Women's Basketball Opens Season At The Mullins Center
Nov. 6, 2013
UMass Women's Basketball Coaches Show
Scouting Western Michigan
The Broncos finished last season with an 11-20 overall record and 6-10 mark in Mid-American Conference play. The campaign was the first for head coach Shane Clipfell, who brought 14 seasons of NCAA Division I coaching experience to Kalamazoo, Mich., including five as an assistant at Michigan State. This contest is the first in the series between the programs.
Then-freshman Miracle Woods led the Broncos with 9.0 points per game in 2012-13 while chipping in 5.6 boards in each contest. Now-junior Marquisha Harris followed closely behind at 8.9 points per game while pacing the program with 5.7 rebounds per contest. As a team, Western Michigan was outscored by its opponents, 65.4-to-58.7 while losing the battle of the boards, 39.5-to-37.4 last season.
Hill is coming off of a four-year career with the Althoff Catholic Crusaders High School program in Illinois, where she helped the squad accumulate three conference titles. Stiff, a 5-foot-9 guard and Las Vegas, Nev., native, averaged 15 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals as a senior at Quest Preparatory Academy while being named a top-20 underclassman and Next Level Elite 100 Phenom during her scholastic career. Tarver was an all-region and North Fulton All-Metro Team honoree at Northview High School while helping the Georgia Pistols AAU program to a division championship.
Joining the trio of freshmen newcomers in their first season is junior Paula Tarnachowicz, a transfer from Panola College in Carthage, Texas. While at Panola College, the Gdynia, Poland, native helped the squad to a Region XIV Conference Tournament appearance while hitting 44.2 percent of her field goal attempts.
Kiara Bomben is the lone senior among the 15 student-athletes on the young squad. Bomben averaged 5.5 points per game as a redshirt-junior last season while pulling down 3.0 rebounds in each contest. The 2012-13 campaign marked Bomben's first competing on the floor for the squad after helping Florida Gulf Coast to 52 victories over two seasons in the lineup (2009-11).
Kim Pierre-Louis and Emily Mital round out the junior class with Tarnachowicz. As a sophomore, Pierre-Louis played in 19 games as a forward for the Minutewomen, totaling 4.4 points per contest and 2.7 rebounds in each appearance, while the Ottawa, Ontario, native knocked down 44.4 percent of her field goal attempts on the year. Mital led the Minutewomen in three-point field goals made with 48 while hitting 81.0 percent of her free throw line. Mital finished third among all UMass women's basketball players with 7.3 points per game while dishing out 43 assists and earning 20 steals.
The sophomore class, the largest on the squad with six student-athletes, looks to expand upon experience after four members played in at least 18 contests last season. Amber Dillon is the lone member of the group who did not see the floor during 2012-13 as the Brookline, Mass., native sat out last season as per NCAA transfer regulations.
Rashida Timbilla, a starter in 26 of her 29 appearances as a freshman, finished last season netting 8.6 points per game and 8.3 rebounds, the most on the squad and the highest total among all underclassmen in the then-16-team Atlantic 10 Conference. Timbilla hit 47.3 percent of her jumpers (104-for-220) and led the team in minutes played with 29.4 per game while providing 47 steals and 21 blocked shots.
Jasmine Harris joined Mital as a scoring threat from the perimeter one year ago as the Farmington Hills, Mich., native knocked down 28 three-point field goals to help her earn 5.6 points in each contest. Classmate Adriana Jordan added a spark off the bench in 18 appearances with 16 made field goals in 41 attempts (.390 field goal percentage).
Nola Henry shared the point guard responsibilities with the now-graduated Dee Montgomery, making 16 starts in 28 games played. A distributor on the floor, Henry dished out 61 assists as a freshman, tied for the second-most on the 2012-13 season's squad with Timbilla. Victoria Stewart rounds out the group, as the Amherst, Mass., native prepares to expand upon six appearances as a freshman last year.
Chris Wielgus Joins Staff As Director Of Operations
An elite coach at Fordham (1991-93) and Dartmouth (1976-84; 1993-2013), Wielgus (pronounced well-GUS) recorded a dozen Ivy League Championships, one Patriot League Title, seven NCAA Tournament appearances and a pair of berths in the WNIT. Over 28 seasons leading the Big Green, Wielgus became the most successful head coach in the history of the program, amassing 393 victories and 20 winning seasons during her tenure.
Dawley and Wielgus previously worked together on the Dartmouth staff for 10 campaigns from 1993-2003. Dawley was an assistant coach under Wielgus from 1993-97 before being promoted to associate head coach in anticipation of the 1997-98 season. Together, the duo helped lead Dartmouth to a trio of NCAA Tournament appearances and 153 victories before Dawley was named the head coach at Vermont in 2003.
Tatiyiana McMorris Named Graduate Assistant
At Marquette, the Bronx, N.Y., native played in 130 career games and made 66 starts. She ranks fourth all-time at the school in three-point field goal percentage (.371), tied for fourth in appearances, tied for sixth in made three-pointers (152) and eight for total three-point attempts (410). During her tenure, Marquette won 79 games, including the 2008 WNIT Championship, while making a national postseason appearance during each campaign.
