Women's Basketball Season Outlook 2012-13

Claire Baecher '13
Claire Baecher '13

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.

Ephs take down Bates, 71-36
January 5, 2013 Ephs take down Bates, 71-36
Williams downs RPI 68-52
November 30, 2012 Williams downs RPI 68-52