1997-98 Amherst Women's Basketball Outlook
Coming off its second straight bid to the ECAC Tournament, Amherst women's basketball is on an upward swing with plenty of young talent for the team to soar. Returning their top four scorers and top three rebounders, the Jeffs look to fight for the top of the NESCAC in the league's first year as a playing conference.
While the team loses career blocked shots leader (74) Sam Ince to graduation, Amherst will look to its three captains for leadership both on and off the floor. Sarah Rinaldi (11.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg) will be a threat on the blocks as the Jeffs' lone senior, averaging 10.0 ppg and 6.9 rpg so far in her career. Katie Hersey (15.2 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 2.0 apg) returns as a two-time team MVP after leading Amherst in rebounding in her first two years of intercollegiate play. In her sophomore season, the All-NESCAC forward dumped in 15.2 points and pulled down 9.7 boards each game, including her career-high 28-point, 15-rebound showing against Teikyo Post. Hersey and fellow junior captain Janinne Noel (10.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.8 apg) will continue to provide Amherst's 1-2 punch from both the inside and on the perimeter, as Noel handily broke the career three-point shooting record as a sophomore. She currently has 97 treys and 540 points over two years.
"We're hoping to develop as an offensive team," noted Head Coach Billy McBride. "If we play solid defense like we did last year, we will win games. But if we rebound well, we can go as far as we want to go."
Bolstering this core of student-athletes is a talented group of returnees and new players, all who possess the versatility to play several positions on the floor. Naomi Sullivan (8.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 2.0 apg) is coming off a phenomenal freshman campaign, finishing as the team's fourth-leading scorer and second-leading rebounder with a starting role in her rookie year. Liza Feldman (5.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg), Melissa Roja (1.1 ppg, 0.5 rpg) and Dacia Walker (2.8 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 1.1 apg) round out a group of experienced sophomores, who are joined by rookies Margaret Lischer, Meg Riley, Rebecca Sacher and Charlotte Taylor.