The last three years rank as the best ever in the long and storied history of UMass Dartmouth women’s basketball, as the Corsairs have won 71 games and captured back-to-back Little East Conference regular season titles after advancing to the NCAA Division III Elite Eight in 2017.
Head Coach Matt Ducharme is looking for that trend to continue as he begins his sixth season at the helm this winter, as the three-time Little East Coach of the Year has a solid group of returning veterans and some talented newcomers that will try for a league “three-peat”.
Leadership has also played a key role in the success of the program, and that trend will continue this season with seniors Ashley Brown (New Bedford, Mass./Fairhaven) and Kayla McMahon (Hanover, Mass./Hanover) serving as UMass Dartmouth’s co-captains. Ducharme, who ranks behind only Judy Sullivan on the Corsairs’ career wins list with 108 victories in 140 contests during his tenure, describes the duo as “incredibly dedicated to making their teammates better every day. They are both extremely talented individuals both on and off the court, and collectively they will chart a course for success as leaders by example.”
Here’s a look at how things are shaping up for the 2019-20 edition of Corsair Women’s Basketball:
GUARD. Brown, a two-time all-Little East honoree, is the top returning scorer for Ducharme after averaging 12.3 points, 3.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game while connecting for a team-best 46 three-pointers. Junior Meagan Donovan (Abington, Mass./Archbishop Williams) is also a threat from the outside for UMass Dartmouth after averaging 6.1 points and 3.7 rebounds and canning 38 treys, while sophomore Jordan Moretti (Johnston, R.I./Johnston) was a valuable member in last year’s title run after averaging 5.2 points and nearly two assists off the bench as a rookie.
Sophomore Jessica Carroll (Deep River, Conn./Mercy) gained experience in averaging two points in 21 games as a newcomer for UMass Dartmouth, while freshman Jennifer Driscoll (Westport, Mass./St. George’s School) looks to make an immediate impact during her inaugural collegiate campaign.
FORWARD. Life without two-time All-America performer Nakira Examond begins for the Corsairs, but Ducharme has talented performers back in the fold looking to contribute. McMahon, who can play at either the forward or guard spots, averaged 8.6 points and nearly four caroms per contest a year ago, while sophomore Shaelyn Carreiro (Fall River, Mass./Durfee) provides a presence at both ends of the floor after averaging 8.4 points and 3.9 boards per contest as a rookie.
Junior Lauren Empey (Middleboro, Mass./Middleboro) lends additional depth up front for UMass Dartmouth after averaging four points and three rebounds in 27 appearances off the bench last winter, while freshman Brianna Craig (Monroe, Conn./Masuk) will be vying for a role in the forward mix as a newcomer.
SCHEDULE. Ducharme’s squad begins the new season on Friday, November 8th when MIT invades the Tripp Athletic Center for a 5:30 pm EST tip-off. The Corsairs will also entertain Regis in a non-conference outing and welcome Western New England, Babson and Union to the South Coast for the Lafrance Hospitality Tournament on November 16-17.
UMass Dartmouth heads to Bridgewater State, Roger Williams and Tufts for non-league matchups, and Ducharme’s crew will take on host Springfield and Saint Joseph’s (Maine) at the 2020 Naismith Classic on January 1-2. The Corsairs will once again partake in the 16-game double round robin Little East Conference slate, which begins on Saturday, November 23rd at Southern Maine.