ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Betting the Ivies; Picks for Saturday night's game

Here is Saturday's installment of betting the Ivies. Last night we were 2-1-1 with the best bet winning in a blowout.

Harvard -2 at Yale
Harvard has won three straight in the series and it didn't get tested last night. Look for Harvard to win this one in a war.
Pick: Harvard

Dartmouth at Brown -7
Dartmouth was a one-man show last night as Alex Mitola scored 27 in a blowout loss. The rest
of the Big Green will show up tonight and at least keep it close and they may win it
Pick: Dartmouth

Penn at Columbia - 7
Frankly the Lions are not playing well enough to give anyone 7.5 points.
Pick: Penn

Princeton -5.5 at Cornell
Another crucial game for the Tigers but they'll run into an angry Big Red team. Cornell keeps this one tight and may pull off the upset.
Pick: Cornell

Best bet: Dartmouth

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Capsule previews of Yale-Harvard, Quinnipiac-Bryant and Albertus Magnus-Anna Maria


Where: TD Bank Sports Center, Hamden
When: Today, 2 p.m.
Records: Bryant (17-8, 10-4 Northeast Conference); Quinnipiac (13-13, 9-5)
Radio: WQUN-1220 AM
Video: NEC Front Row
What to look for
Scouting Bryant: The surprising Bulldogs have hovered around first place in the NEC all season long. They are one of three teams with 10 wins in the conference. The Bulldogs are 4-2 over their last six games, but just 1-2 in their last three. Most recently, five different Bulldogs registered double-digits in points, while junior forward Alex Francis picked up his seventh double-double of the year to lead Bryant over CCSU 88-67 on Thursday night. The win completed the Bulldogs' first season sweep of the 2012-13 campaign and marked Bryant's 17th win of the season, tying the conference mark for the season turnaround in NEC history (15 games).
Scouting Quinnipiac: The Bobcats have won five straight and seven of their last nine to move into fourth place in the NEC standings. Their torrid stretch has left them just a 1 1/2 games out of first place. It is Senior Day and the Bobcats will honor Dave Johnson, Garvy Young and Jamee Jackson before the game. The class has amassed a 76-47 mark in their time with the club. Quinnipiac needs one more win to clinch a playoff spot but have clearly set their sites higher. It beat Sacred Heart on Thursday.

Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship
Where: Fuller Center, Paxton, Mass.
When: 2 p.m.
Records: Albertus Magnus (23-4, 15-3 GNAC); Anna Maria (20-7, 16-2)
What to look for
Scouting Albertus Magnus: The Falcons blew out Johnson & Wales on Thursday to earn their third berth in the title game in the past four years. They won both prior trips. Darius Watson had 27 points in the semifinal win while Arshad Jackson added 21. The Falcons average 85.4 points a game and have spent time in the nation's Top 25 during the season and have an outside shot an at-large bid into the NCAA Division III tournament with a loss but earns the automatic bid with a win. Watson is averaging 22 points and moved into fourth place in the AMC all-time list on Thursday.
Scouting Anna Maria: Senior Anthony Click knocked down six 3-pointers and scored 25 points as the AMCATS trimmed St. Joseph College 75-63 in the semifinals to move into their second straight title game. Click has 1,700 career points. The AMCATS stretched their winning streak to 17 games, tied with Amherst College for the longest current winning streak in NCAA Division III men's basketball. Last year, Albertus Magnus hammered Anna Maria in the title game at Hamden 88-54. But Anna Maria won the only matchup this season, 97-88, at Paxton, Mass.

(Records before Friday's games)
Where: Lee Amphitheater
When: 8 p.m.
TV: CBS Sports Network
Radio: WYBC-AM 1340
Records: Harvard (15-7, 7-1 Ivy League): Yale (10-15, 4-4)
What to look for
Scouting Harvard: The Crimson entered the weekend in first place in the Ivy League after cruising past Princeton in a showdown last week at Cambrdige, Mass. Harvard sports an impressive RPI ranking of 97 and is 31-6 over the past three seasons in league play. The Crimson played at Brown on Friday night and are led by Siyani Chambers, a front-runner for the top freshmen award, averaging 13 points and six assists. Slashing forward Wesley Saunders leads the team in scoring at 16 points and proved a difficult player to stop in the team's first matchup.
Scouting Yale: The Bulldogs, who played Dartmouth on Friday, dropped a 67-64 decision at the Lavieites Pavilion earlier in the season. Yale trimmed a big deficit to three points in the final seconds but were unable to get any closer. The Bulldogs have won three of their last four games but dropped three straight against rival Harvard. Senior Sam Martin has hit 9 of his last 13 3-point attempts and freshman Justin Sears is shooting 65 percent from the field in his last three games. Yale leads the Ivy League in rebounding and has outrebounded eight of its last nine foes.
- Bill Cloutier

