Assistant Sports Editor
After a disappointing first round exit of the NEWMAC Tournament to Wellesley College last year, the Springfield College women’s basketball team comes into the 2012-2013 season locked and loaded. The Pride will attempt to conjure a recipe consisting of senior leadership and young talent to improve on their 12-14 record from last season.
The Pride were hit hard with the graduation bug last May. Seniors and leading point scorers Kelly Murphy and Kelly Slattery have left Springfield after piecing together successful careers. Last season, the duo started all 26 games for the Pride. Slattery averaged 12.7 points and 5.2 rebounds a game, while Murphy averaged 8.6 points and 3.2 rebounds.
Departing from school along with Slattery and Murphy was the Pride’s starting point guard last season, Andrea Butler. Even though Butler graduated, the 5-foot-4-inch guard didn’t go very far. This season, Butler will be accompanying the Pride on the sideline, joining as an assistant coach. Last season, the product out of Cohoes, N.Y. averaged 4.5 points and 3.7 assists, also starting all 26 games.
With all of these holes, coach Naomi Graves and her staff will attempt to find the right players to give her team a chance at improving on last season. Graves, entering her 22nd season at the helm, will look to take a young, energetic group and guide them towards success.
“I am pretty excited about this new group. We have several new freshmen that joined our program; they’re talented, they’re young, they’re full of energy,” said Graves. “Even though we lost such a great deal of our offense, I am excited that we will gain a little more depth this year with the new players.”
Meghan Biondolillo, Emily Walker and Brie Freymuth will provide Springfield with senior leadership, as the rest of the team is made up of young talent. Other returners include junior Tamara Tribble ,and sophomores Andrea Moschetta, Riley Fake and Jamie Bickelhaulp.
Biondolillo is the top returner following her junior season. Starting in 16 games, the now senior averaged 7.7 points per game and knocked down 37 three-pointers along the way.
“We just want to be competitive this year,” said Biondolillo. “Last season we fell off after we came out strong in the beginning. We are just going to try and peak at the right time this year.”
Bickelhaulp had a strong freshman year last season and looks to pick up right where she left off. Starting 19 games for the Pride, the 5-foot-10-inch sophomore averaged 6.4 points and 5.9 rebounds a game.
Walker looks to make a solid contribution in the paint during her senior year. The forward was a rebounding machine, picking up 106 boards in 22 games, giving her an average of 4.8 per game.
Among the newcomers to the program is freshman Jessie Klauer. The guard from Lunenberg, Mass. will be looking to make an immediate impact with her speed and quickness with the ball.
The three-sport athlete from Lunenberg High School was the senior captain of her basketball team, and competed on the soccer team. She also ran the 200-meters and 400-meters on the track in the spring.
Enlisting in the Physician Assistant program here at Springfield, Klauer has the brains to go along with her athleticism. She has received many honors for her academic achievement in high school, including the AP Scholar Award and experience as president of the National Honor Society her junior and senior years.
Biondolillo, Klauer and the Pride will start off their season with the Brandeis Invitational in Waltham, Mass. on Nov. 17-18. Following this, the Pride will return home to host Williams College in their home opener on Nov. 20.