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.
Samantha LeBeau Contributing Writer
The UMF Women’s Basketball team had a successful season overall, despite recently losing to Husson during the North Atlantic Conference Championship (NAC) game. This year’s outcome leaves the team with a somewhat disappointed, but determined mindset as the season comes to an end and they look towards the future.
The women’s team traveled to Husson for the weekend to play at Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) and Husson for the NAC Championship title. In the NAC final four, UMF faced MMA winning 70-63, then challenged Husson for the title, losing 70-60.
The team finished in fifth place last year in the NAC. This year, however, they stood in third. “Every season is different and we will face new challenges a year from now,” Head Coach Jamie Beaudoin said. “Our group is certainly excited about the opportunity to see if we can take the next step and earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament.”
Although Husson was undefeated this year, UMF anticipates a fight for the title in the next season.
Beaudoin, who has been head coach for 20 years, reflects on the progress from last season. “We made improvements in our record from a year ago, but we also raised our level of competition,” he said. “Improved players and giving our best effort in practice led us to be more prepared for our games.”
Assistant Coach Noah Carroll said, “The girls played really well this weekend and throughout our playoff run. I think they really hit their stride, and the shots started to fall this weekend at a high percent.”
This left Carroll with high hopes and expectations for next season. Despite the loss to Husson, “I would say our season went really well,” Carroll said. “We doubled our wins and made it to the championship game, which the program hasn’t done since 2007, I believe.”
Beaudoin believes that the girl’s determination to improve is going to carry the team to next year’s NAC Championship, “We must have a great summer with individual development, and return to campus in the fall hungry for success,” he said. “Next year we’ll have sixteen girls returning in hopes to get back to the NAC Championship and to win.”
First year player Samantha Creech said, “We beat MMA for the first time this season, after losing to them twice in the regular season.” She said, “No one gave up during that game and that is what helped the team win.”
Many fans from Farmington traveled to Husson to support their home team in the championship game. “The atmosphere of the games this weekend were great, we had a lot of fans from Farmington at both games.” Creech said. “You could feel the intensity when the scores were close from the crowd.” Although the girls fell to Husson in the final game Creech said, “I can’t speak for the rest of the team and for Coach, but I thought the season was a success! We made it to the Championships!”
Jade Petrie Contributing Writer
The UMF women’s basketball team has been off to a great start in the NAC conference with a record of 7 wins and 2 losses.
The team is led by senior captain Sara Lamb as well as head coach Jamie Beaudoin and assistant coaches Noah Carol and Dylan Eustis.
Women’s basketball recently played one of their hardest games of the season against the Thomas College Terriers. The beavers put up a fight, keeping the win within reach the whole game with a final score of 58-53.
Junior McKenna Brodeur finished the game with a high of 12 rebounds and both Brodeur and Molly Folsum scored eight points. Sophomore Paige Brown scored the second most points, coming in with ten points and going 4-5 from the floor. Junior Alex Bessey was the leading scorer for the Beavers with 17 points.
Bessey said, “It was a hard fight and when we were down I knew we had to pick up our intensity and we gave it our all.” Bessey is a rookie to the Beavers this year but is not a stranger to the sport of basketball. She transferred from Central Maine Community College (CMCC), played on their basketball team and won a national championship her final year there. “It was hard at first to transition to a new type of play but the team helped me so much in adjusting and making sure I didn’t miss a beat.”
Senior Captain Sara Lamb: Lamb taking the ball into the paint for a shot. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Lamb Photography)
Beaudoin, a UMF alumni, has led the team to a successful conference season. Beaudoin has been a head coach here for the last twenty years. He went into the Thomas game with a set strategy that had to quickly be adapted when Thomas’s leading scorer was out for the game. He felt like he had made the right choice with the changes.
His look on the season has been positive, mainly focusing on effort and the beavers goal to have a home playoff game finishing in second or third place. Beaudoin sees his team this year as a well-rounded group of talent, “From top to bottom the team is more competitive, we as a team have an increased skill set where all players have high basketball IQ, being able to handle the ball, and being able to shoot the ball,” Beaudoin said.
The Beavers played most recently against State University New York (SUNY) Canton at Canton, NY.
Before the game, Beaudoin was concerned about the length of the trip wearing out her team and the new environment throwing them off. “We have five games to go,” Beaudoin said, “Playing in a gym we’ve never played in, and also playing against players we don’t know.”
SUNY vs UMF final score for their Friday game was 65 to 42 with the Beavers taking the win. The leading scorers of the game were Tia Day and Paige Brown both coming in with 14 points. Molly Folsom led the team with 8 rebounds.
Saturday at noon the Beavers faced off SUNY again for another conference game. The final score was 58 to 54 with the Beavers taking another win. The leading scorer of the game was McKenna Brodeur with 16 points and also lead the team in rebounds with 11.
The Beavers are now 9-2 in the NAC conference. Their next game is tonight against Husson University at 5:30pm in Farmington.