By Page Brown, contributing writer
Nathan Carson speaks to his players during a free throw against Bates College on Nov. 16. Courtesy of Jacqui Hamilton.
UMF’s women’s basketball team is off to a strong start under the guidance of newly hired interim basketball head coach Nathan Carson. The squad, who is sitting at 5-2, saw key wins including winning the Castleton Invitational Tip-Off Tournament and the UMF Tip-Off Tournament in their opening two weekends of play.
Carson came into the program familiar with the players and program as he served as an assistant coach for the men’s program since the 2014-2015 season. Carson himself is a UMF graduate, graduating in 2014 with a degree in community health and playing for legendary UMF coach Dick Meader. While playing for the Beavers, Carson saw immense success, starting for three years and scoring 536 points, while maintaining a 77.6% free throw percentage and 36.5% three-point field goal shooting percentage. During his senior season, the team reached the North Atlantic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship.
The new coach hopes to bring his success to the team as the squad looks for a deep tournament run.
“The team is off to a strong start, we have had some gritty wins in the first half of our season. We love to get out and run and have fun, and I know that when we do that, we can be a dangerous team in NAC play.”
The desire to reach the playoffs comes to no surprise as the team returns 13 players, including all five starters from the 2019-2020 season that saw the team reach the championship game. The veteran led group is headed by a large senior class, thanks in part to the pandemic granting two players an additional year of eligibility within the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Since the 2019-2020 season, the team has lost only four players: 2020 graduate Sara Lamb, 2021 graduates Halee Ramsdell, Kasey Talerico, and Chelsea Crockett. UMF forward McKenna Brodeur, a two-time first team all-star, looks to lead this year’s squad to a North Atlantic Conference Championship. She is joined by senior guard Alex Bessey, a second-team all star, and senior guards Makayla Wilson, Tia Day and senior forward Page Brown. Other key returning players for the Beavers this year include senior guard/forward Molly Folsom, junior guard Courtney Brent, and senior forward Cassidy Delano.
Yet the experienced group is also joined by a group of new players and coaches. Six players, Emily Small, Maddie Forgues, Kiely Renyolds, Jalyn Stacy, Jaycie Stevens, and Grace Woodman join the team. The group looks to make an immediate impact on the team, highlighting the talent on this years’ squad.
The squad was able to compete in only two scrimmages in the 2020-2021 season. However the 2019-2020 year saw the team going 14-14, culminating into a huge 70-63 win against conference foe Maine Maritime Academy in the NAC semi-final before falling to five time champion Husson University 70-60.