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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

WBasketball season preview

Published: November 18, 2005
Section: Sports

Five years ago, were one to suggest that Brandeis womens basketball would be a Division Three power, Ill bet that someone would have laughed at you, since from 1992-2000/01 the Judges went a combined 85-130. Since then, Brandeis has risen quite nicelygoing 12-12, and then 13-11 before breaking through with a 22-5 record for 2003-04. Last season they went 23-4, 10-4 in UAA play, and won their second straight ECAC Championship and enter this season ranked number 8 on d3hoops.coms preseason poll.

Womens coach Carol Simon, entering her 19th season coaching womens basketball this year, was happy with the ranking but determined not to let it get to her head.

Its always a nice honor. I dont get overly excited about preseason polls because no ones played any games yet and people are going by last years record. But obviously its nice because it means youre being respected by other coaches and whoever votes on those things.

The ranking is well deserved as most of last years team returns intact. There were key departures though: Last years captains Catherine Brady and Emily Malkin have graduated, while Morgan Sevigny and Basia Grzyb have both left the program.

Expected to provide the leadership are new captains Amanda DeMartino 06 and Christine Clancy 06. DeMartino, a prototypical pass-first, shoot when necessary point-guard, is currently third on the Brandeis career assists list with 301 and needs 51 more this season to break the record held by Pam Vaughan (1987-90). Clancy, a forward/center, will look to help the frontcourt by building on her 11.2 points and 5.0 rebounds last year. There is also an influx of youth with six rookies that DeMartino and Clancy are expected to take under their wing. So far all reports are positiveone player told me to keep an eye on freshman forward Amanda Wells 09.

Also expected to step up are several returning players including guard Jaime Capra 08, an offensive talent who picked up 12.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game her rookie year. Capra will be expected to improve on those figures. Forward/center Caitlin Malkin 09 will be counted on to not only provide but be the inside presence for this team. Clancy calls Malkin, The biggest inside force in the UAA. She will dominate the boards on both ends of the court. Her strength is unmatched and she is not afraid to take on the double team. She also has good range and can step back and knock down the three.

One aspect of this years team that Coach Simon and her assistant, Coach Anthony Ewing (sixth year), like is the depth and experience at guard as well as explaining why their expectations are particularly high on the second year players.

Your expectations are high for all these guys now, especially since they have a year under their belt where they know the system. Kiersten [Holgash 08] and Courtney [Tremblay 08] will definitely help us with their experience, especially coming off some injuries last year, giving us some depth and experience in the guard position.

Coach Simon got to see a glimpse of her teams skill during their Sunday scrimmage against fourth-ranked Southern Maine. Playing three 20 minute games, Brandeis won one, tied the next match and lost the final game. Coach Simon was pleased with what she saw, I thought we played a really good team concept both offensively and defensively. Defensively I thought we did a really good job, getting up and down, making our rotations, talking and stuffcommunicating on the floor. Offensively we moved the ball very well, especially the first 20 minutes. Second 20, not as well but not badWe have pretty good ball movement, its just sometimes we break down a little bit but its not awful right now.

Admittedly, topping last years 23-4 mark will be a difficult, if not near impossible, task. Coach Simon does not see it that way though,I think its always a tough mark to reach you know after when you only lose four games but I think this team is very capable of reaching those same goals, the same record if not betterhopefully.

Brandeis opens up their season at home against Salve Regina Friday night at six and then either Mount Holyoke or Bates College at eight.

It is still too early to tell what to expect from this team. What I can safely assure you readers though is that, if nothing else, we are in for an entertaining season.