The UVM women’s basketball season ended in defeat, but the team believes the program’s future is bright.
The season ended March 3 when they lost the America East quarterfinal game against the No. 2 seed University at Albany 60-42.
“The Albany game was our worst nightmare, because they found a way to consistently beat us by being more athletic and more physical,” head coach Chris Day said.
Albany led during the entire second half, scoring 29 points, according to UVM athletics.
This game highlighted the shortcomings the Catamounts can improve during the off season.
“We are focused on our strength, quickness and core,” Day said. “All of those physical traits that were troublesome throughout the season.”
First-year guard Kianna Funderburk expressed similar sentiments about shortcomings after the home game against Stony Brook.
“As a team, [we need to work on] playing together, making shots, playing defense, getting teammates involved and just communicating,” Funderburk said in a Feb. 25 Cynic article.
Earlier this season, UVM defeated the University of New Hampshire on the road 58-53, and three days later defeated Albany at home 62-57, according to UVM athletics.
“Beating UNH on the road, and then three days later beating Albany who was ranked first [in the conference], and a team UVM hadn’t beaten in eight years, was a really big accomplishment,” Day said. “The problem was we couldn’t get the energy back to win a few more games.”
Another accomplishment this season was having the least amount of committed turnovers in seven years, Day said.
The players embraced the importance of doing what’s best for the team.
“[We] wanted to play for each other and as a team put our all on the court,” Funderburk said.
This season, the team needed a starting point guard, so senior guard Katie Lavelle assumed the role.
“Katie Lavelle played out of position, sacrificing her career to play the point guard position, which is such an amazing thing she did for us,” Day said.
The Catamounts will have to replace some key players, such as senior guard Sydney Smith, who averaged the second-most points per game on the team, according to UVM athletics.
Junior forward Hanna Crymble, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, will return, and around her will be a large first-year class that starts with a promising point guard.
Next season, incoming first-year Rose Caverly will be the starting point guard, Daysaid.
“We finally feel like we are going to have a true steady point guard for four years and now feel like we can truly start building a program,” Day said.
The other signees for the 2018-19 season include guard Asha Scott, center Madeline Prestegaard, guard Nicole Crum, guard Eva Widmeyer and forward Abby Settelmeyer, according to UVM athletics.
“The biggest thing with this class is we have increased our quickness and athleticism, which will allow the team to apply more pressure and cause more stress to the opponent in a full court manner,” Day said.
The team ended the season 8-22, winning some games at home, but not doing as well with away games.
The team went 6-10 at home, but only 2-11 on the road, according to UVM athletics.
“Our schedule is set up for success next season as we don’t leave Burlington the whole month of November,” Day said. “We need to capitalize on that.
“The goal next year is to only lose one game at home and be 6-1 at home in November.”