Women’s Basketball

After the 2004-2005 season culminated in a run to the America East semifinals, the UVM Women’s Basketball team is looking to carry this success into the 2005-2006 campaign. A traditional conference heavyweight, the Catamounts are hoping to maintain the program’s prestige with a relatively young roster after graduating their top two scorers, top three rebounders, and senior leadership that can’t be measured in numbers. This year, the Catamounts are taking on an ambitious schedule, which includes teams from big time conferences like the Big 10, ACC, and the BIG EAST. All said, the ’05-06 slate kicks off November 18 against Colgate in the TD Banknorth Classic and includes four NCAA tournament teams from a year ago. They begin conference play on January 4 when the host the Hartford Hawks at Patrick Gym. Head coach Sharon Dawley returns eight players from a year ago. Among them, she will be looking for senior leadership from her two senior guards, Ashleigh Cuncic and Chrissy Battram. Cuncic led the team in three-point field goals a year ago, sinking 69 of them at a 43% clip. Battram is also a solid shooter and defender and averaged 25 minutes a game last year. The other returning Catamounts are led by sophomore forward Alexis Castro who is one of the top three scorers coming back from last year. She finished the season strong, averaging just over 19 points and almost six rebounds a game over the last three regular season games, including a career-high 22 points in the regular season finale against Maine. Among the remaining core of last year’s team, junior guard Brittney Cross, junior forward Alison Brown, and a trio of sophomores should continue to contribute while the freshman adjust to the college game. Coach Dawley has brought in five freshmen to round out the roster, a group that should provide a core for the future and contribute early on due to their combination of size and skill. Guards Sy Janousek and Amy Rosenkrantz hail from the same high school and have an existing chemistry that could provide a possible one-two backcourt combination in years to come. The other three recruits are all six feet or taller, and should provide depth inside. Jill Rademacher, Kelli Poles, and Andrea Cihal all come to the University after putting up very good numbers in high school, and have great potential for the future with solid coaching, conditioning, and practice. If recent years prove as any indicator, these newcomers should be welcomed into the family atmosphere of the program. The coaches look to the seniors to bring up the freshman and look toward the future, as this year should be somewhat of a rebuilding year with so many underclassmen on the roster. The UVM Women’s Basketball program has always been a conference heavyweight. Much of the success of the America East conference itself has been due to the success of teams such as UVM and Maine, with numerous trips to the NCAA tournament between them. Tradition is in the rafters at Patrick Gym. Before the men’s team became nationally known, it was the women’s team that drew the big crowds and created the buzz around Burlington. This team should turn some heads in the America East. They are young, but the talent is there to compete with more experienced teams. It should certainly be an interesting year for UVM Women’s Basketball.