Calm Before the Storm: Women’s Power Rankings 1/4

After over ten non-conference games for the women of NESCAC basketball, the games that ‘count’ finally begin on Friday. I put count in parentheses because every game is important, but it is conference record determines playoff seeding— not overall record. Instead of traveling to unknown frontiers, teams will see familiar town signs such as Williamstown, Amherst, and Middletown. Obscure team mascots give way to ones we’ve become accustomed to: the Jumbos, Bobcats, and Panthers. Finally the alumni and non-winter athletes still enjoying winter break can boast to their friends how their school is better. Let’s take a look at the power rankings the day before conference play begins:

1). Amherst College (11-0)

Amherst comes into conference play with a perfect overall record. Only one of their eleven games was within a ten point score differential. The Momouths have simply dominated their opponents. One of the victories came over Little Three Rival Wesleyan in an absolute trouncing. Sharp Shooter Hannah Fox ‘20 has shown no signs of a sophomore slump. She has led her team in points and minutes thus far. Amherst’s strength in schedule hasn’t been great over these eleven games, but that shouldn’t take away from how good this team is. The squad opens up on its home floor against Trinity on Friday night. The strength of schedule definitely will pick up since the NESCAC is one of the strongest sports conferences in all of Division Three athletics. After Trinity, Amherst will play Wesleyan and Conn College. These games won’t be roll overs, but I expect Amherst to get to 3-0 in the league without too much trouble.

2). Tufts University (10-1)

Many Bowdoin Polar Bears fans won’t be too happy with Tufts landing a spot higher than their 11-0 Polar Bears. Tufts’ narrow loss to Albright College in a game right after Christmas doesn’t concern me in the slightest. I believe that Amherst and Tufts right now are still 1A and 1B. Every other game Tufts has blown out its opponent. I believe that Tufts has had a stronger schedule relative to Amherst and Bowdoin so far. With convincing wins against solid non-NESCAC teams, Tufts remains right there with Amherst. Jac Knapp ‘19 leads the charge for the Bo’s averaging just over ten points per game and an incredible thirty-three minutes per game on the floor.

3). Bowdoin Polar Bears  (11-0)

Kate Kerrigan
Kate Kerrigan ’18 (Courtesy of Bowdoin Athletics)

People believed that NESCAC women’s basketball is a two team league with Amherst and Tufts dominating the entire conference. Well, enter Bowdoin. After a solid run in the playoffs last year, the Polar Bears are looking to over take those two other teams. The real positive news is that Bowdoin won’t have trouble with Bates or Colby with complete blowouts over the two rivals in December. The non-conference strength of schedule isn’t great beyond those two teams. I don’t think Bowdoin has been challenged yet. They open up Friday against Bates, which shouldn’t be a big deal, but they host Tufts on Saturday. That’s going to be a huge game. The teams will inevitably meet again come playoff time, but this early season match can possibly send the teams in two separate directions momentum wise. Kate Kerrigan ‘18 leads the team in scoring, but she only logs around twenty-two minutes per game. That’s a great stat for Bowdoin, who certainly wants to make a deep tournament run with fresh legs.

4). Middlebury College (9-2)

There is a significant drop off following the top three teams, but I still really like how Middlebury has played so far. They flew to the West Coast to face the Claremont schools in a tournament. The California schools, in my opinion, offer greater competition to NESCAC schools looking to gear up for the conference season. The Panthers lost a heartbreaker in the first game to Claremont-Mud-Scripps before ending the trip with an impressive win over Pomona-Pitzer. I think Middlebury is poised to secure the fourth seed when it’s all said and done. The Panthers open up against Conn College on Friday and Wesleyan on Saturday. I think that Wes and Middlebury are two middle of the pack teams in the ‘Cac, so that should be an interesting game to watch. Maya Davis ‘20 has come into her own this year average around ten points per game and logging just north of twenty-seven minutes per contest.

