The annual American East Preseason Coaches Poll has come to a close. For the third year in a row, the University of Maine women’s basketball team has been named as preseason first place, indicating Umaine fans should gear up for another exhilarating season. The decision was made by a vote between all the head coaches of the conference. Ten coaches voted in this poll and six of them placed UMaine in first.
Along with being a major team achievement, three UMaine players were selected to the all-conference team, even though very few were accepted. These players are fourth-year forward Maeve Carroll, fifth-year guard Blanca Millan and fourth-year guard Dor Saar. Milan suffered an unfortunate injury last season forcing her to only play in the first six games. If those six games tell us anything, it’s that if Milan is on the court she is dominating. Last year she averaged 18.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists. Carroll had a dominant season in her third year, ending with 12.4 points and 8.2 rebound average. She also tallied 11 triple-doubles throughout the season. Saar averaged double digit points with 12.2 along with leading the team in assists with 4.9 a game.
To accompany these three veterans, former rookie of the year Anne Simon will also return for her second–year. These four players alone accounted for the majority of UMaine’s points last year, aligning the team for some major success in this upcoming season. The deep roster also includes dominant rebounder Fanny Walding and 3-point specialist Kelly Fogarty.
UMaine has also signed five new recruits to help secure the future of the Black Bears. These recruits consist of guard Bailey Wilborn who travels from Wichita, Kansas. She managed to win first-team all-country along with averaging nearly 15 points per game. Wilborn brings some new scoring abilities from all domains court. Forward Adrianna Smith comes from Reston, Virginia. During her time there, she was named to first-team all-state along with averaging a double-double in her final season. She is a strong player that is almost impossible to guard as she can guarantee to score and haul in rebounds every game. Forward Penelope Mathieu-Castillo comes to Umaine from Montreal, Quebec. During her tenure, she managed to win team MVP along with leading the team in double-doubles. Castillo is known to be an aggressive player with extreme versatility. Guard Sera Hodgson travels from New Hampton, New Hampshire. She managed to spend two years as a captain and lead her team to the semi-finals. Hodgson is known for her leadership skills and the ability to take over in close games. Guard Paula Gallego, who travels from Barcelona, she managed to rank in the top five of scoring in the second division during her time there, along with a Gava tournament first place. Paula is known for her skills of being a versatile player that can play virtually any position. Each player brings new sets of skills to help the Black Bears’ future.
The Black Bears finished last year with a 12-4 record along with a substantial late season win streak. These helped them to achieve back-to-back appearances in the American East championship. Although they fell one game short from winning the American East two years straight, UMaine appears to be the on paper champions of the division once again. Watch as the Black Bears season opener takes place on Nov. 28 as they travel to Mohegan Sun to play Mississippi State.