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Re: UNH Basketball - Women:: 2017-18

PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:20 am
by Tom Nolette
New Hampshire WBB
LIVE: Postgame press conference with Coach Magarity, Brittni Lai, and Kat Fogarty.

Re: UNH Basketball - Women:: 2017-18

PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:22 am
by Tom Nolette
Raising the Bar: Seniors Led 'Cats to New Heights

PORTLAND, Maine – They were down to their final minutes of playing time as members of the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team when they gathered on the court just past the halfway mark of the fourth period and vowed to go out swinging.

And they did.

Carlie Pogue made a jump shot off an assist from Aliza Simpson. Kat Fogarty grabbed a defensive rebound and back at the other end Brittni Lai fed Pogue for another layup. Pogue came up with a steal and Lai hit a foul line jumper and a foul shot.

They made a dent in Maine's big lead, but soon their time was done.

The seven seniors who lifted the UNH program to new heights in the last couple of seasons subbed out of the game one by one and hugged head coach Maureen Magarity as they came to the bench.

They lost to the No. 1 Black Bears, 64-48, in the America East semifinal game in Portland on Sunday afternoon and in the locker room were disappointed in the result and the fact the season ended short of their goal of winning an America East championship and advancing to the NCAA tournament.

Expectations coming into the season, off an America East regular season championship a year ago, were high and the disappointment and frustration were understandable.

But the Wildcats did put up a 19-12 record for the season – only three teams have had more wins since the program started in 1975-76 – and Magarity encouraged her team to look at the big picture, too.

"Five or six years ago, after we first got here, 19 wins would have been like we made it to the Final Four and we would have been having parades," she said. "Winning 19 games at this level is tough. This senior class has made this kind of the new norm. The teams in these next couple of years have a lot to live up to."

The seniors turned the program around and contributed to three winning seasons in the last four.

Well, most of them were part of three winning seasons.

It was an interesting mix of players.

Pogue, Simpson, Peyton Booth and Morgan Bassett-Smith were along for the entire ride.

Lai and Fogarty transferred in together from Marist and after practicing with the team but sitting out the 2015-16 per NCAA rules, played major roles in the last year's championship run and again this year.

"I loved every second of it," Lai said from the press conference podium after Sunday's lost. "I'm blessed to have been able to be part of this."

Olivia Healy came in halfway through last season as a transfer from Richmond and had an immediate impact.

A highlight on the court was certainly UNH's first regular season championship a year ago.

The Wildcats went a program-best 15-1 in conference games to do it and posted a 26-6 overall record, smashing the previous record for wins of 23.

Pogue was named America East Player of the Year, the first Wildcat to win the honor in nearly three decades, and Magarity was the conference's Coach of the Year.

Pogue was named to the All-Conference First Team last year and repeated on that squad this year.

"Carlie's just a special, special player," Magarity said. "Players of the Year don't come around too often. I'm really proud of her."

The last four years the Wildcats have put together a combined record of 74-48. Their 45 wins over the last two seasons are the best-ever in UNH consecutive seasons.

New norm indeed.

"The seniors have set the bar in a good way," Magarity said. "As much as they're upset and feeling disappointed I told them what they've done has been remarkable, the impact they've had on the program. They have a lot to be proud of. . . . I'm going to miss them on the court and off the court. They're great role models and amazing young women who are going to go on and accomplish a lot of great things." ... ights.aspx