5). Wesleyan University (8-2)

Olivia Gorman
Olivia Gorman ’19 (Courtesy of Wesleyan Athletics)

My ability to watch Wes in person probably boosts their ranking a bit. They took a trip down to Nashville, and came away with a winning streak. Prior to the Nashville trip, they took Williams to overtime, and beat them. Wes is a scrappy team with hustle plays at both ends of the court leading to positive plays. Olivia Gorman ‘19 leads the team in scoring at around twelve points per game. She stands only 5’ 4”, but her determination to get to the cup negates her lack of physical dominance

6). Hamilton College (9-2)

Like I said earlier, it’s really a toss up for these middle of the conference teams. Teams four through nine can all compete and really win on any given night. Hamilton has played well so far, but the only reason why they’re below teams four and five is their schedule. They didn’t take a trip to compete against schools from other parts of the country, so I don’t think that upstate New York schools are as good as the California schools or some southern squads. Hamilton doesn’t face any of the top three teams for a little bit; expect Hamilton to win some games at the beginning, but like everyone else, the narrative will change once they run into the top three. Carly O’Hern ‘20 is a solid guard, and leads the team in scoring averaging over eleven a game.

7). Connecticut College (9-2)

Mairead Hynes
Mairead Hynes ’18 (Courtesy of Connecticut College Athletics)

Conn knocked off instate rival Trinity in early December. The Camels have used that as momentum, and have churned out a solid record so far. Again, the strength of schedule so far hasn’t been great–understandably so. The Camels play Middlebury and Williams on Friday and Saturday respectively to open up league play. I would be surprised if they come out of the weekend 2-0, but if they do, that would prove that they’re one of the better teams in this conference. Mairead Hynes ‘18 has been dominant scoring the ball (17 ppg), which is second in the league.

8). Trinity College (9-2)

It’s hard to judge teams when they’re playing such different opponents. Similar to Hamilton, the only knock on Trinity is its strength of schedule so far. I think all the teams above them have played tougher opponents. The Bantams are still 9-2, but the arrival of league games will be eye opening for everyone. Trinity is led by Courtney Erickson ‘19, who averages a very impressive fourteen points per game

9). Williams College (8-4)

Kristin Fechtelkotter
Kristin Fechtelkotter ’18 (Courtesy of Williams Athletics)

Williams’ four losses have raised some eyebrows. One would think that those four losses would come as a result of some strong non-league opponents. However, losses to Rochester and Depauw aren’t going to cut it in this league. What happens when Amherst and Tufts come in? Williams can’t embarrass themselves. However, Williams is Williams and it’s hard to imagine that they won’t find  a way to win. Senior Kristin Fechtelkotter leads the team in scoring (13.3 PPG). The Ephs open against Wesleyan tomorrow and Conn on Saturday. Where do they travel the following week? Medford to face Tufts. That should be interesting.

10). Colby College (5-4)

It’s unfortunate for Colby and Bates that Bowdoin is their instate neighbor. 5-4 is a solid league record, but for non-league play, it’s not great. The same schools other NESCAC teams have blown out actually beat Colby or came close to beating them. It’s going to be a long season for the Mules, but at least they know they’ll have Bates below them. I feel like Colby is destined for the ten spot because they’re not nearly as good as the teams above them, but they’re certainly better than Bates. Haley Driscoll ‘18 leads the team in scoring, and is maybe the best center in a perimeter-dominated league.

11). Bates College (5-7)

As athletes, we’ve all been on bad teams. There’s nothing worse than going into a season knowing that your team is bad. I’ve been on plenty of bad teams in my life, which makes you truly understand how special the good teams you’ve been on are. There’s no circumventing this: Bates isn’t good. I don’t see them picking up very many league wins if any. It must be frustrating for Nina Davenport ‘18, who leads the league in scoring (20 ppg). She’s consistently one of the best scorers in the league, but Bates rarely backs her up with a W.

Nina Davenport ’18 has been somewhat stranded on Bates’ team this season.

Not Much Movement in the ‘CAC: Power Rankings Week 3

Madeline Eck ’20 and the Amherst Women’s Basketball team continue to roll, improving to 3-0 in conference on the weekend (Courtesy of Amherst Athletics).

This past weekend was a weekend of blowouts. In total only three games on the women’s side of the NESCAC were decided by single digits. While this certainly indicates some lack of parity within the conference, I think it also points to a clear delineation between the different tiers of the conference. There are clearly top dogs, Amherst and Tufts, teams proving their place among the conference’s best, Bowdoin, Middlebury, etc., and a third tier of teams struggling to remain competitive in a conference where the top two teams have looked decidedly dominant. Of course, this being the NESCAC, a fickle and unpredictable thing if ever there was one, anyone can beat anyone on any given weekend. So don’t let these rankings get you down if you don’t see your team at the top of the list! There’s always next weekend, and always a chance for a lower rung team to get hot at the right time (just ask the Wesleyan Men’s team from two years ago who parlayed a 5-5 conference record into a tournament championship!)