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Betting the Ivy League, picks for Friday night

Here is the latest installment of betting the Ivies:
Harvard -6 at Brown
The Crimson can't afford to look past the Bears with rival Yale on deck tomorrow night. They won't. Harvard has a way of pulling out games. Look for this one to be close for a while before Amaker's crew pulls away.
Pick: Harvard

Wes Saunders

Dartmouth at Yale -11
Likewise, Yale can't afford to look past the Big Green who stunned the Bulldogs earlier in the season. Again, I don't think they will but nonetheless I expect a close game with Yale winning but not covering the number. Yale has beaten Dartmouth 11 straight times at home.
Pick: Dartmouth

Princeton -2 at Columbia
The Lions had to play last weekend without a healthy Brian Barbour and the results were abysmal. He should be ready this week but Columbia doesn't appear ready to beat a Tiger team that can't afford to lose.
Pick: Princeton

Penn at Cornell -6
No team has turned heads as much as the Big Red. No one has been as disappointing as the Quakers. Cornell is the most athletic team in the Ivy League and should handle the Quakers with ease.
Pick: Cornell

Best Bet: Princeton

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Quinnipiac wins fifth in row, climbs to fourth place in NEC

Ike Azotam scored 14 points and Ousmane Drame added 13 but it was the Bobcats' late defense which Quinnipiac to a crucial 81-74 win over Sacred Heart in an NEC game at the Pitt Center on Thursday night.
Quinnipiac tried everything hoping to silence Gibson. Finally it was junior college transfer Shaq Shannon who held the key to throttling the Pioneer guard who entered the game 11th in the nation in scoring at 20.5 points.

Ike Azotam
Gibson scored 36 points but was shut out for the final 8 minutes, 58 seconds of play as Quinnipiac posted a pivotal 81-74 win in a Northeast Conference game at the Pitt Center. It is the fifth straight win for the surging Bobcats and seventh victory in their last eight games. The recent hot stretch has vaulted Quinnipiac into the top half of the NEC standings with four difficult games remaining on the docket.
Shannon finished with 11 points and Zaid Hearst added 10 for the Bobcats which moved into fourth place in the NEC just a game and a half behind front-running Robert Morris. James Ford came off the bench to score a nine crucial points in just eight minutes.
It was the 64th meeting between the two teams and most likely the last time they’ll meet in conference play as the Bobcats will join the MAAC next year.
“Losing begets losing and winning begets winning and we’re on the good side now,” Quinnipiac coach Tom Moore said.
"We're bigger and we're deeper than they were."
They work really hard. We've had a lot of growth on this team."
Moore said his Bobcats hit the low point of the season in the second half of their last game against Sacred Heart, an 80-74 loss.
"We were awful then. Now we're the higest point we've been all season. They believe that anything is possible."

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Dartmouth kicks off big weekend in Ivy League for Yale


Where: Lee Amphitheater
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Dartmouth (6-16, 2-6 Ivy); Yale (10-15, 4-4)

What to look for
Scouting Dartmouth: The Big Green sit in a tie for last in the Ivy League but are dangerous. Dartmouth has 13 freshmen or sophomores on the roster and led Harvard in the second half in their two meetings earlier in the season but lost them both. They also beat Yale in their only meeting. Gabas Maldunas (10.7 ppg.) and Alex Mitola (10.1 ppg.) lead the team in scoring. Paul Cormier is now in the third season of his second stint as the head coach of the Big Green. He also guided Dartmouth from 1984 to 1991.

Scouting Yale: The Bulldogs have won 13 straight games against the Big Green at home but can't afford past tonight's opponent with rival Harvard on deck Saturday. Yale dropped its first meeting to Dartmouth earlier in the season 71-62. Gabas Maldunas was 8-of-10 from the field and finished with 16 points to lead Dartmouth to a victory on Feb. 2. Yale got a career-high 16 points from Matt Townsend, but shot just 35 percent from the field. Austin Morgan added 20 points for the Bulldogs. The Big Green was 19-of-20 from the foul line in the second half and shot 51.1 percent from the field for the game.

