WESTON, Mass. – With one season in a new conference home under its belt, the Regis College women's basketball team heads into the 2018-19 campaign looking for more success, especially within the Great Northeast Athletic Conference.
Angela Santa Fe enters her sixth season at the helm of the Pride program, needing to find production from this year's team after the graduation of Brittany Stone, Regis's all-time leading scorer with 1,833 career points. Last season, Stone earned First Team All-GNAC honors after averaging 19.7 points and 12.8 rebounds per game.
The Pride welcome back nine players from the 2017-18 squad that posted an overall record of 15-11, including three seniors. Forward Sam D'Angelo (Woburn, Mass.) is the team's leading returning scorer and rebounder after averaging 12.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game. Maura Russell (Braintree, Mass.) started every game last year, averaging 7.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.6 steals per game, plus she shot 40.2 percent from behind the three-point line. Chayla Louro (Randolph, Mass.) looks to make more of an impact this season for the Pride after appearing in 14 games in 2017-18.
Guard Nikki Bitinaitis (Cromwell, Conn.) is the other returning starter for the Pride, averaging 6.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. The backcourt also welcomes back veterans Kasey Britton-Doucette (New Boston, N.H.), Brianna Goguen (Andover, Mass.), and Miranda Hernandez (Poway, Calif.), while experienced players Taylor Iorfino (Monroe, Conn.) and Angel Ugwuakazi (Brockton, Mass.) will add depth to the Regis frontcourt.
Among the six newcomers is junior Valerie Martin (Derry, N.H.), a transfer from Mount Ida who was the team MVP and Third Team All-GNAC last season after averaging 16.0 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 2.6 steals per game for the Mustangs. Martin was fourth in the GNAC in both steals per game and free throw percentage at 83.1 percent.
Joining the basketball team this season is Katryna Veasey (Quincy, Mass.), a record-setting Pride volleyball player who also shined as a basketball player at Archbishop Williams. Four freshmen round out the group of Regis newcomers: Yvelande Donis (Randolph, Mass.), Shannon Kelley (Quincy, Mass.), Marissa Prall (Hopkinton, Mass.), and Arie Searcy (Santa Rosa, Calif.).
In the GNAC Preseason Poll, Regis finished in fourth place with 123 points after ending up in a tie for third place in the 2017-18 regular season standings with a 12-4 league record. Saint Joseph's College, the defending GNAC regular season and tournament champion, received 11 of 13 first place votes to finish atop the poll with 165 points, followed by Emmanuel with 154 points and Suffolk with 145 points.
The Pride open their GNAC schedule by hosting the Monks Tuesday, Jan. 8, followed by a road game at Emmanuel Thursday, Jan. 10. Regis also travels to Suffolk Tuesday, Jan. 22. Another conference game to watch is Saturday, Feb. 9, when the Pride welcome Albertus Magnus to Higgins Court, as the Falcons eliminated Regis from the GNAC Tournament last season.
Regis opens the regular season this weekend at the Coastal Classic Tip-Off, hosted by Bowdoin College at Morrell Gym in Brunswick, Maine. The Pride will face the host Polar Bears Friday, Nov. 16, at 5 p.m., and the Colby College Mules Saturday, Nov. 17, at 2 p.m.
The Pride will be tested right away, as Bowdoin is coming off a 29-3 season and advanced to the Division III national championship game. Like Regis, Bowdoin lost its best player to graduation in National Player of the Year Kate Kerrigan, but the Pride will need to contend with Second Team All-NESCAC selection Abby Kelly, who averaged 11.7 points per game in 2017-18. This will be the fourth meeting all-time between Regis and Bowdoin, with the Polar Bears winning the previous three contests, including an 80-55 victory at Higgins Court Jan. 3, 2017.
Colby finished the 2017-18 season with a 10-14 overall record, including a 3-7 mark within the NESCAC. Katie McCrum is the team's leading returner after averaging 10.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game last year. Regis and Colby will be meeting for the fifth time in history, with the Mules winning three of the previous four games. The teams have not faced each other since Nov. 26, 2013, a 75-62 Regis victory in Waterville, Maine.
Regis's first home game is Wednesday, Nov. 28, against Westfield State at 6 p.m. The Pride will also host non-conference opponents Fitchburg State (Dec. 11), Southern Maine (Dec. 15), and UMass Dartmouth (Jan. 3), as well as GNAC foes Saint Joseph's (Jan. 8), Norwich (Jan. 12), Johnson & Wales (Jan. 26), Rivier (Feb. 2), Albertus Magnus (Feb. 9), and Simmons (Feb. 12).