 11.

Paradis and the Leopards have won seven of 10 contests this season. They will host Endicott this Saturday – it will be the teams’ ‘Senior Day’ with opening draw set for 2 p.m. A win over the Gulls would be a huge momentum boost for the Leopards heading into the final few weeks of the regular season.

D3 Hoops: The 2018-19 All-Noontime Women’s Basketball Team

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports & @Noontime_Hoops 

Another exciting season of New England D3 basketball has concluded, which means it is time to unveil our end of the year All-Noontime Teams, along with our Coach, Rookie, and Player of the Year, too.

This year’s All-Noontime Team was assembled by our Noontime Basketball committee, which is made up of coaches, media members, and athletic communication directors.

As always, make sure to stay connected with our Noontime Sports basketball coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_Hoops. 


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For the second-straight season, Bowdoin College women’s basketball coach Adrienne Shibles guided the Polar Bears to an NCAA “Final Four” appearance. (PHOTO COURTESY: CIPhotography.com/Bowdoin College Athletics)

Coach of the Year: Adrienne Shibles (Bowdoin College): Shibles guided the Polar Bears to the program’s second perfect regular season, along with a repeat appearance in the NCAA Division III “Final Four.” Bowdoin occupied the top spot in multiple polls this winter, including D3Hoops.com and WBCA, and matched the school record for wins (31) in a single-season. Shibles was recently named the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Division III Coach of the Year.


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Abby Kelly guided the Polar Bears to its second perfect season in program history this winter. PHOTO COURTESY (CIPhotography.com/Bowdoin College Athletics)

Player of the Year: Abby Kelly (Bowdoin College): The New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) and D3Hoops.com Northeast Player of the Year guided the Polar Bears back to the NCAA “Final Four” for the second-straight season after averaging 15.4 points per game in 33 contests. Kelly connected on 76.8 percent of her free throws while averaging 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per contest. Kelly became the 15th player in program history this winter to reach 1,000 points when she netted a game-high 27 points in a 72-59 win over Colby College in January.


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Caleigh Ryan became the second Wesleyan University women’s basketball player to earn NESCAC Rookie of the Year. PHOTO COURTESY: Steve McLaughlin/Wesleyan University Athletics)

Rookie of the Year: Caleigh Ryan (Wesleyan University): Ryan became the second Cardinal in program history to be named NESCAC Rookie of the Year after averaging 10.6 points per game in 25 contests, along with 7.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists. The New York, New York native posted double-figures in 12 contests, including 22 points in her team’s regular-season finale against Bowdoin. Ryan also helped Wesleyan qualify for the NESCASC Tournament for the second-straight winter with the Cardinals earning a trip to Amherst College.


All-Noontime Women’s Basketball First Team 

Madeline Eck  Amherst College  Rye, N.Y. 
Abby Kelly  Bowdoin College  Bombay, N.Y.
Kelsi McNamara Saint Joseph’s College West Newbury, Mass.
Jac Knapp Tufts University  Westfield, N.J.
Nakira Examond  UMass Dartmouth New Bedford, Mass.

All-Noontime Women’s Basketball Second Team 

Hannah Fox  Amherst College  Plymouth Meeting, Pa.
Maddie Hasson  Bowdoin College South Portland, Maine
Yuleska Ramirez-Tejeda Emmanuel College  South Boston, Mass.
Lauren Bondi Smith College  Burnaby, BC, Can.
Erica DeCandido  Tufts University North Wales, Pa.

All-Noontime Women’s Basketball Third Team 

Payton Ouimette Babson College  Medfield, Mass.
Taylor Choate Bowdoin College  Nashua, N.H.
Emily Pratt  Endicott College  Gardner, Mass.
Kenzie Worcester Husson University  Washburn, Maine
Kennedy Guest-Pritchett Smith College  Fairburn, Ga.

All-Noontime Women’s Basketball Rookie Team 

Keagan Dunbar Colby College Middlebury, Vt.
Peyton Perine Curry College  Fairfax, Va.
Christina Antonakakis MIT Holmdel, N.J.
Amina Wiley Mitchell College New Rochelle, N.Y.
Caleigh Ryan  Wesleyan University New York, N.Y.