-- Bill Cloutier

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Quinnipiac at Sacred Heart men's basketball gameday capsule



Where: Pitt Center, Fairfield

When: Tonight, 7 p.m.

Records: Quinnipiac (12-13, 8-5 Northeast Conference); Sacred Heart (9-15, 7-6)

Radio: WQUN-1220 AM


Video: NEC Front Row

What to look for

Scouting Sacred Heart: Led by high-scoring Shane Gibson the Pioneers won at Quinnipiac 80-74 earlier in the season. Gibson had 31 in the game and is second in the conference in scoring 20.1 points. Wallingford guard Phil Gaetano is fifth in the nation in assists (7.56). Sacred Heart sits in sixth place in the NEC standings, has beaten the Bobcats three straight times, and needs a strong finish to assure a tourney berth.

Scouting Quinnipiac: The Bobcats look for their fifth straight win tonight when they begin a monster stretch to close the regular season. Quinnipiac will play five teams, all in the tournament hunt, in a span of 10 days. All of the games are 50-50 matchups. If Quinnipiac continues its recent roll it could win the NEC title if they fall apart they could miss out of the tourney all together. Coach Tom Moore's team have made a habit of finishing seasons strongly and the Bobcats have won six of their last seven games.

-- Bill Cloutier

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Conti leading Quinnipiac down the stretch in tight NEC race

HAMDEN -- Quinnipiac sophomore Evan Conti keeps proving everyone wrong, everyone except his coach Tom Moore.
Moore went out on the limb to recruit the 6-3 guard, and the Bobcats are already reaping the benefits in his second season.
Quinnipiac visits Sacred Heart tonight at 7 in a crucial Northeast Conference men’s basketball game. The Bobcats have won four straight and six of their last seven games to move into fifth place in the NEC standings. Sacred Heart sits in sixth place with only the top eight teams qualifying for the postseason tournament.
Evan Conti

Conti has been on a roll as of late. A week ago he poured in a team-high 18 points in a dramatic win over Robert Morris. On Saturday he nearly notched a triple double in a blowout of St. Francis (Pa.).
Not bad for a player from Bayside, N.Y., who no one really wanted.
“He’s a kid coming out of the New York City Catholic League and he’s got no Division I scholarships in March,” Moore said. “He’s got the Division II schools killing for him but I love when we started recruiting him that he really wanted that challenge to play Division I.
“No one in New York City would believe that by the end of his sophomore season that he would have the terrific season that he’s had. He’s made big plays to help us win games.”
Conti carries an 8.3 scoring average with a team-high 27 3-pointers into tonight’s game. He’s hit long-range jumpers and made powerful drives to the basket carrying a bit of a chip on his shoulder.
"He thinks he’s a lot better than he is and that’s awesome,” Moore said. “I’ll say that to our team in our scouting reports about kids from other teams that the reason this kid is good is because he thinks he is.
“Evan got his body college ready. He’s never going to be the most athletic kid out there but he improved his body. Then it was a matter of him getting some opportunities. He forced them by how well he plays in practice. I know there are people who believe that I must be nervous when he’s out there but Evan just figures things out.”
And even after he blew a game against St. Francis (N.Y.) with an errant pass that led to the game-winning basket, he thanked Moore for just giving him a chance.
“For a long time in high school I was trying to figure myself out, figure where I was going,” Conti said. “Quinnipiac has always been so great to me. On my visit Coach Moore decided to offer me, he told me things that I could come here and do; things that most other people said I couldn’t do. From him telling me that on my visit, I just keep replaying that in my mind. He gave me this opportunity and I’ve worked for that my whole life.
“I just want to pay him back by playing as hard as I can and take every opportunity like it’s the last. It means so much for me to be out here doing what I’m doing and it feels good to be able to help my team.”
Yale menThe Bulldogs seem to be at least a year away from threatening for a league title and earning an NCAA Tournament berth. At 4-4 Yale needs to run the table to have any shot of getting back into the race.
The schedule, however, is favorable. Yale has four of its next six games at home including matchups with Harvard (Saturday, 8 p.m.) and Princeton. Even if they sweep someone they’ll need help.
But just one look at the talent on this team and it is hard to believe that Yale won’t contend for the title within the next two years. The Bulldogs are loaded with freshmen and sophomores already making an impact.
Yale womenThe Lady Bulldogs are looking to finish above .500 in the Ivy League. They enter this weekend 9-13 overall and 4-4 in Ancient Eight play.
Senior guard Megan Vasquez recently became the eighth player in the history of the program to record 1,300 career points and last weekend Yale logged its first weekend road sweep of Cornell and Columbia since the 1997-98.
Princeton, however, appears to be undeniable with a 7-0 league mark.
Albertus MagnusLed by Darius Watson the Falcons were the heavy favorites to repeat their Great Northeast Athletic Conference title. But Albertus Magnus (22-4) may have to do the heavy work on the road. After dropping a late regular-season game to tonight’s opponent Johnson & Wales, the Falcons earned the second seed in the GNAC tourney.
AMC opened GNAC play Tuesday with a win over Rivier setting up tonight’s monster rematch. If they win, the title game is Saturday at top-seeded Anna Maria College or back in the Falcons’ nest against St. Joseph’s (Maine).
The women’s team (20-6) went on the road to beat Rivier on Tuesday and continue their revival season with a semifinal game at Emmanuel in Boston, Mass., tonight. New Haven’s Kendrea Walker and Hamden’s Lianne Carrero have been immense all season.
SCSU-New HavenThe two rivals square off for a men’s and women’s doubleheader on Saturday at Southern. The men’s teams headed into Wednesday night’s games with identical marks and tied for fourth in the Northeast-10 Conference. They could meet again in the NE-10 tournament and Saturday’s huge game could determine which team will host the contest.
The UNH women’s team is currently sitting in seventh in the NE-10 standings eyeing a postseason berth. Southern, which reached the NCAA Division II regional final last season, is relegated to the role of spoiler.
Quinnipiac womenIf the Bobcats run the table the biggest question is where they’ll be seeded in the NCAA tournament. Quinnipiac has won 14 straight games and is 22-2 overall. They’ve beaten St. John’s and they are currently ranked 55th in the nation in the RPI.
But they’re strength of schedule is 255th and still sinking. Look for the Bobcats to get a No. 14 seed if they run the table and despite their incredible season they most likely still need to win NEC tournament to get an NCAA berth.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

