Logo: Wesleyan Athletics

2006-07 Coaches Outlook

 

      Throughout the 2005-06 Wesleyan women’s basketball season the Cardinals were led by the senior trio of Ashley Mastrangelo, Meg Robinson and Hannah Stubbs, three of the best ever to wear the red and black.  Mastrangelo cracked the 1,000 point barrier in the conference tournament semi-final, Robinson followed her breakout junior year with another great season marked by leadership, all-around play and big shot making in the biggest games, and Stubbs finished the year as Wesleyan’s 2nd all-time scoring leader with 1,395 career points and was a three-time all-conference selection.  The class of ‘06 also took the squad to the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive year and finished their careers with a four-year record of 81-21 against the region’s and nation’s best teams.  Despite the loss of such an important and successful group the Cardinals approach the 2006-07 campaign with high expectations and the drive, leadership and talent to achieve them.
      Graduation day in 2006 saw the departure of better than 34 points and 18 rebounds per game, but the Cardinals believe and expect that they again can contend for the New England Small College Athletic Conference championship and reach the NCAA tournament.  Known for its commitment and hard work, the team returned to campus eager and focused. A rigorous strength and conditioning regimen as well as regular pick-up games have prepared the squad for the beginning of the season.  As has always been the case in Head Coach Kate Mullen’s program, it all starts with the senior class.  Another talented trio stands poised to guide the team through the voluntary but intense preseason, the rigorous NESCAC schedule (four NESCAC teams were selected to the NCAA tournament last year and three, including Wesleyan, reached the Sweet Sixteen the prior year), the always exciting Little Three battles with rivals Amherst and Williams Colleges, as well as a slate of non-conference tilts against some of the country’s top teams.  This year the Cardinals will open the year in a tip-off tournament at Emmanuel College in Boston, and travel to Phoenix during the winter break to play in the Grand Canyon Classic, all part of a challenging and exciting season that culminates in the NESCAC tournament and the opportunity to earn a third straight NCAA bid.
      Captaining this year’s team is Kelly Bowman ’07 from Guilford, Conn., the third Bowman sister to hold the position. Kelly plays with intensity and passion few can match and her tireless work ethic and seemingly endless hustle are two of her most valuable leadership traits.  One of the team’s top defenders both on the perimeter and in the paint, Kelly is often called upon to guard the opposition’s top offensive threat.  Ginny Hermann ‘07 of Austin, Tex., returns with one of the quickest catch-and-shoot motions in the conference.  Wiry and athletic, Ginny is set to make her mark on both ends of the court this year with her three-point range and strong takes to the hoop, especially in transition.  Sarah Milburn ’07 from Brooklyn, N.Y. will run the point again this year.  Her consistency and improved defense were keys to the team’s success last season, and her ability to see the floor and deliver the ball to her teammates, often with a crowd-pleasing flair, is only part of her game.  Sarah will take big shots, knock them down and is unafraid to put it down and drive.
      The junior class brings a mix of experience, finesse and toughness both inside and outside.  Nikki Maletta ’08, from nearby Durham, Conn., started all 26 games last season, spending time at both the off- and point-guard positions and demonstrated her ability to hit the three and get to the rim with penetration.  With a year of NESCAC experience under her belt (an injury cut her first season short) this crafty ball-handler promises to make an even bigger contribution this season.  Stephanie Savas ’08 from Brockton, Mass. is a tough and athletic forward who runs the floor well and can score both inside and outside.  Her defensive abilities and heart will make her an important contributor in the coming season.  Lucy Sprung ’08 of  East Dover, Vt., transferred to Wesleyan last year and was expected to bolster an already strong frontcourt, but a knee injury just four games in ended her season.  After a successful rehab and many hours in the weight room, Lucy will give Cardinal fans an opportunity to see an athletic and strong post player make an important contribution in 2006-07.
      The sophomore class brings size and versatility to the roster.  Ali Fourney ’09 is a 6-0 guard from Long Island, N.Y. and was named Rookie of the Year by the NESCAC coaches last season.  Ali was tied for second on the team in scoring and led the squad in both steals and blocked shots.  Her range extends well beyond the arc and she also relishes taking it to the hole and can finish with either hand.  Shannah Lively ’09 from Athol, Mass. was perhaps the most improved player over the course of last season.  This 6-1 post player has a soft touch on her jumper and an improved inside game and will be looked to for depth on the frontline.  Meredith Lowe ’09 is from Philadelphia, Pa.  A 5’10’ post player, Mer has tremendous leaping ability, great toughness, a sweet jump shot, and she knows how to finish inside.  After a strong frosh campaign she will be an important part of the Cards’ success this year.
      The first-year group brings needed size and scoring ability to the team. Kaitlin Halibozek ‘10 is from Berlin, Conn. and played at Mercy High School just up the road from Wesleyan.  This 6-0 forward played for the State Championship and hit the game-winning shot in the quarterfinals, demonstrating the confidence and poise she’ll need to make an impact as a first-year. Emilie Knight ’10 comes to Wesleyan from Winthrop, Me.  Another six-footer, Emilie has shown a nose for the basket and tenacity on the boards.  Kiah McAndrew-Davis ‘10 is a 5-10 guard from Durham, N.C. who knows how to score.  Kiah offers the kind of height on the perimeter necessary for a team’s success in the NESCAC and is another three-point threat the Cards can look to for offensive punch.
      With a tradition of excellence and success to build upon, the 2006-07 Wesleyan women’s basketball team is excited and prepared for the challenges ahead.  The goals are numerous, both daunting and attainable: another 20-win season; a NESCAC championship; a Little Three title; a return to the NCAA tournament and the Sweet Sixteen or beyond.  While they have their sights set high, the Wes women know that it is their hard work, commitment, and love for the game and each other that will carry them to success.