Nov. 5, 1997
1997-98 Season Outlook
With four starters returning from last year's team that finished one victory short of tying the best record in school history, the Eagles appear ready to challenge the top teams in the BIG EAST Conference for the league title.
Last year a number of milestones were established as the Eagles posted their first winning season since 1989-90, and registered an overall record of 18-10 and a 13-5 mark in the BIG EAST Conference. The Eagles finished third in the BIG EAST 6, behind NCAA Tournament participants Connecticut and Notre Dame. The 13 wins were the most ever recorded by the Eagles in BIG EAST play. Two players earned All-BIG EAST honors as Holly Porter was named to the BIG EAST First-Team and Cal Bouchard was a unanimous selection to the All-Rookie team.
"We are coming off a year in which we experienced success and the players are very excited about their accomplishments, but we have higher goals this season," said head coach Cathy Inglese. "The schedule is very important because we play some strong competition. We can measure our improvement based on our performance against these teams."
Although the Eagles return four starters, the one loss was a significant one, and will not be easy to replace. The graduation of Holly Porter will leave a large void in the Eagles frontcourt. Porter was an All-BIG EAST First-Team selection, and led the team in scoring (18.5) and rebounding (8.6).
She finished her career ranked among the top conference performers in six career statistical categories. Porter earned BIG EAST Player of the Week honors three times during the 1996-97 season and finished her career second on the BIG EAST Conference all-time scoring list.
"The loss of Holly Porter is tough because she was so valuable both offensively and defensively," said Inglese. "We need to come together as a team to plug up the hole left by her graduation."BACKCOURT
The backcourt will be led by sophomore Cal Bouchard and senior Aimee McGuire. Boston College registered a record of 15-7 when the tandem started together in the backcourt last season.
Bouchard made an immediate impact on the team and the BIG EAST Conference during her freshman season. A unanimous selection to the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team, she earned league Rookie of the Week honors three times during the season. The sophomore from Aurora, Ontario, led the Eagles in scoring in eight games and was second on the team with an average of 12.0 points per game. Bouchard gained valuable experience this past summer, playing with the Canadian Junior National Team. "Cal gave the team a spark with her leadership last season," said Inglese. "She is a great scorer with strong perimeter shooting, but can also drive to the basket."
McGuire, who will serve as the team captain for the second consecutive season, started in the backcourt in 24 games last season. The native of Ridgewood, New Jersey, moved into a starting role in the fourth game and became a major threat with her strong defense. McGuire was fourth on the team in scoring with an average of 6.7 points per game and led the squad with an average of 3.3 assists. The 5-8 guard led the BIG EAST in assist/turnover ratio (2.20) and was an outside scoring threat, connecting on 42.9 percent (30-of-70) of her attempts from three-point range. "Aimee was a major reason for our success last season," stated Inglese. "She made a position for herself on this team with her leadership and strong defense, and surprised everyone as our hidden threat to opposing teams."
Another valuable member of the backcourt is senior Kim Beezer. One of the hardest workers on the team, she provides leadership with her intense and scrappy style of play. Beezer also brings a great deal of experience to the backcourt, starting 23 contests as a sophomore in 1995-96. The 5-8 guard has tremendous speed and drives to the basket well. The native of River Vale, New Jersey, played in 28 games last season and averaged 3.4 points and 3.4 rebounds. "Kim is the ultimate worker, and a coach's dream with her competitiveness," said Inglese. "She works hard the entire year and we expect her to have a strong senior season."
Sophomore Alissa Murphy is one of the returning starters for the Eagles. She can play both the shooting guard or small forward positions, and was a key contributor on last year's team, starting 27 of 28 games. The native of San Diego, California, averaged 5.5 points and was fourth on the team in rebounding with an average of 3.9 per game. "Alissa has very good scoring ability," said Inglese. "She can penetrate and create situations for others, and really distributes the ball well."
Freshman Danielle O'Banion will add depth to the backcourt. The native of Arlington, Virginia averaged 22.0 points and 15.0 rebounds as a senior at Episcopal High School. O'Banion earned Street & Smith Honorable Mention All-America honors. "Danielle is a super leader and communicates well," states Inglese. "She has very good range and can play either the point guard or shooting guard positions."
The frontcourt will have a major challenge this season, as the Eagles attempt to replace the large void left by the graduation of Porter. The all-conference performer registered double figures in both scoring and rebounding in 35 games during her collegiate career, and led the Eagles in scoring in 17 games last season, and was the top rebounder in 22 contests.
Murphy and Whitney Steele were the other starters in the frontcourt last season, and both return after gaining valuable experience. Steele returns at center after starting all 28 games a year ago. The 6-4 junior was third on the team in scoring and rebounding with an average of 8.2 points and 4.2 rebounds. Steele registered double figures in rebounding in two games, and pulled down a career-high 12 in a victory over Dartmouth. The native of Harrington Park, New Jersey, was fourth in the BIG EAST in blocked shots with 1.3 per game. "Whitney gained a great deal of experience last season and with more consistent play she will be a valuable member of the frontcourt," said Inglese.
As the Eagles look to fill the hole created by Porter, Coach Inglese has a number of options. Junior forward Paula Bacso has natural scoring ability and is a very good passer, but was plagued with injuries early in the 1996-97 season. After playing in the season opener, Bacso was sidelined for six games with a stress fracture. The native of Farmingdale, New York, returned on December 28 and averaged 4.8 points in 22 games, and finished second on the team in rebounding with an average of 4.9 per game. "The team needs to have Paula healthy this season," said Inglese. "She was the spark that started the winning run last season when she returned to the lineup."
Junior Allison Booth returns after being sidelined for most of last season. Her status depends on how quickly she recovers from her second ACL surgery. The 6-4 center missed the first 11 games last year while she was recovering from her first knee surgery. Booth re native of Trumbull, Connecticut, was a four-year letterwinner on the basketball team at Trumbull High School. She served as captain as a senior, and was named the school's Most Outstanding Female Athlete in 1995-96.
The Eagles' 1997-98 schedule will feature 26 regular season games, including 18 BIG EAST Conference contests. Boston College's non-conference schedule will feature a number of teams that the Eagles will play for the first time.
The Eagles will play the University of Texas in the third annual Reebok Women's Basketball Classic at the FleetCenter in Boston on November 23.
Regular season tournaments in Atlanta and Philadelphia are two of the highlights on the schedule. Boston College will travel to Atlanta to compete in the Comfort Inn Downtown Classic on November 28-29. Towson University will be the Eagles' first round opponent, and Georgia Tech, and Charleston Southern will complete the four-team tournament field.
The Eagles will travel to Philadelphia to compete in the Hawk Classic hosted by St. Joseph's. Alabama and Yale will also compete in the tournament.
Returning In 1997-98:
7 Letterwinners (4 Frontcourt, 3 Backcourt)
New Jersey (3)
New York (1)
Letterwinners Returning (7)
Starters Returning (4)
Returning Redshirts (1)
Letterwinners Lost (3)
Starters Lost (1)