St. Francis (Pa.) at Quinnipiac gameday preview


Where: TD Bank Sports Center, Hamden

When: Saturday, 3 p.m.

Records: St. Francis (Pa.) (3-21, 3-10 Northeast Conference): Quinnipiac (11-13, 7-5)

Radio: WQUN-1220 AM


Video: NEC Front Row

What to look for

Scouting St. Francis: It has been a dreadful season for the Red Flash which lost its first 11 games of the season before upsetting Central Connecticut State. St. Francis knocked off its second state team on Thursday playing spoilers by winning at Sacred Heart 64-60. Earl Brown had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Red Flash which snapped a two-game slide. Brown scored 14 and grabbed 18 rebounds against the Bobcats earlier in the season.

Scouting Quinnipiac: The Bobcats defeated rival Robert Morris 63-61 on Thursday for their fifth win in the last six games and third straight for the first time this season. With the win Quinnipiac moved into sixth place in the NEC standings as Evan Conti led all scorers with 18 points including a big jumper with 13 seconds to play. Ousmane Drame had 10 points and 15 rebounds for Quinnipiac which crushed the Colonials on the backboards 29-12 in the second half alone. Quinnipiac needed overtime to defeat St. Francis earlier in the season 75-66 as Ike Azotam had 22 points and 11 rebounds.

-- Bill Cloutier

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Columbia vs. Yale gameday preview



Where: Lee Amphitheater

When: 7 p.m.


Records: Columbia (10-10 2-4 Ivy); Yale (9-14, 3-3)

What to look for

Scouting Columbia: The Lions who played at Brown on Friday snapped a four-game losing streak and handed Harvard its first Ivy League loss of the season last weekend. Steve Frankoski’s 27 points paced the Lions’ attack. Columbia shot over 50 percent from the floor and 9-of-17 from 3-point range. The Lions average just 10.1 turnovers per game, which is the fifth fewest in the nation. Brian Barbour (13.0 ppg.) leads the team in scoring, while Mark Cisco (5.9 rpg.) is the top rebounder. Columbia has five players averaging at least 9.8 points per game.

