UNE Selected to Stay On Top in CCC Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll

UNE Selected to Stay On Top in CCC Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The University of New England, six-time defending Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Women's Basketball Tournament Champions, were picked it the top spot once again in the preseason coaches' poll and will begin the year as the preseason favorite.

The Nor'easters earned 80 points during this year's voting, including eight of a possible nine first place votes cast by the league's head women's basketball coaches.

UNE went 16-2 (23-6 overall) to claim the CCC Regular-Season a year ago. It was the top seed in the CCC Championship Tournament and defeated No. 8 seed Eastern Nazarene, No. 4 seed Western New England, and No. 2 seed Roger Williams en rout to the title. The Nor'easters participated in the NCAA Tournament as the CCC's automatic qualifier and dropped a 76-63 decision to RIT in the first round.

Western New England was picked second in this year's poll claiming 65 points and the final first place vote.

Roger Williams followed close behind WNE with 65 points for the No. 3 spot. Last year the Hawks were the CCC Tournament Runner-up and earned an NCAA at-large selection. They played Emory and Henry in the NCAA first round and took a 66-55 loss.

The other 2018 CCC Tournament Semifinalist, Endicott, was picked fourth in the poll with 59 points followed by Salve Regina, which earned 43 points.

The final four teams in the poll were Curry (33 points), Gordon (30), Nichols (19), and Wentworth (10) In that order.

The women's basketball season begins on Thursday, Nov. 8 with one CCC team in action. Conference play begins on Wednesday, Nov. 28 with four CCC matchups. With only nine teams competing, the CCC Tournament takes on a new look with only seven teams qualifying this year. The top seed will receive a bye, while the six other teams play quarterfinal round matchups on Tuesday, Feb. 19. The semifinal round will take place on Thursday, Feb. 21, followed by the CCC Tournament Championship game on Saturday, Feb. 23. The winner of that game will be named the CCC Tournament Champion and will earn the conference's automatic qualifier in to the 2019 NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship.

Click HERE to view the whole 2018-19 CCC women's basketball schedule.

 

2018-19 CCC Women's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll

  Team Points (First Place Votes)
1. University of New England 80 (8)
2. Western New England 66 (1)
3. Roger Williams 65
4. Endicott 59
5. Salve Regina 43
6. Curry 33
7. Gordon 30
8. Nichols 19
9. Wentworth 10

 

2018-19 CCC Women's Basketball Previews

Contributed by each school's sports information department.

1. University of New England

The University of New England and 12th-year head coach Anthony Ewing will be seeking a seventh consecutive CCC title in 2018-19. Junior guard Jocelyn Chaput (Nashua, N.H.) is one of two starters back from last season, when she was an All-CCC Third Team performer. The Nor'easters also regain the services of junior Sadie Nelson (Windham, Maine), who received All-CCC Second Team accolades as a rookie before an injury in 2017-18. UNE only has one senior on the roster.


Jocelyn Chaput, UNE

2. Western New England

Last season, the Golden Bears went 17-10 (12-6 CCC) and reached the CCC Semifinals for the fourth consecutive year. Western New England will again look to challenge for the top spot in the conference in 2018-19 under 14th-year head coach Nicole Chaszar.

The Golden Bears will be led by senior captain Meghan Gilhool (Montrose, Pa.), who started all 27 games a season ago. Junior forward Meghan Orbann (East Hampton, Conn.), a 2017-18 All-CCC Third Team honoree, is Western New England's top returning scorer (9 ppg), while juniors Courtney Carlson (Woodbury, Conn.) and Emily Farrell (New Fairfield, Conn.) also figure to be key contributors for the Golden Bears.

Western New England's 2018-19 season gets underway on Saturday, Nov. 10, when the Golden Bears travel to Boston to face Suffolk. CCC play begins on Nov. 28 as Western New England hosts Roger Williams at the AHLC.


Meghan Gilhool, WNE

3. Roger Williams

Last year, the Roger Williams women's basketball team had arguably its most successful season in program history. Over the course of the year, the team set a new school record with 23 wins in addition to setting a new program record with 13 consecutive games won. The Hawks advanced to the CCC Championship game and made their second-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The team finished the year with an overall record of 23-6 and achieved its highest regional ranking ever, reaching a high of fifth.

This season, the Hawks will look build upon the success of last year and come away with the first CCC Championship in program history. To do so, Roger Williams will need to fill the void left by five graduated seniors, including 2017-18 All-CCC team selections Teagan Dunn and Anna Walther and 2017-18 CCC Player of the Year Mariah Nicholas. RWU will welcome eight freshman to this year's squad and return six players from last season's team, including starting junior guard Gabby Jerahian (Quincy, Mass.), who finished the year as RWU's third-leading scorer.


Gabby Jerahian, RWU


4. Endicott

The Endicott women's basketball team returns to the court looking to build off of last season's CCC Semifinal appearance. The Gulls ended the season with an overall record of 17-10 and a 14-4 mark in conference play.

