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Cats ready for start of a new chapter

UVM women’s basketball team ready to face the challenge of playing without former standout Hannah Crymble
Published: Dec. 16, 2020 at 10:14 AM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - It’s game week in Catamount Country. The UVM women’s basketball team is set to tip off its season this weekend, hosting UMass-Lowell for a pair of games Saturday (3pm) and Sunday (2pm) afternoon at Patrick Gym.

The Cats will field a young team, with just one senior and two juniors on the roster, but that doesn’t mean this Vermont squad is without experience. Four players who averaged at least 30 minutes a night last season are back this year, senior Josie Larkins, junior Sarah Wells, and sophomores Emma Utterback and Delaney Richason, and two other sophomores Jane Macauley and Carly Whiteside, made solid contributions throughout the season.

Of course, there’s a big hole in the middle of the Catamounts attack with the graduation of Hannah Crymble, who led Vermont in scoring, rebounds and blocked shots and was a First Team all-conference selection and the America East defensive player of the year.

Coach Alissa Kresge says the Cats are looking at life after Crymble as a challenge and an opportunity.

“Everybody game planned for Hannah, so we knew their first game plan was to take away Hannah and we don’t have that, but that’s a good thing.”, says Kresge. “Because now, who are you going to take away? We’re going to have more balance, we’re going to have more depth. I think the best teams out there are the ones that have four or five players that average double digits. Who do you take away on any given day? One that averages 10, maybe you take away them and then the next person is averaging 20, so I think that balanced attack is really going to help us.”

“Being able to be so well-rounded and anybody could have the hot hand one day and now we have a lot of other people that teams can focus on.”, adds team co-captain Larkins. “I think it’s beneficial for teams not knowing who is the top person. It helps with our chemistry and being able to trust each other more and being able to share the ball and work on really good team basketball.”

The Cats have been on campus since the summer. It’s been a long preseason, made even longer when UVM pushed back the start of the winter season an extra month from mid-November to mid-December. But with eleven of the fourteen players on the Vermont roster either freshman or sophomores, the Cats feel that they have been able to take advantage of all this extra time and it will pay dividends once the games begin.

“We’ve really had the opportunity to perfect our plays, our defense, our rotations and I think that’ll be helpful for us.”, says Wells, the team’s other co-captain. “I know not all the teams had such a long preseason, so we’re hoping that we can capitalize off the extra time that we had together and the extra time that we’ve had to bond off the court as well. I think that’s really important when it comes to game time.”

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