Coast Guard had an outstanding season last year as the Bears finished 19-7 overall and 14-6 in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC). It was the first winning season since the 2007-'08 season.
The season did end on a bitter note as the Bears were knocked out of the NEWMAC tournament in the first round by eventual champion sixth-seeded Springfield, a team Coast Guard beat twice during the regular season.
The Bears return eight players and three starters including their top two scorers in junior guards Torie Sutherland, a second-team All-conference selection last season, along with Meghan Fornaro, who both started all 26 games last season.
Sutherland led the Bears with 11.7 points and was second with 6.7 rebounds and 33 three-pointers last season. She also shot a team-high 37.4 percent from the floor. Fornaro was second on the team in scoring (10.8), assists (84), steals (48) and was third on the team with 4.9 rebounds per game and 28 three-pointers.
"I expect Torie and Meghan to step up even more now that they are juniors. A lot will fall on them and the style of basketball that we play will be geared toward them and I expect them to have big seasons for us," said Coast Guard head coach Alex Ivansheck in her third season.
Senior Alexi Howland (7.1 ppg.), who averaged 25 minutes per game last season is also back and will contribute in the back court.
Senior Leigha Steinbeck, who returns from an injury, and sophomore Amanda Roy are also back and will battle for time at the guard spots.
Senior Jamie Waterman (4.5 ppg./3.9 rpg.), who started all 26 games last season, returns in the front court along with senior Dani Knox (7.6 ppg.), who led the Bears with 7.4 rebounds per game as she came off the bench in all 26 games averaging 28 minutes per game last year. Sophomore Jacque Tousignant also returns in the front court.
The Bears welcome a trio of freshmen led by six-foot forward Gill Gerton, who is expected to make an immediate impact this season. She is joined in the freshmen class by guards Jill Bray, who is expected to see quality time in the back court, and Aimee Sinks, who has been slowed by an injury in the preseason.
"We are going to be very flexible with our lineups this year, we have the ability to go big or go small depending on the situation, something that we have not been able to do in the past," said Ivansheck.
Coast Guard will open the season at the Skidmore Invitational and take part in the Land of Magic Classic in Daytona Beach, Florida over the holiday break.
"We are looking to build on last year and advance in the NEWMAC tournament this season. We have a more difficult schedule with the additions of a pair of tournaments which will surely help us down the road with our NEWMAC portion of the schedule."
TO VIEW THE 2014-'15 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL ONLINE GUIDE -- CLICK HERE