1. Tufts (16-0, 4-0)
Weekend Results: Defeated Middlebury 54-38, Defeated Hamilton 70-42
Tufts remain the cream of the crop of the conference. Their shellacking of Middlebury, in the notoriously difficult to play in Pepin Gymnasium, and their dismantling of Hamilton a day later further cemented their position atop the league standings. The Tufts defense was stellar, holding Middlebury to 28 percent from the field and Hamilton to 30.9 percent. The Jumbos were also great at protecting the ball from the opponent, averaging a low 10.5 TO/G for the weekend. It’s hard to write anything about the Jumbos that hasn’t already been said. They’ve been dominant against any and all comers this year, remain unbeaten in the league and at large, and show no signs of slowing down. With games against Wesleyan and Conn College next weekend its hard to see the run of Tufts dominance ending anytime soon.

2. Amherst (15-0, 3-0)
Weekend Results: Defeated Wesleyan 71-33, Defeated Conn College 69-35
Holding one opponent under 40 points in a college basketball game is impressive, but not allowing 40 points in a game for an entire weekend is insane. Amherst’s defense has been rock solid. Amherst is sacrificing a measly 37.3 points a game to their opponents and have absolutely stifled the opposition. The team does not lack offensive power though, averaging 70 points per game for the weekend. Some might argue that Amherst’s weekend of absolute dominance might have been more impressive than Tufts’, and there is some merit to that. Since the beginning of NESCAC play the two teams have been neck in neck in points allowed per game and in field goal percentage. The matchup between Amherst and the Jumbos on Saturday, February 4th could decide home court advantage in the NESCAC playoffs if neither team falters along the way.

3. Bowdoin (12-2, 2-1)
Weekend Results: Defeated Williams 54-47

Marle Curle ’17 paced the Polar Bears to a W this weekend (Courtesy of Bowdoin Athletics).

Bowdoin played in one of the three games this weekend that was decided by less than double digits. Their tilt with Williams was only decided by 7, but Bowdoin led by 8 at half and looked like the better team for much of the game. Bowdoin’s only NESCAC loss this season came against the top ranked Jumbos and it feels wrong to fault the Polar Bears for losing to someone that many consider the best team in the country. Bowdoin also retained their 19th national ranking in the most recent D3Hoops poll but there are certainly some issues facing them moving forward. Before conference play began I projected Bowdoin as perhaps a better team than Amherst or Tufts, but they have not shown that ability thus far in their conference games. While Amherst and Tufts have been blowing opponents out, Bowdoin has an average margin of victory of only 10.5. The team has also struggled to score in conference play, averaging only 55.7 points a game so far. Of course, NESCAC defense is notoriously tough so some might blame that for the recent swoon in points production, but certainly Bowdoin hoped to be challenging Amherst and Tufts at the top of the league and their offense will need to pick up to secure that position.

4. Middlebury (12-3, 3-1)
Weekend Results: Lost to Tufts 54-38, Defeated Bates 66-46.
Middlebury might not be too happy to catapult into the number 4 spot in these rankings. The last two teams slotted here, Trinity and Williams, have seen their fortunes turn sour over the last couple weeks as their weaknesses have been exposed. Hopefully (sorry for the bias), the same fate does not befall the Panthers. Their loss to Tufts, while ugly, is not a sign of despair. The team was boosted by the play of Catherine Harrison ’19 who recorded 12 points and 13 rebounds in the loss and continued her campaign for an all-league nod at the end of the year. The win over Bates was also certainly a positive sign. The Bobcats, far from being the bottom feeder I feared they might end up, have been a competent team for most of the year and played Bowdoin closely earlier this year. For the Panthers to blow them out as they did indicates that this team is for real. A win over Williams this Sunday and continued unimpressive (if still winning) basketball from the Polar Bears might propel the Panthers to the number 3 spot in these rankings!