In addition to her collegiate experience, McMorris was an assistant coach at Sussex Hamilton High School in Sussex, Wis., in 2011-12, and led the 13u Ring City AAU team, based in New Jersey during its 2012 season.
Richmond Coliseum To Host A-10 Championship
The championship will open with a play-in game on Wednesday, followed by four first-round games on Thursday. The four quarterfinal games will tip-off Friday followed by the semifinal round on Saturday which will be televised live nationally on CBS Sports Network. The finals will air live on ESPNU beginning at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday.
When the championship tips off in Richmond, it will mark just the third time in its 32-year history that it will take place at a neutral site. Tsongas Arena in Lowell, Mass., played host in 2011, while Showplace Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md., served as host in 2010. The Atlantic 10 is one of only eight conferences (out of 31 league) where the women's basketball championship will be played at a neutral site, separate from the men's championship.
A Youthful Approach
The sophomores earned valuable minutes during the 2012-13 season, a campaign in which the squad also featured a youthful cast. During last year, underclassmen played 62.0 percent of the total minutes (3,463-of-5,800), earned 1,004 of the 1,636 points scored (61.4 percent) and grabbed 736-of-1,096 rebounds (67.2 percent).
Watson Signs To Play With ACS Sepsi
During four seasons representing UMass women's basketball, Watson accumulated 1,291 points, 731 rebounds and 175 blocks in 109 appearances, including 94 starts. The South Bend, Ind., native's scoring average of 11.8 per game stands 14th all-time at Massachusetts while her 6.7 rebounds per contest place Watson 10th in UMass women's basketball history.
Tamara Tatham Chosen For Team Canada
Taking place in Xalapa, Mexico, the tournament will feature national programs from the Americas. Canada will open against Jamaica on Sunday, Sept. 22, before facing Chile on Sept. 23, Venezuela the following day and Cuba to close preliminary play on Sept. 25. The Canadian National Team earned bronze medals during each of the last four years competing at the tournament.
Tatham finished with 1,186 career points at UMass, averaging 10.3 per game played. The Toronto, Ontario, native also pulled down 754 rebounds and dished out 226 assists over 115 appearances and 112 starts for the Minutewomen.
Basketball Champions Center Construction Begins
The facility is scheduled to be completed by Fall 2014 and will give the basketball programs a dedicated practice and training facility. At $28.5 million, it will be a 53,000 square foot complex that will be the new home for program daily operations.
The ground floor will consist of the primary player development areas of the facility. In addition to the two full-size practice courts, the lower level will house the player's lounge and locker rooms, the sports medicine and weight rooms, theater-style film room, dining area, laundry facilities and equipment storage
A Legacy Hall dedicated to the tradition and history of both programs will run the length of the East corridor and lead to a tunnel connecting the Champions Center to the Mullins Center.
The upper level will consist of office suites and conference rooms for both programs, and an entry foyer with a VIP lounge and balcony overlooking both practice courts.
A live Internet web stream similar to the one at the Football Performance Center at McGuirk Stadium will go online in the coming months to track the progress as well. The facility will also be used for campus events such as intramural basketball championships.
Both basketball and football projects are slated to be online and ready for use in Summer/Fall 2014 and represent what has been a major facility enhancement effort for athletics over the last decade.
Clearing The Boards
Timbilla's ability to secure boards following a missed UMass shot attempt led her to finish with 3.8 offensive rebounds per game in 2012-13, the third-highest total in the Atlantic 10 behind Charlotte's Amanda Dowe (5.1 per game) and Jennifer Hailey (4.5). Not to be counted out on the other side of the court, Timbilla finished tied for 12th in defensive rebounds with 4.5 per game.
Among all first-year players in UMass women's basketball history, Timbilla's 241 rebounds ranks as the second-highest total for a freshmen in the 45-year history of the program.
Four Join Massachusetts Women's Basketball For 2013-14 Season
Hill is coming off of a four-year career with the Althoff Catholic Crusaders, where she helped the program accumulate three conference titles. Stiff, a 5-foot-9 guard, averaged 15 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals as a senior at Quest Preparatory Academy while being named a top-20 underclassman and Next Level Elite 100 Phenom during her scholastic career. Tarver was an all-region and North Fulton All-Metro Team honoree at Northview High School while helping the Georgia Pistols AAU program to a division championship.
Joining the trio of freshmen newcomers is Tarnachowicz, a transfer from Panola College in Carthage, Texas. While at Panola College, the Gdynia, Poland, native helped the squad to a Region XIV Conference Tournament appearance while hitting 44.2 percent of her field goal attempts.
Dillon Ready To Make An Impact
At the University of Maine, Dillon competed as a freshman during the 2011-12 campaign. She appeared in 27 games on the year, including seven starts for the Black Bears. Dillon finished the season with 2.7 points per contest over an average of 13.4 minutes played during each game.
At Brookline High School, Dillon was a 1,000-point scorer and three-time all-star selection. She averaged 18 points, five assists and three steals per game as a senior team captain in 2010-11 and won a bronze medal while playing in Europe at the Junior Olympics.