Scouting Yale: The Bulldogs have won seven straight against the Lions, four of them at home but they still trail the all-time series 122-110. The teams have met at least once every year since 1902, which ties the series with Yale-Princeton as the oldest continuous series in Division I. Freshman Justin Sears returned to the Yale lineup last weekend helping the Bulldogs to a sweep of Penn and Princeton. Sears leads the team in rebounding and ranks second in the Ivy League in the department.

-- Bill Cloutier

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Yale capsules previews vs. Penn and Princeton


Friday vs. Penn,
Where: The Palestra, Philadelphia
When: 7 p.m.

Saturday at Princeton
Jadwin Gym, Princeton, N.J.
When: 6 p.m.

Records: Yale (7-14, 1-3 Ivy), Penn (4-16, 1-2), Princeton (10-7, 3-0)

What to look for

Scouting Penn:
The Quakers are coming off a split with Columbia and Cornell
last weekend. Miles Cartwright scored Penn's last eight points in a hard-fought 62-58 victory over Columbia. The next night, Cornell rallied from a 10-point second-half deficit to edge the Quakers 71-69. Fran Dougherty (13.8 ppg.) and Cartwright (13.7 ppg.) lead the team in scoring. Dougherty also averages 8.1 rebounds, while Cartwright has a team-best 66 assists. Jerome Allen is in his fourth year as the head coach of the Quakers.

Scouting Princeton: The Tigers, who host Brown on Friday, have won five straight games overall and have a 20-game winning streak in Ivy League games at Jadwin Gym. Ian Hummer
is second in the league in scoring (15.9 ppg.) and fourth in rebounding (6.7 rpg.). Hummer was named the Ivy League Player of the Week for the fi fth time this season after averaging 19.0 points in a sweep of Cornell and Columbia last week. Princeton (10-7, 3-0 Ivy) is No. 1 in the Ivy League and No. 14 in the nation (through Feb. 3) in scoring defense, now at 57.5 ppg. allowed. Mitch Henderson is in his second season as the head coach of the Tigers.

Scouting Yale: The lost a hard-fought game at Harvard last week and then were upset at Dartmouth dropping them to 1-3 in the league. Yale played both games without freshman star center Justin Sears due to an ankle injury. The Bulldogs appear to be getting healthy as both Brandon Sherrod and Jesse Pritchard have returned but only Sherrod played last week and in limited fashion. This is traditionally the toughest trip of the season for the Bulldogs but if they can't manage a split their Ivy League hopes appear to be in grave shape. After this weekend Yale plays four straight games at home.

- Bill Cloutier

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Connecticut players signing letters of intent

The following is a list of state football players and their collegiate choices:

Player School College
Andre Anderson,Hillhouse, Univ. of New Haven
Andrew Barton, Ridgefield, Bryant
Ben Berey, Glastonbury, Tufts
Brendan Bilcheck, Hand, Bowdoin
Tim Boyle, Xavier, UConn
Caleb Camacho, New London, Sacred Heart
Chris Devaney, Newtown, Bryant
Jonah Dorsey, Xavier, Stonehill
Quinn Fleeting, Windsor, Central Conn. State
James Frusciante, Staples, Princeton
Pete Gerson, Hand, Yale
Peter Gesualdi, Darien, Hobart
Chris Golger, Fairfield Prep, Tufts
Pieter Hoets, Staples, Trinity
Darryn Horner, Hillhouse, Stonehill
Andrew Isaacs, Manchester, Maryland
Cory Jasudowich, Cheshire Academy, UConn
Kevin Kearney, Staples, Bowdoin
Nick Kelly, Staples, Amherst College
Mike Lasala, Wilton, Washington & Lee
Marcus Little, Manchester, Boston College
Andrew Matos, Ansonia, Rhode Island
Sean Merrill, Sheehan, Sacred Heart
Tom Milone, Masuk, UConn (baseball)
Colin Moore, Avon, Furman (lacrosse)
Je’Vaughn Moore, Hillhouse, Monmouth
Ryheime Moore, Windsor, AIC
Tommy Myers, Coventry/Windham, Tech UConn
Liam O’Neil, Greenwich, Tufts
Cole Ormsby, Windsor, UConn
Lance Ormsby, Windsor, Central Conn. State
Hector Rodriguez, Berlin, Dean
Patsy Romero, Wilton ,Plymouth State
Connor Rowe, Ridgefield, Bryant
Max Schumann, Xavier, Univ. of Chicago
George Smith, Holy Cross, Bryant
Max Tylki, Xavier, Brown
Kyle Vaughn, Staples, Fordham
Matt Walsh, Hand, UConn
Hal Chapman Wingo, Avon Georgetown

