NORTH ANDOVER, MA – The 2011-12 season for the Merrimack Warriors women's basketball team had its fair share of ups and downs as they finished the season with a record of 5-21 overall and a conference mark of 4-18.
"There are several things about the 2011-2012 season that I'm pleased with," said first year head coach Monique LeBlanc. "Our young players had big roles this season on the court and that experience will serve them greatly going into next season. I liked that we consistently found ourselves on the upward slope, improving every day. Our team has laid a good culture and foundation here, and now we look forward to adding to that for next season."
The Warriors opened up their 2011-12 schedule with four straight home games, including two games against top 20 opponents. Merrimack dropped the first two games of the season to Molloy by the score of 63-51 and Franklin Pierce by the score of 77-63 before winning their first game of the season on November 19 against Bridgeport. LeBlanc's first career victory was sparked by Jaclyn Lyons (Reading, Mass.) who scored 16 points for the Warriors off the bench.
The Warriors would close out November with three consecutive losses after an overtime loss at Saint Anselm on November 30. Merrimack would open December on the right foot as they downed the UMass Lowell River hawks by the score of 70-65 on the road at the Tsongas Center. The Warriors were powered by Kelly Schatzlein (Tolland, CT) who scored 18 points and grabbed a career-high 22 rebounds in the victory.
Over the next month the Warriors would drop four consecutive games before an offensive outburst against New Haven gave them their third victory of the season. Senior captain Gennifer Roy (Granby, Mass.) tied a school record in the victory at New Haven scoring 36 points on 12-17 from the field and 9-10 from the free throw line.
February started well for Merrimack as they downed Stonehill by the score of 74-58 to revenge an 11-point defeat earlier in the season. Schatzlein led the Warriors against the Skyhawks with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Merrimack would lose two straight close contests to Saint Anselm and UMass Lowell before picking up another conference victory on February 14 against Saint Michael's.
The Warriors would lose the final two conference contests of the season and miss out on a Northeast-10 conference tournament game.
Roy led the Warriors all season long as she averaged 15.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game as a senior. Roy finished off her Merrimack career as the fourth most prolific scorer in Warriors women's basketball history as she closed out her impressive career with 1,401 career points. Roy was named third team all-conference by the Northeast-10, marking the second time in her career she was tabbed all-conference.
Schatzlein at times was unstoppable as she was one of two players in the Northeast-10 to average a double-double. She averaged a team-high 15.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per contest while ranking third in the conference in field goal percentage. Schatzlein closed out her impressive junior campaign with a team and career high of 15 double-doubles on the season.
The freshman guard duo of Chloe Rothman (Newton, Mass.) and Allison Wagner (Center, Conway, NH) performed well for the Warriors from the onset. Rothman closed out her first year on campus averaging 8.9 points, 5.3 assists and 4.0 rebounds per contest. Rothman picked up her first career double-double in the win over New Haven as she racked up 18 points and dished out 10 assists.
Wagner averaged 6.5 points per game and racked up a team-high 35 three point field goals made.
Other newcomers to the Warriors who made an impact were Lyons and Cassi Amenta (Lynn, Mass.). Lyons averaged 5.5 points and 2.0 rebounds per contest for the Warriors off the bench while Amenta averaged 2.1 points and 3.6 rebounds off the bench. Amenta put together her strongest game of the season against New Haven, grabbing a career-high 10 rebounds.
"I'm excited about our starting point for next year- unlike this season, we won't be starting from scratch," said LeBlanc. "We are enjoying a great post season right now, and that is also something that we did not have together last year at this time. When pre-season and practices officially begin, we'll be much further ahead. The players understand how critical the off-season is towards winning game in November-March, and I'm confident that we are preparing ourselves right now to be in the hunt next season."
The Warriors will graduate two seniors this season and will return seven players, including four starters, from the 2011-12 squad. Katie Ganser (Needham, Mass.) and Melissa Miller (North Andover, Mass.) will also play a role in the team's development heading into next season.