5. Trinity (11-3, 2-1)
Weekend Results: Defeated Conn 77-72, Defeated Wesleyan 74-67
Trinity, after a disappointing first week of the season the Bantams bounced back with an impressive 2-0 weekend. While both of the team’s wins were close (only 5 and 7 point differentials in the two games), the milieu that is the middle of the pack needed a team at the top and Trinity fit the bill. Trinity’s overtime victory over Conn was particularly impressive. The team was led by a dominant performance from Courtney Erickson ’19, who poured in 19 points and grabbed 16 rebounds. Erickson also paced the Bantams against Wesleyan again scoring 19 points and pulling down 8 boards. The Bantams were particularly unselfish over the weekend, averaging 18 assists a game. If they can continue this level of play next weekend against Colby and Bowdoin, Trinity might lock up a higher position in the NESCAC standings.

6. Bates (5-10, 2-2)
Weekend Results: Defeated Hamilton 60-44, Lost to Middlebury 66-46

Allie Coppola ’17 has been on fire as of late (Courtesy of Bates Athletics)

My foot is firmly placed in my mouth. I projected the Bobcats, who had been woeful on both offense and defense, to be the worst team in the conference. But Bates has made me eat my words. Wins over Colby and Hamilton, albeit two of the lower teams in the conference, are nothing to sneeze at, and playing Bowdoin close in the first weekend of the season indicates that the Bobcats might be real. The ascendent play of Allie Coppola ’17 has been key to the success of the Bobcats. The senior forward led her team in rebounding and scoring in both games this weekend, averaging 24.5 points and 11 rebounds in her team’s two games. If Coppola continues to play like a bonafide player of the year candidate, Bates might scare some teams in the coming weeks. Things seem to be coming together for the Bobcats at just the right time.

7. Conn College (10-5, 1-3)
Weekend Results: Lost to Trinity 77-72, Lost Amherst to 69-35
Going 0-2 on a weekend is tough for any team, but the lower rungs of the NESCAC are so convoluted that it’s hard to distinguish one of these teams from any of the others. Conn gets the nod though due to their high powered offense. The Camels are averaging a barnstorming 68.3 points per game, 3rd in the league, while also shooting 40 percent from the field, good for 6th. The Camels are undeniably paced by the excellent play of Mairead Hynes ’18 who had 33 points and 12 boards against Trinity. But Hynes struggled mightily with Amherst, scoring no points and securing only 1 rebound in 14 minutes played. The team will need Payton Ouimette ’19 to help Hynes if the Camels hope to jump a few more spots and secure a position up higher in the conference.

8. Williams (11-5, 1-3)
Weekend Results: Lost to Colby 57-47, Lost to Bowdoin 54-47
Williams has been one of the hardest teams to pin down all year. They are clearly a talented team, especially when Devon Caveney ’17 is firing on all cylinders. The loss to Bowdoin this weekend is at least a little bit expected with how good Bowdoin is, but losing to Colby, particularly at home, has to raise some worries amid the Williams faithful. Williams’ offense looked positively dreadful against the Mules, mustering only 47 points on 29.4 percent shooting. The 6:20 assist-to-turnover ratio also spelled doom for the Ephs. The bench for the Ephs also only mustered 11 points per game over the weekend. Matchups next weekend against Hamilton, a team near them in the bottom of the rankings, and Middlebury, a team looking to secure their place towards the top of the conference, will surely be tests for Williams who will need to secure at least one victory to keep from becoming irrelevant in the closing weeks of league play.

9. Colby (7-7, 1-2)
Weekend Results: Defeated Williams 57-47
Colby, a team desperate for a win after starting the year 0-2, got just that when they defeated Williams 57 to 47 this weekend. The Mules were lead by Haley Driscoll ’18 and Emily Davis ’19 who pitched in 16 a piece during the game. The biggest takeaway for the Mules though might be the play of their defense. The team has sacrificed 56.4 points a game this season but beat that average by 9 points in the game against Williams. If the defense can continue to play this well, something that I can certainly see happening based off their steals per game (6th in the conference), blocks per game (3rd in the conference), and opponent 3 point field goal percentage (5th in the conference) Colby could gain steam and jump into the playoff picture. Of course they will also need to limit opponents’ opportunities closer to the basket, the team is allowing opponents to shoot 37 percent overall from the field, the second worst mark in the league. Colby can’t just try and outscore opponents all year, the upper echelon teams in the conference are just too good for that, so their defense will need to step up.