Endicott returns All-CCC Second Team selection Emily Pratt (Gardner, Mass.), as well as several key student-athletes in Emma Tierney (Wolfeboro, N.H.), Catie Lipscomb (West Springfield, Mass.), Kaleigh Putnam (Wallingford, Conn.), and Mikaela Rogers (Haverhill, Mass.).

Emily Pratt, EC

5. Salve Regina

Salve Regina head coach Cori Hughes enters her 12th season at the helm with a deep senior class. Five Seahawks will graduate in 2019 and will help lead women's basketball back to a conference championship. Seniors Lauryn Becker (Hanover, Mass.), Kerri Beland (Attleboro, Mass.), Tara Burke (Londonderry, N.H.), Liv Pierce (Tyngsboro, Mass.), and Mikayla Roderick (New Bedford, Mass.) could comprise a starting five, but Hughes also has talented junior and two-time All-CCC guard Torie Scorpio (Cranston, R.I.) who was the league's rookie of the year in 2017. Noelle Mancini (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.), Brooke Meredith (Plymouth, Mass.), and Dani Oddo (Cross River, N.Y.) arrive as newcomers for Hughes's 2018-19 squad. "I am looking forward to another competitive year of CCC women's basketball; every team poses a threat and every game promises to be a battle! I think our senior leadership coupled with our talented youth will be a winning combination for the Seahawks this season."


Kerri Beland, SRU

6. Curry

Curry returns seven student-athletes from last season, highlighted by 2017-18 All-CCC First Team selection and CCC Defensive Player of the Year in senior captain Emily Irwin (Billerica, Mass.). Irwin led the CCC in points per game (18.2), steals per game (5.6), and tied for the league lead in assists per game with 4.5. The Colonels top returners are all starters from a year ago: Irwin, Sam Bamford (North Easton, Mass.), Molly Plunkett (Quincy, Mass.), and Gina Coote (Dedham, Mass.). Also returning for the Colonels are Caroline Kilduff (Rockland, Mass.), Maeve Foley (Wethersfield, Conn.), and Zoe Gallishaw (Springfield Gardens, N.Y.). The Colonels will also welcome back Marie Desmornes (Waltham, Mass.) as well as welcome in seven newcomers for 15th-year head coach Fran Elms.


Emily Irwin, CC

7. Gordon

Gordon women's basketball will return its top five leading scorers from the 2017-18 campaign, who backboned the Fighting Scots to their best record since the 2004-05 season. They will rely heavily on junior guard Meghan Foley (Malden, Mass.) who has been invaluable to the Scots' scoring output over the course of her career, last year averaging 16.2 ppg and dishing out 40 assists. Gordon will also lean on the veteran leadership of seniors Brooke Dyson (Houston, Texas) and Jess Ryan (Milford, N.H.), who averaged 6.5 ppg and 6.6 ppg, respectively.

Gordon opens its season in less than a week, welcoming Emerson to the Bennett Athletic Center on Nov. 8 for a 7 p.m. tip off.


Meghan Foley, GC

8. Nichols

The Nichols College women's basketball program lost three of its top four scorers from last season's squad, leaving plenty of opportunity for the younger student-athletes to make an impact on head coach MaryLynn Skarzenski's program. Junior Jessica Larsh (Bolton, Conn.) is the team's leading returning scorer (10.1 ppg) while sophomore Isabella Nerney (Guilford, Conn.) returns after averaging 7.1 ppg as a freshman. Junior transfer Ciarri Formby-Lavertu (Mont Vernon, N.H.), sophomore transfer Melody Millett (Naples, Maine), and freshmen Tove Selberg (Lulea, Sweden), Amanda Donoghue (Plymouth, Mass.) should all receive extensive playing time, as well as senior Rebecca Clearly (Milford, N.H.), who missed all of last season due to injury.

 
Isabella Nerney, NC

9. Wentworth

The Leopards return a core of its roster for the upcoming season, and will specifically rely on its top-two contributing sophomores Stephanie Mini (Topsfield, Mass.) and Erin Morton (Norway, Maine). Mini, who finished the year averaging eight points and four rebounds, ended her freshman campaign on a tear, dropping 10 or more points in her final six of seven games played, including 23 points in Wentworth's narrow setback to UNE (68-65). The Leopards will also lean on Morton, who finished last season averaging eight points and 4.3 boards, and finished with 201 points during her rookie campaign, next to Mini's 202 total. Wentworth opens the 2018-19 season at Elms on Nov. 10.


Erin Morton, WIT

 

ABOUT THE COMMONWEALTH COAST CONFERENCE

The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), founded in 1984, is an NCAA Division III athletic conference comprised of nine full member and one associate member institutions throughout the New England region. Its membership aims to provide student-athletes with a positive experience in their pursuit of excellence through high academic standards, quality competition, and a meaningful student life. The conference administers championships in 18 intercollegiate sports.

 

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