Binghamton University womens basketball team enters the
2002-03 season with a young team geared toward making an impact
in the America Conference.
Although the Bearcats lost four key players to graduation, head
coach Laurie Kelly sees plenty of optimism for this upcoming
We lost a lot of key players (to graduation), Kelly
said. But we return some young, talented players. We also
have some newcomers who will bring something to this team that
we havent had in the past.
Binghamton traditionally has had a dominant scorer but this season,
Kelly asserts that the team will be more balanced in terms of
We will be a more balanced team this season, Kelly
said. In the past, weve relied on one person to
be our go-to player. This year, the scoring should be a lot more
returns to lead guards
The top returnee this season is junior point guard Kate Townley,
a third-team America East all-conference selection a year ago.
Townley led the conference in assists per game (4.36) and was
third with 2.50 steals per game.
This season, the hope is that she will continue to increase her
scoring. Townley jumped from 3.1 points per game as a freshman
to 6.6 points per game last season. In the second half of last
season, Townley excelled in all aspects of her game, as she averaged
11.2 points per game, 6.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.1 steals.
Kate has a years experience as the starting point
guard and is the team leader, Kelly said. Wed
like to see her continue to become more of an offensive player.
She stepped up in scoring during the second half of last season
and wed like to see her continue to do that.
Backing up Townley at the point guard position is sophomore Andrea
Herold, who saw action in every game her first season.
Andrea will continue to be the backup point guard,
Kelly said. She is a smart player with the ball and a great
Senior Iesha Eldridge started the first six games of last season
in the back court before settling into a reserve role. She averaged
2.3 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.
We are counting on Iesha a lot this season, Kelly
said. With a year under her belt, she has shown signs of
becoming an excellent player. She is so athletic and gifted that
we need to take advantage of that.
Two other returning players who will be counted on at the guard
position are sophomore Laura Scordino and redshirt freshman Kasi
the team as a guard this season is freshman Jennifer Blues. Hailing
from Overland Park, Kansas, she was a standout player at Blue
Valley North High School.
Jennifer has all of the tools necessary to be a standout
freshman in the America East Conference, Kelly said. She
is a good perimeter shooter and a very strong defensive player.
to pace small forwards
The top returning small forward is junior Leala Wegwerth. After
playing in a reserve role her freshman season, she started 21
games last year. Wegwerth averaged 6.7 points and 3.8 rebounds
per game. In the final 15 games, she scored in double figures
seven times. Wegwerths defensive play is a strength but
the hope this season is for her offensive game to progress as
Leala gained a lot of experience last season at the perimeter,
said Kelly. She has always been a very good defensive stopper
but she is also very gifted offensively, particularly in the
Two other returning small forwards are senior Kristyn Pluchino
and sophomore Molly Miller.
Freshman Rachel Laws joins the group of small forwards, having
concluded a stellar career at Cheltenham (Pa.) High School.
Rachel is an extremely athletic player, which is obvious
when you watch her rebound, Kelly said. She is a
strong rebounder and can get the ball to the basket.
returns at the post position
Junior Nicole Dypolt cracked into the starting lineup last season
when Leah Truncale went down with an injury. Pressed into a starting
role, Dypolt averaged 8.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game over
an eight-game span. Injuries, however, slowed her over the remainder
of the season.
Nicole has really battled injuries the past two seasons,
Kelly said. When shes healthy, she has showed what
she is capable of doing. She stepped up her game when Leah got
hurt and had one of the highest field goal percentages on the
team. The key is to keep her healthy.
Sophomore Kristin Hibler, played in all 28 games last season
and started three times when Truncale and Dypolt were injured.
With Truncale having graduated, Hibler should continue to see
an increased role.
Kristin is an athletic post player, Kelly said. She
is our strongest returning rebounder and got quite a few minutes
last year. Were confident that shell become a more
consistent offensive player in the post.
Two other returning post players are sophomores Dagmara Bartula
and Erin Forkey. Freshman Jen Haubrich, who had a standout career
at Bow (N.H.) High School, joins the post players this season.
Jen is a 4 player who plays very hard, Kelly said,.
She is a good rebounder is the type of player who will
go through a brick wall to help her team.
begins its second year in the America East Conference, which
could produce another wide open race for the conference title.
Last season, Hartford, which entered the America East Conference
tournament as the number five seed, captured the title and gained
the accompanying automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Once again, Binghamton will have home-and-home dates with all
eight conference schools (Albany, Stony Brook, Maine, New Hampshire,
Vermont, Boston, Stony Brook and Hartford). Non-conference home
games come against Cornell, Lehigh, Wagner and Army. On the road,
Binghamton travels to the Morehead State Tournament to open the
season (Nov. 22-23), where it will face Eastern Kentucky and
the host school in its first two games. Other non-conference
games on the road come against Syracuse, Columbia and Manhattan.
In addition, the Bearcats travel to Texas for back-to-back games
against Texas Pan American and Texas A&M Corpus Christi.
We have a good balance in our schedule between our conference
and non-conference games, Kelly said. We are excited
about meeting Syracuse for the first time ever. Our first game
of the year against Eastern Kentucky will be challenging and
should give us an early indication of where we are as a team.
Our trip down to Texas for those two games should be fun and
With the loss of several key people, Kelly envision a wide open
battle for the starting positions. When the season does arrive,
the hope is that the team will have gelled into a competitive
force in the America East Conference.
Our preseason should be very competitive, Kelly said.
We have five people who have had significant playing time
last season and our three freshmen all have great potential.