It has been a productive season thus far for the seniors on the University of Maine women’s basketball team.
Kristin Baker, Amanda Tewksbury and Katia Bratishko have been providing experience and leadership for coach Cindy Blodgett’s team, which dropped a 76-39 decision Monday at Hartford.
Baker, a scrappy guard from Bingham, has emerged as UMaine’s top scorer (11.7 points per game) and also leads the team in assists (67), steals (36) and average minutes played (33.2). She also ranks first in 3-point field-goal percentage (.376) and turnovers (74).
Baker has scored 210 points this season, making it her best single-season total, even with at least 11 games left this season.
“She plays like a lot of kids that come in, maybe, undersized or they have something to prove,” said Stony Brook coach Michele Cherry. “She plays so hard and I have a lot of respect for players like that.”
Tewksbury, a swing player, has increased her production since last season. She is third on the team in scoring (9.4 ppg) and ranks second in rebounding (6.3 rpg) and steals (21).
Tewksbury, who had offseason knee surgery, has also been a better defensive player.
Bratishko, a 5-11 power forward, has blossomed during her final season. She has contributed a career-best 5.9 ppg along with 4.4 rpg, which is third on the ballclub.
Bratishko has scored 107 points this season, which surpasses the total from her 52 career games prior to 2009-10.
All three players have competed in all 18 games this season, with Baker and Tewksbury starting each one. Bratishko has been coming off the bench.
Help on the way for Bears
The UMaine women should be adding some depth in the near future with the return of Katelyn Vanderhoff and Tanna Ross.
Vanderhoff, a freshman guard, played Saturday against Stony Brook after missing the previous seven-plus games. Her bout with the flu during final exams week in late December sent her into a protracted period of illness.
Vanderhoff, who had been playing point guard prior to her illness, is a welcome addition to the backcourt.
“Katelyn, she can do so many things on the court, as we’ve seen in the preseason and early on in the season,” Blodgett said. “So we’re thrilled to have her back and we’ll work her into it [the rotation] so she’s comfortable out there.”
Vanderhoff’s return is magnified by the recent injury to Jasmine Rush. The sophomore guard injured her right knee during pregame warmups Saturday and has been sidelined ever since.
Her long-term prognosis is not yet known.
“That just means everyone else has to be ready to step in,” Blodgett said.
“I don’t want to ever see anybody injured, but if that is the case, it just means that minutes will be disbursed, so people have got to be ready,” she added.
Ross was back in uniform Saturday night, but did not play against SBU or Hartford. She finally returned to practice last week.
The junior guard from Newburgh has been working her way back from a broken foot suffered during preseason workouts. Ross, who connected for 74 3-point field goals during her first two seasons, would give the Bears a legitimate perimeter threat and bring the roster to 10 healthy players.
“Hopefully Tanna will be back soon as well,” Blodgett said.
Freshman guard Rachel Burns of Gorham (knee) and forward Shareka Maner (shoulder) are both out for the season.
Colby breaks into top 25
The Colby College women’s basketball team heads into this week on a high note after knocking off eighth-ranked Bowdoin 64-56 Saturday at Merrill Gym in Brunswick.
That, coupled with a win last week over instate and New England Small College Athletic Conference rival Bates College of Lewiston, has earned coach Lori Gear McBride’s Mules a spot in the top 25.
Colby was No. 25 in the D3hoops.com Division III poll released Tuesday. The Mules join Bowdoin, which dropped to No. 13, No. 2 Amherst and No. 16 Tufts as NESCAC representatives in the voting.
Colby, which also beat Wentworth Institute of Technology on Monday, improved to 12-1, marking the best start in program history.
Saturday’s victory over Bowdoin (12-2) broke a 19-game Colby losing streak to the Polar Bears. It was Mules’ first victory over Bowdoin since Feb. 10, 2001.
Colby also had not defeated Bates since the 2002-03 season, although that was a nonconference contest. The Mules will try to keep the momentum going with games Friday and Saturday at Tufts and Bates, respectively.
Vermont women ranked, for now
The University of Vermont women’s basketball team joined some select company Monday when it was included in The Associated Press Division I top 25 poll.
Coach Sharon Dawley’s Catamounts are ranked No. 24 in the country, making them the first America East team in 17 years to earn that distinction. The last? Vermont, back in 1993, when it was ranked for 17 straight weeks.
The luster didn’t last long, as Vermont lost 73-64 Monday night at Boston University.
Vermont is the only America East women’s program ever to be ranked in a national poll.
Vermont boasts a 14-4 record, including a 4-1 league mark. The Catamounts’ previous losses came against No. 1 Connecticut (17-0), No. 7 Nebraska (16-0) and Oklahoma State (15-2), currently ranked No. 12.