10. Hamilton (7-8, 1-3)
Weekend Results: Lost to Bates 60-44, Lost to Tufts 70-42)
Hamilton was certainly hoping to use their 1-1 start in conference play to jump into the upper reaches of the conference, but an ugly loss to Bates, and the expected defeat at the hands of Tufts have driven them farther and farther down in the rankings. Hamilton’s major problem has been their offense. Of course, a defense surrendering 65 points a game is not good, but their offense has been decidedly worse. The team averaged a pitiful 43 points a game for the weekend and struggled to shoot in both games, shooting 28.8 and 30.9 percent in their two games. The team also only averaged 7 assists a game for the weekend. Lauren Getman ’18 has been Hamilton’s rock for much of the season, but she disappeared for parts of the weekend leaving the Continentals without a consistent scoring option. Getman, and the rest of the Hamilton lineup, will need to score points on a more consistent basis to get out of the cellar they’ve found themselves in.

11. Wesleyan (5-9, 0-4)
Weekend Results: Lost to Amherst 71-33, Lost to Trinity 74-67
I’m not saying that a turnaround for the woeful Cardinals is impossible, but with each passing loss it is becoming more and more unlikely. With a conference season that only lasts 10 games, falling to 0-4 is a death knell for many a would be contenders. With games against the juggernaut Tufts and the talented Bowdoin still in the future, finding their way to a winning record seems a pipe dream at this point. Additionally, unlike other teams on the list Wesleyan has looked decidedly unimpressive even in their losses. Failing to crack even 35 points against Amherst is downright worrying, and allowing over 70 points in three of their four conference games is an equally distressing trend. I never want to write off a team before even the halfway point in the season, but Wesleyan looks to be in a pretty tough position, and maybe they should focus more on getting experience for their younger players, rather than trying to salvage a season that might already be gone.

It’s Finally Here: Women’s Basketball Conference Schedule Preview

Lauren Dillon ’18 has been a spark plug for the #1 Jumbos all season with her relentless hustle (Courtesy of Tufts Athletics)

While much has been said in the last week about NESCAC men’s basketball (5 teams in the top 25 as of the writing of this piece), the women’s branch of the NESCAC has been gearing up for the beginning of their own conference schedule. With 10 of the 11 teams boasting winning records going into conference play this weekend the next couple weeks are sure to be filled with exciting games and action. But, before the games start, I need to make some predictions as I am prone to do. I’m choosing to write this article in a power ranking format where each team will be positioned based on where I project them to finish in the final standings.

 

  1. #1 Tufts (Record: 10-0)

Tufts is currently ranked number 1 in the D3 hoops most recent women’s top 25 poll, so thusly they will occupy the top spot here. While Tufts doesn’t score at the rate of their NESCAC competition, averaging 64.5 points a game, their real strength lies in their defense. They are notoriously stingy allowing only 42.5 points a game. The Tufts anchor right now has to be senior center Michela North ’17. She is averaging 10.1 ppg and 7.8 rpg leading her team in both categories. Until someone unseats the Jumbos, who have been blowing people out by an average margin of victory of 21.9 PPG, they will remain at the top of this list.

 

  1. #2 Amherst (10-0)

Amherst is right on Tufts’ tail in both the D3 Hoops rankings and in these ranking where they occupy the same position: number two. Amherst’s offense has been flat out dominant this year. They are second in the NESCAC in ppg with 78.2 and in field goal percentage where they shoot a blistering 45.2 percent from the field. They also lead the NESCAC in 3pt percentage bombing away with a 37.3 percent success rate. Don’t knock the other aspects of Amherst’s game though. They lead the NESCAC in rebounding margin and are second in points allowed per game. The standout right now is junior guard/forward Hannah Hackley ’18. The Westford, Massachusetts product is averaging 11.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game, while shooting over 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from three. The only knock right now on Amherst is a slight worry about their lack of depth. They only have one senior on the team and rely heavily on their first 6 players. Of course, benches will shorten during the NESCAC season anyway and Amherst has proven in the past to be able to win with almost any collection of players, so they’re certainly looking forward to this season.

 

  1. #17 Bowdoin (10-1)
Following numerous post-season honors last winter, Kate Kerrigan is leading the Polar Bears again this year (Courtesy of Bowdoin Athletics).

