The Husson University women’s basketball team will have to adjust to life without graduated North Atlantic Conference Player of the Year/Defensive Player of the Year Chandler Guerrette but the league’s coaches feel they will make a successful transition by picking them to win the league again.
Husson of Bangor has won the last two NAC Tournament titles and, last season, earned its first ever NCAA Division III Tournament win, 74-72, over DeSales University of Pennsylvania at Tufts University in Medford, Mass.
Host Tufts eliminated Husson 64-44 in the next round and Tufts wound up playing in the national championship game where it lost to Amherst 52-29.
Husson earned six of the 10 first-place votes among the league’s coaches and 92 points. The Eagles were followed by Castleton, which received 86 points and three first-place votes; Colby-Sawyer (83, 1), New England College (71), Castine’s Maine Maritime Academy (66), Lyndon State (45), Thomas College of Waterville (37), UMaine-Farmington (29), Johnson (28) and Green Mountain College (13).
Coach Kissy Walker’s Husson Eagles were 23-5 a year ago and 16-2 in the NAC. Over the past two seasons, they are 38-16 overall and 33-3 in conference play.
They are 48-6 in NAC regular season contests over the past three years.
In addition to guard Guerrette, who averaged 14.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 3.5 steals per game, Husson also graduated guards Dara Morales (12.6 ppg, 2 spg) and Denae Johnson (5.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2 apg, 2.1 spg).
But returning are All-NAC first team guard Kenzie Worcester (team-leading 15.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.6 apg, 2.1 spg) from Washburn, sophomore center Sami Ireland (7.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg) from Howland, Plymouth senior forward-center Anna MacKenzie (5 ppg, 5 rpg) and sophomore guard Sarah Bragg (4.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg) from Glenburn.
Walker, in her 27th year at Husson, will have four newcomers in Millinocket guard Emma Alley, Garland forward-center Megan Peach, guard Amanda D’Amico from Merrimack, N.H., and former Hampden Academy/Lee Academy guard Jordan Butler.
Husson opens the season against St. Lawrence University (N.Y.) on Saturday at noon in Williamstown, Mass. before facing host school Williams College on Sunday at 1 p.m.
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