UNB Saint John Athletics
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Women’s hoopsters in hot pursuit of playoff berth

Author: Scott Briggs

Posted on Nov 13, 2019

Category: Varsity Sports , ACAA , Alumni , Basketball

SAINT JOHN -- The UNB Saint John women’s basketball team is all about balance.

Six different players scored in double digits to help the Seawolves win two of their first three games to start the 2019-20 ACCA season.  “When we’re running, we’re playing well,” head coach Kevin Munroe said. “We move the ball well and we move well in transition.”

While Munroe’s speedy squad has been strong offensively, the wily bench boss is also stressing the importance of an honest effort on the other side of the ball. That was especially evident in an 81-78 overtime road win over Mount Allison University.  “We looked after the boards in our own end,” Munroe said. “We didn’t give them any second chances in the last quarter and in overtime. We were giving them just one shot, and that makes a huge difference. We didn’t give up a lot of offensive rebounds. We don’t have a designated rebounder, so we have to rebound as a team.”

The victory over Mt. A saw second-year guard Julia Bennett of Quispamsis notch two offensive rebounds and 10 defensive boards. The former Kennebecasis Valley High School standout also led the Seawolves with 18 points, followed by Woodstock’s Jillian McNally (17), Miramichi’s Emily Fitzpatrick (12), Sussex’s Sophie Sharp (12) and Riverview’s Hannah Grossman (10).  Bennett also shone in her team’s other two tilts, scoring a game-high 29 points in the season opener, an 87-54 home triumph over Crandall University. She also chipped in with six assists and seven rebounds.  On top of that, Bennett was the top scorer in a 94-69 setback to Holland College in Charlottetown. Her early success is encouraging after last year’s battles with the injury bug.  “She’s really stepped up this year,” fifth-year veteran Kathryn Magee said. “She hasn’t had a bad game yet.”

Take-charge trio

Magee is one of three captains for the Seawolves, a trifecta that also includes McNally and Sharp. Aside from their abilities on the court, the three play pivotal roles between games, emphasizing a school-first focus.  “When we talk to prospects, we always tell them that’s what is most important,” said Magee, a former Saint John High Greyhound. “We’re a really close-knit group, which helps on the court.”

Munroe appreciates the contributions of his captains, all of whom are excellent students and community ambassadors.  “We have a good leadership group, both on and off the court,’’ the coach said. “All three are great role models.’’

The captains are going to great lengths to make this season count, staging their own team workouts without coaches.  “We’re holding ourselves accountable to each other instead of just relying on them,” Magee said. “We’re there motivating each other to work hard and win some games.”

All the effort is for another ACAA playoff berth. The Seawolves reached last year’s conference tournament, losing to the University of King’s College in the quarter-final. Munroe and his charges are eager to return to the post-season party.  “If we’re healthy and teams don’t bring their ‘A’ games, we’re going to give them fits,” he said.

Nice mix

Rounding out the roster are veterans Autumn DeMerchant (Woodstock), Sarah MacFarlane (Stanley), Gabrielle Fader (Halifax, N.S.) and Laura Steeves (Riverview), along with first-year players Madison Burns (Moncton), Lily Ramsay (Quispamsis), Lexi Hawryluk (Roblin, Man.) and Tessa Holmes (Quispamsis).  “We have a good cross-section of kids,” Munroe said. “It’s nice to give kids a chance to play and get a good education.”