Bowdoin, in many ways has been the best team in the NESCAC this year, but they have a loss so for now we’re dropping them below Tufts and Amherst. Even their loss though, a 70-62 overtime defeat to Claremont, can be excused at least partially as it was their first game after their Christmas break. Bowdoin leads the NESCAC in scoring so far averaging a stunning 80.7 points per game. They aren’t sacrificing efficiency though as they also lead the league in field goal percentage at 46.3 percent and surrender the fewest turnovers per game, only 13.7. Kate Kerrigan ’18 has been key to Bowdoin’s explosive early season play. The 5’7” guard leads her team in points a game with 10.5, and she is second in rebounding and third in assists. She’s also tied for the team lead in steals with 1.5 a game. However, it’s Kerrigan’s shooting prowess that really shines through. She’s shooting over 55 percent from both the field and the three point line while also leading her team in field goals attempted per game. Bowdoin will certainly challenge Amherst and Tufts this year and seems poised to threaten either team come NESCAC championship time. Their Friday night tilt at Tufts should be a wild one.

 

  1. Trinity (9-2)

After the top three teams, the league becomes much tighter. Four teams have two losses and all have also won at least 8 games. Trinity gets the nod here though as they combine a top four scoring offense with a top 5 defense. They have also been particularly dominant on the boards averaging a rebounding margin of  11.8 good for second in the league. After losing their season opener Trinity rattled off 8 straight wins and have displayed a potent offense, averaging 15.6 assists a game and shooting over 40 percent from the field. There are some concerns regarding their average of 17.2 turnovers per game, a number the coaching staff will surely hope to limit moving forward. Trinity relies heavily on sophomore center Courtney Erickson ’19 who is the only Bantam averaging double digits in points per game with 13.3. Her rebounding has also been excellent where she averages 7.4 per game. Trinity will have a chance to secure the number four spot this weekend when they play the next team on this list.

 

  1. Williams (10-2)

Williams is hot on Trinity’s heels for the fourth spot in the conference through the first 12 games of the season. Williams has proven that they can win both tight, ugly games (44-40 over Smith College) and in blowouts (66-46 over Springfield College). They also already have a quality win against a NESCAC opponent defeating Wesleyan in their Little 3 rivalry game 64-59. To maintain this position Williams will have to rely on a stingy defense that only allows 52.9 point per game. They are also third in the conference in field goal percentage defense forcing teams into shooting only 32 percent from the field. Much of Williams’ success will rely on Devon Caveney ’17. The 5’7 guard leads her team in scoring and stealing and is second on her team in assists per game with 2.7. Her coaches and teammates surely hope her three point shooting will improve (only 24.5 percent through 11 games) as NESCAC play begins and defenses tighten up.

 

  1. Conn College (9-2)
Payton Ouimette has been a leader for the Camels so far this season (Courtesy of Conn College Athletics).

Conn College has leapt out to an excellent start. One of their two losses came against Babson, a fringe top 25 team, and the loss was only by 9 points. Conn College has relied heavily on their offense, averaging 71.9 points per game, good for third in the league. Unfortunately their defense has been porous at times. They surrender 57.5 points a game, the second worst tally in the league, but this might be due to their high octane style of play. The Camels are second in the league in total field goals attempted and the gap between themselves and the third place team in nearly 50 shots. Conn relies heavily on two players Mairead Hynes ‘18 and Payton Ouimette ’19. Combined, the two are averaging 24.1 points per game and 16.7 rebounds. Hynes has also added 1.6 steals and nearly a block a game for good measure. The Camels’ hopes rest on the shoulders of these two and the rest of their starting five who have started all 11 games so far and are the only players averaging more than 20 minutes per game.

 

  1. Middlebury (8-2)

Middlebury has jumped out to a fast start and is looking to assert themselves as one of the better teams in the league. Much like several other teams on this list, Middlebury will live and die on the back of their defense. The Panthers currently allow a measly 47.5 points per game, good for third in the league, boast the fourth best rebounding margin in the league with 10.0, and only allow their opponents to shoot 33.7 percent from the field, good for fourth in the league. While the team’s defense has been commendable, their offense has struggled to consistently generate points. They rank in the bottom 4th of the league in points per game, assists per game, and field goal percentage. In their only two losses of the year the Panthers have failed to reach 50 points and struggled significantly from the field. A great deal of Middlebury’s offense comes from only 3 players, Colleen Caveney ’19, Catherine Harrison ’19, and Sarah Kaufman ’18, who are averaging 13.1, 10.0, and 9.7 points per game respectively. Caveney has been particularly impressive this year, averaging 4.3 rebounds per game, 1.4 steals, and shooting more than 44 percent from three on the season. Middlebury will have to step up their game on the offensive side of the ball to challenge for a spot at the top of the conference.

