Women's basketball looks to replace four key starters

Of last year’s senior quad-captains-Shannon Russell, Caitlin Farrell, Marissa Maguire and LaShauna Barboza-Russell leaves the biggest shoes to be filled. A Second-Team All-NESCAC pick, she was Amherst’s all-time leading three-point shooter and had the second-most points in the program’s history.

Despite these key losses the team is optimistic. “Although we lost four seniors last year we have gained five first-years and a transfer who all possess real talent,” said Kimberly Glazier ’07. “Accompanied by the hard work put in from all the returning players, our team has the potential to be very successful.”

The team has reason for its optimism as a considerable group of returning players, led by senior captain Kate Herlihy, will look to fill the void. A strong junior class will also pick up leadership roles.

Last year’s second-highest scorer and the team’s leading rebounder, forward Katie Latham ’06, was also near the top in field-goal percentage in the NESCAC. Joining her are fellow juniors Julie Smith, Kristine Morin and Ali Flato. Smith, a forward, was ranked third in the conference in blocked shots last season. Guard Flato earned all-tournament honors at last year’s Vassar Invitational, proving herself as a force on the boards. Morin had a great sophomore campaign as well, averaging 10.1 points per game in conference play last year in the guard position. The trio should put up even better numbers this year.

Also returning are sophomores Glazier, Liz Avis, Cameron Passmore and Caroline Polales. Glazier finished 14th last year in the NESCAC in assists. Sidelined for a few games last year due to an injury, Polales is ready to bounce back; with 22 blocked shots last season, she will play a pivotal role on the defensive end. Her 10 points in the final game of the season bodes well for the contribution she has the potential to make this year. Joining the four is sophomore transfer Jenny Mueller, who was a competitive first-year for the Tufts University Jumbos last season.

Rounding out the squad will be five first-years-Khalilah Licorish, Matia Kostakis, Anne-Claire Roesch, Stephanie Reiff and Shaina Pollack-infusing the team with fresh intensity and competitiveness. Latham is spefically impressed by Pollack. “[She] has been a great addition to our team at point guard,” said Latham. “She has amazing court vision and is capable of making some incredible plays.”

Back at the helm are experienced co-coaches Billy McBride and Lynne Cinella. McBride, entering his 12th season at Amherst, was named the 2000-01 NESCAC Coach of the Year and holds a cumulative team record of 148-117. In her third season at Amherst, Cinella brings optimism and experience to the team. As an all-conference point-guard at St. Michael’s College, she was the Northeast-10’s leader in assists during her senior season. Assistant Coach Lynn Hersey is also back in the program, acting as a special tutor to the Amherst point-guards. As a standout at Plymouth State College, her knowledge of the game will help the young team.

The Lord Jeffs face their first test of the season this Friday against Albertus Magnus College. The game is part of the Colby-Sawyer Tip Off Classic in New London, NH.