Women's Basketball 2014-15 Season Preview
The Thomas women's basketball program has been through a lot of uncertainty in the last several years, as the program has been unable to maintain a consistent level of play, and a head coach for more than a few seasons.
With the recent hiring of new head coach Emily Cummins, Thomas hopes to change all of that. Cummins comes in with nine years of coaching experience, most recently serving as head coach at Hendrix College in Arkansas. Emily also brings knowledge of the game from on the court, as she played four years for Wilmington College in Ohio and won a Division III National Championship in 2004.
"I am thrilled for the opportunity to join the Thomas College community and to be the new head women's basketball coach. It is an exciting time and I look forward to building upon the tradition of the college. I could not ask for a better place than Thomas College to continue my coaching career and to positively impact the lives of our student-athletes."
Cummins will be joined on the staff by assistants Derek Gaudreau, a 2013 graduate of Thomas and also the school's Sports Information Director, and Kim Lloyd, who all will be looking to turn Thomas into a upper-level program in the North Atlantic Conference.
On the court, the team only returns four players from last year in junior forwards Ashleigh Gagne and Katie McAllister, and sophomore guard Tess McClenahan and forward Lexi Merrifield. McAllister is the top returning scorer at 10.2 PPG and shot a team-high 76.2% from the free throw line a season ago. Gagne returns as the top player in minutes played per game a season ago, averaging 35 a game. She also is the top returner in rebounding, assists, steals and blocks per game, as Gagne started all 26 games last season. Both will be counted on to increase their roles even more this season.
McClenahan will see a major spike in playing time, as the only returning guard on the roster. She will counted on more as a leader in the backcourt to keep the team organized and set offensively. Merrifield will be sitting out the 2014-15 season as she recovers from an injury, but remains a strong part of the team.
Thomas will add in seven newcomers to the team this season, with six being freshman. The backcourt brings in freshman players Jordan Agger-Barnes (Wells, Maine), Olivia Brown (North Haven, Maine), Sarah Pepin (Hollis Center, Maine), Jessica Russell (Pembroke, N.H.) and junior Lindsay Bellegarde (Lewiston, Maine), while the frontcourt adds in freshman Bayleigh Canonico (Buxton, Maine) and Julie Suaudeau (Mouilleron de captive, France). All will have every opportunity to make an early impact.
"It's a great group of girls," says Cummins. "Given the situation and the circumstances, everything has actually gone really well. They've responded."
The Terriers will begin play tonight against the University of Maine-Augusta, after which Thomas will head to Salem State for a two-day tip-off tournament. Thomas will also host Colby College, Maine-Preque Isle and Maine-Fort Kent out of conference.