 

  1. Hamilton (5-4)

Hamilton started the season slowly, losing their first three games, but rebounded quickly and have gone 5-1 in the interim, hoping to continue that string of success in NESCAC play. Hamilton is a middling team in the conference on both offense and defense. They rank sixth in points scored per game and eighth in points allowed, but are the 5th best rebounding team in the conference based on rebounding margin with 8.3. Hamilton has also held their opponents to only 33.9 percent from the field and have also pressured opposing ball handlers well forcing 16.1 turnovers a game. Hamilton places a lot of their offensive burden on Lauren Getman ’18 the only player averaging double figures in points per game with 11.4. Getman has also been Hamilton’s leading rebounder on the year with 6.6 per game. The team as a whole has shot well from three, making these shots at a 33.3 percent clip, and Getman has been no exception shooting 55.6 percent from three on two attempts per game. Hamilton must hope for growth during NESCAC play from their second leading scorer Mackenzie Aldridge ’20 to challenge for a higher spot in the conference.

 

  1. Colby (6-4)

Colby ranks lower than Hamilton here due, at least partially, due to their propensity to get blown out when they lose. In all four of their losses Colby has fell by a double digit margin, and in two losses the margins were 20 and 22. Of course, one of those losses was in a non-conference battle with Bowdoin but that doesn’t bode well for a team hoping to remain competitive in the NESCAC after their trip to the semi-finals of the conference tournament last year. Colby has struggled on the boards compared to their NESCAC counterparts, only tallying a margin of 5.7 which is eighth in the league. Colby has also struggled to generate turnovers and allows their opponents to shoot 36 percent from the field, the second worst rating in the league. Where the defense has struggled, the offense has been at least serviceable. They average a middling 60.1 points per game, and have been the 6th most efficient team in the conference shooting 38.6 percent from the field. Haley Driscoll ‘18 has been the Mules’ bread and butter this year. The 5’11 center from Bedford, New Hampshire has been averaging 11.7 points per game and pulling 6.4 rebounds per game. She has also added 1.1 steals per game. Driscoll will need to carry much of the load for the Mules going forward.

 

  1. Wesleyan (5-5)

Wesleyan has played five games on the road in there first ten matchups, compared to only three at home, and have gone 1-4 in those games (the other two games were at neutral sites). They are certainly hoping an end of season slate that features seven home games will lead to more winning. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, that will mean stepping up their play on both sides of the ball. They are currently 9th in the league in both points scored per game and points allowed per game, and are worst in the league in both field goal percentage and three point percentage. They are also ninth in the league in assists per game and average the most turnovers per game in the league. The Cardinals will certainly need Maeve Vitale ’18 to step up in a major way during conference play. The 5’8 guard is averaging 10.7 points per game on 38.9 percent shooting, while also draining 36.2 percent of her three pointers on more than five attempts per game. Vitale is also pulling down 5.6 rebounds and securing 1.9 steals per game, good for second and first on her team respectively. She’s all over the place for the Cardinals, but someone is going to need to step up and help her out if they want to climb the standings.

 

  1. Bates (3-8)

Bringing up the rear of our first power ranking on the Bates Bobcats who have stumbled early in the season to a 3-8 record. Unfortunately for Bates it is hard to focus on just one issue with this team. They are last in the NESCAC in both points scored per game and points and allowed. They also struggle with field goal percentage defense and their rebounding margin of 0.1 per game is the only NESCAC average less than 1. The only two meaningful statistical categories where Bates ranks in the top 8 of the league are assists per game where they rank eighth, and three point percentage where they rank sixth on the third most attempts. Bates also lacks depth, 6 players average more than 20 minutes per game and after than only one player averages more than 10 (Madeline Foote ’19, who averages 10.1). Allie Coppola ’17 has been one of the few consistent bright spots for the Bobcats, playing and starting all 11 games. She is also averaging 9.7 points per game, 9 rebounds per game, and 2.5 assists per game, good for second, first, and second on her team respectively. Things won’t get any easier for the Bobcats in the coming weeks as they play #17 Bowdoin and then travel to play Hamilton and Middlebury next weekend.