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Last updateMon, 29 Apr 2019 1pm

Sports

Bright Future for Women’s Basketball

WBB Bright FutureDespite a 67-51 loss to in-state rival Rider in the quarterfinals of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Tournament, there is still a lot to look forward to for the women’s basketball team.

The Hawks finished the season with a record of 15-16, winning 10 games in conference play, including an opening round victory versus Manhattan in the MAAC Tournament. This was an improvement over last year’s record, as Monmouth went 14-17 in the 2015-16 campaign.

Coming into this season, the Hawks were looking to replace seven players, four of which played integral roles in their rotation the year prior. As a result, Monmouth welcomed in seven new players, including six freshmen.

The young Monmouth team struggled out of the gate, losing five of their first seven games. The Hawks quickly turned things around, winning eight out of their next 12 to jump one game above the .500 mark. As the month turned to February, however, the Hawks hit another rough patch in which they lost five out of seven games for the second time during the season. They finished the year strong, winning three in a row, including the 62-46 triumph over the 10-seed Manhattan, before falling to Rider the following day.

“I was pleased, we did a lot of really good things,” Monmouth Head Coach Jenny Palmateer said. “We were really competitive and we had some big wins. More importantly, however, I thought that our players got a lot of valuable experience, and I think that will help us the most going forward.”

The Hawks had to say goodbye to three seniors who greatly contributed to the development of Palmateer’s team. Helena Kurt, a senior guard who saw action in 91 games over a three-year span, played a key role as a veteran towards the end of the year. Kurt’s career was interrupted by a knee injury before her junior season, forcing her to miss the entire year.

Christina Mitchell, a senior center who saw action in 124 games in four years, became a major presence rebounding the ball, as well as blocking shots. Mitchell averaged close to six points and seven boards a game in her senior year.

The final senior, Tyese Purvis, played two seasons for the Hawks after transferring in from Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY. Purvis saw action in 62 games, averaging 10 points per contest, earning MAAC Sixth Player of the Year during her senior season.

“We’re going to miss all three of them,” Palmateer said. “They were great team members, very unselfish, and they helped set the tone for the younger players throughout the year.”

The Hawks return 10 players next season, and just under 72 percent of their point production. They also return their leading scorer, freshman guard Kayla Shaw, who averaged 11.4 points per game while breaking the single-season program record for three-pointers made with 93.

On top of the returners, Monmouth will welcome two new players to the team. Senior guard Rhaiah Spooner-Knight will make her Monmouth debut next season after sitting out the 2016 season due to transfer rules. Spooner-Knight was named to the 2015 All-Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Second Team as a member of Utah Valley University, and hopes to add the same impact to her new Monmouth squad.

“She’s so athletic and very versatile,” Pamlateer said. “She can score in so many different ways. One of the things I’m most excited for is that she can defend anywhere, and she can be a big help on that side of the ball.”

The other newcomer, Carol Arfinengo, is a native of Spain who played for a club team in Spain’s Liga 2. She also played for the Basket Rivas junior team, where she averaged 19 points per game.

“She’s going to be a great fit for us and what we want to do on the court,” Palmateer said. “She can shoot the three, and has a strong body to mix it up in the paint. Versatility is one of her big things and it fits the theme of most of the players on our team.”

All of these factors set the Hawks up for a lot of success not only next year, but for years to come. The 10 returners, plus the two newcomers, hope to continue the trend of increasing yearly win totals for the program. All signs are pointing to Palmateer’s Hawks taking the next step in the 2017-18 season, to be in contention for potentially winning the conference.

PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth Athletics

Contact Information

CAMPUS LOCATION
The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

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The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey
07764

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu