WILLIAMSTOWN, MA — The 2012-13 Williams College women's basketball team returns a talented, experienced and healthy senior class.
That's pretty good news for head coach Pat Manning, back for her 23rd season at helm of the Ephs. The Ephs have five of their six top scorers returning from a team, which finished 19-6 a year ago, and four of those five are from the senior class of six.
"This senior class is a special group," Manning noted. "They have demonstrated great leadership, work ethic and they are hungry for success. They have been setting a great example for our younger players."
Of course, very few teams come into a new season without at least one question mark, and the big one on Manning's agenda is finding a point guard to replace the graduated Jill Greenberg, a First Team All-NESCAC selection in 2011-12. Of course no decision has been reached yet, but Manning thinks she will find the answer in seniors Jennie Harding and Jen Borderud or possibly first-year Mary Kate O'Brien.
"It's going to be fun seeing how some players step into their new roles," Manning said.
One positive early on in preseason has been the return of senior Claire Baecher. The 6-2 forward missed the final nine games of last season with an injury and the Ephs struggled without her, going 5-4 after starting the season 14-2. Despite playing in only 16 games, Baecher led the Ephs in points per game (15.3), rebounds per game (7.5) and blocks with 61 (3.5).
Returning starter, forward Danny Rainer is a dangerous presence down low who averaged 8.9 ppg. and 5.0 rebounds per game. The aforementioned Harding will be back at guard, either point or two, where she's played the last three years. Harding averaged 5.9 ppg. last season. Senior Grace Rehnquist has been instant offense off the bench, and averaged 10.3 points per game last season. Borderud and Stephanie Browne round out the senior class and both will see time at guard. Borderud is one of the Ephs' best defenders.
"We have high expectations this season," Manning said. "I'm very excited about the versatility of our players."
The junior class is a class of one, forward Luiga Goodman will add depth down low for the Ephs. The sophomore class is three strong, and all three saw action last year, with Kellie Macdonald starting much of the season and averaging 5.4 points per game. Ellen Cook will see a lot of time from the two-guard, especially if Harding takes over at the point. And Megan Rogers adds depth at the swing guard position.
Manning is also excited about the first-year class, with the aforementioned O'Brien at guard, Katie Litman and Lauren Claypoole down low in the paint and Oge Uwanaka looking for time at guard and forward.
Manning has constructed another challenging schedule with Salve Regina and the University of New England playing in the season-opening tournament, RPI and Bridgewater State at the Holiday Classic and then a trip to California to take on Gallaudet and Whittier College.
"Once again, we're going to be tested early," Manning said. "I believe our team will rise to the challenge. Playing a strong non-league schedule will prepare us for what we will see once conference play begins."
Speaking of the conference, It will be stacked again. Amherst, Tufts and Williams are all ranked in D3hoops preseason 25. In addition Bowdoin and Colby both placed ahead of the Ephs in the conference standings last season, when Williams went 6-4.
"The NESCAC is, year in and year out, the toughest conference in the country," Manning said. "The same holds true for this year. We'll just concentrate on getting better every day."
The Ephs play Salve Regina Saturday, November 17th, at 6 p.m.
March 18, 2013 More Regional & National Honors for Claire Baecher
March 16, 2013 Ephs edge rival Amherst to net 3rd-place national finish
March 15, 2013 Ephs fall just short of DePauw in NCAA semifinal, 59-56
March 14, 2013 Claire Baecher named WBCA All-American
March 7, 2013 NCAA Women's Tournament Sectional Central
March 3, 2013 Ephs selected to host NCAA Sectionals March 8 & 9
March 2, 2013 Ephs advance to Round of 16 with win over Rochester
March 1, 2013 Ephs rally past Scranton in first round of NCAA tourney
February 27, 2013 Claire Baecher named NESCAC Player of the Year
February 24, 2013 Amherst denies Ephs NESCAC title with strong second half, 53-38
February 23, 2013 Ephs advance to NESCAC Championship for first time
February 16, 2013 Ephs surge past Wesleyan in NESCAC quarters, 72-43
February 11, 2013 Claire Baecher named NESCAC, NEWBA Player of the Week
February 10, 2013 Ephs vanquish No. 3 Amherst, 71-51
February 2, 2013 Ephs grind out a win over Bowdoin, 50-42
February 1, 2013 Ephs clinch playoff berth with 60-42 win over Colby
January 28, 2013 Ephs drop tight contest to Smith, 53-49
January 26, 2013 Ephs power to victory over Middlebury, 62-36
January 23, 2013 Amherst pulls away from Ephs for 54-48 victory
January 20, 2013 Williams claims win over Hamilton, 57-35
January 18, 2013 Ephs down No. 18 Babson on the road, 62-42
January 15, 2013 Williams comeback earns win over Plattsburgh State, 59-44
January 12, 2013 Ephs earn victory over Camels, 68-43
January 11, 2013 Williams defeats Wesleyan 68-50
January 5, 2013 Ephs take down Bates, 71-36
January 4, 2013 Ephs fall to Tufts in NESCAC opener, 61-57
December 30, 2012 Ephs conclude California trip with 82-38 win over Gallaudet
December 29, 2012 Williams shoots past Wisconsin-Lutheran, 72-55
December 8, 2012 Ephs cruise past Wesleyan 59-39
December 4, 2012 Ephs knock off Skidmore, improve to 6-1
December 1, 2012 Ephs narrowly fall to Bridgewater State 61-60
November 30, 2012 Williams downs RPI 68-52
November 26, 2012 Sophomore Ellen Cook chosen NESCAC Player of the Week
November 25, 2012 Ephs roll past county rival MCLA, 65-31
November 20, 2012 Ephs improve to 3-0 with 12-point win at Springfield
November 18, 2012 Williams Tops University of New England to Win Tip-Off Tourney
November 17, 2012 Williams downs Salve Regina in season opener
November 14, 2012 Women's Basketball Season Outlook 2012-13