BABSON PARK, Mass.—After capturing a share of its third consecutive New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular season title last winter, the Babson College women's basketball is primed to continue its success in 2018-19.
READY, SET, GO
Under the direction of legendary head coach Judy Blinstrub, who enters her 35th season at the helm with 623 career wins, the Beavers bring back their top four scorers and 13 players in all from a team that finished 18-9 overall and 13-3 in conference play last winter. The Green and White returns 85 percent of its scoring and over 86 percent of its rebounds, and features five seniors that have helped the program win 63 games over the last three seasons.
STRENGHTH IN NUMBERS
Babson's senior quartet of Elizabeth Lane (Skaneateles, N.Y.), Tea Spellacy (Belchertown, Mass.), Katherine Tamulionis (Foxboro, Mass.) and Bianca Tomassini (North Branford, Conn.) give Babson one of the most experienced backcourts in New England. Spellacy (8.9 pts, 3.0 ast) shot 39.3 percent from three-point range and ranked second on the team in scoring and first in assists, while Tamulionis started 22 of 27 contests and averaged 8.4 points and 2.4 dimes. Lane, who reached double figures in eight of the Beavers' final 12 games, contributed 7.3 points and 3.4 rebounds, and Tomassini made seven starts and added 3.3 points in 12.1 minutes per contest.
PATROLLING THE PAINT
Senior Payton Ouimette (Medfield, Mass.), who transferred from Connecticut College prior to last season, averaged team highs of 13.4 points and 11.8 rebounds while shooting 51.1 percent from the floor in 27 starts in her Babson debut last winter. She led the NEWMAC with 17 double-doubles on the way to earning all-conference first team and all-region third team honors.
FORWARDS IN FOCUS
The junior trio of Emily Bonifacic (Allendale, N.J.), Jacqueline Jozefick (Milford, Conn.) and Vanessa Onwe (Tarrytown, N.Y.) are all looking to build upon solid sophomore campaigns. Bonafacic (5.0 pts, 4.2 reb) finished second on the team in rebounds, Jozefick (4.8 pts, 3.8 reb) averaged 6.0 points over the final eight games of the year, and Onwe contributed 1.4 points and 1.8 boards in 9.3 minutes per outing.
TURNING EXPERIENCE INTO PRODUCTION
The Beavers' five-player sophomore class will be looked to for contributions on both ends of the floor after playing valuable minutes as rookies last winter. Nicole Hiller (Rocky Hill, Conn.) knocked down a team-high 28 three-pointers and averaged 3.6 points off the bench, while Katie Jones (Ridgewood, N.J.) contributed 3.2 points and shot 74.2 percent (23-of-31) at the free throw line. Christina Bonfiglio (Westwood, Mass.) and Shaye Galletta (Riverside, Conn.) appeared in 17 and 16 games, respectively, and Caroline Owens (Charlotte, N.C.) saw action in eight contests off the bench.
The Beavers, who have won at least 12 games in league play over each of the last nine seasons, garnered one first-place vote and was picked to finish second when the NEWMAC released its preseason coaches' poll last week.
In addition to a 16-game conference schedule that includes two matchups with MIT, Springfield and WPI, Babson will face a number of quality non-conference foes. The Beavers open with Baldwin Wallace and Rochester, who both finished just outside the top 25 in the D3hoops.com preseason poll, will take on California Lutheran and Plattsburgh in Miami, and will host both Williams and sixth-ranked Tufts late in the regular season.