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Monmouth at Quinnipiac gameday capsule

Where: TD Bank Sports Center, Hamden
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Records: Monmouth 8-15 (3-7 Northeast); Quinnipiac 9-13 (5-5)
Radio: WQUN-1220; Internet:
Scouting Monmouth:
Monmouth has lost six straight to Quinnipiac, including an NEC quarterfinal matchup in 2010. MU’s last win came in the series was Jan. 2, 2010. The Hawks have lost three straight games overall, all by at least 14 points and have fallen into 10th in the conference. They are 2-10 on the road. Scoring leader Andrew Nicholas is questionable with a heel injury. Jesse Steele is coming off a career high 27 points vs. Bryant last time out.
Scouting Quinnipiac: The Bobcats got an important win at Wagner last time out to move into a tie for seventh place in the NEC standings. Ousmane Drame had a stellar two-game road trip scoring 32 points and grabbing 30 rebounds coming off the bench. The Bobcats are 4-6 at home but have won their past two games at Hamden. Quinnipiac went 36 for 44 from the free-throw line in their win at Wagner. The Bobcats were last in the NEC rankings from the line prior to that performance.
— Bill Cloutier

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Spinner out as Albertus Magnus athletic director

Michael Spinner has resigned from his position as director of athletics at Albertus Magnus College.
Spinner submitted his resignation on Feb. 1.
Kristen DeCarli, who is currently assistant director of athletics and sports information director, will serve as acting athletic director during the remainder of this academic year and until the appointment of a new director.
The school will begin interviewing for the position in the spring.
Spinner was named AD on Sept. 1, 2010. He joined Albertus after spending a year and a half as the AD at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.
Spinner served previously as associate director of athletics at Yeshiva University in New York and is a 1999 graduate of Pace University.

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LSU’s Fico Tabbed to USA Softball Player of the Year Watch List

Rachele Fico continued LSU softball’s longstanding legacy and was one of 50 finalists chosen to the “Watch List” for the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award announced Friday by Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball.
The award, considered the Heisman Trophy of women's collegiate softball, is in its 12th season and designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by all softball players from across the country.
It marks the third straight season that Fico has been in contention for this prestigious award. After being named to the “Watch List” to start 2011, Fico was one of 25 finalists for the honor last season. She is among the illustrious company of former All-Americans Britni Sneed, Leslie Klein, Kristin Schmidt and Kirsten Shortridge as the only LSU players to be named as USA Softball Top 25 finalists.
Fico has racked up 54 career victories sparked by a pair of 20-win seasons in 2010 and 2012. The senior right-hander posted an impressive 1.12 ERA, fourth-best in the nation. She also collected the nation’s fifth-most shutouts with 13.
Fico’s postseason was just as impressive as the Connecticut native was claimed four victories and was touched up for only two earned runs over 28.0 innings of work en route to NCAA College Station Regional and NCAA Columbia Super Regional MVP honors.
The ASA and USA Softball will narrow the list down to its Top 25 finalists on April 10. While an athlete does not have to be on the “Watch List” to be considered for the Top 25, the eventual USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will come from the Top 25 Finalists.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

SCSU men's basketball team making comebacks part of the norm

NEW HAVEN — They have become the cardiac kids. The Southern Connecticut men’s basketball team has used big comebacks in the past three games, winning two of them, to climb into fourth place in the Northeast-10 Conference standings.
“The comebacks seem to be the trend,” SCSU coach Mike Donnelly said. “We’re in a good stretch and we’ve put ourselves in a good spot.”
Southern’s recent rallies have been unlikely to say the least. On Tuesday the Owls scored just 13 points in the first half at Southern New Hampshire. But, for the second straight game it overcame a double-digit deficit in the second half to pull out a 62-56 victory.
“I really wasn’t that upset with them at halftime,” Donnelly said. “I knew we only had 13 points but we were getting good shots, they just weren’t falling. I just wanted to help out with our spacing and I figured we’d make some shots in the second half.”
SCSU, which leads the NE-10 in scoring averaging 75 points, finished the second half with 49 points. The Owls (12-6, 9-5 NE-10) had three-players in double-digits led by Greg Langston with a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds. Trevon Hamlet also had 11 points, nine rebounds and two blocks and Rashamell Vereen added 11 points.
Southern knocked off Stonehill 77-74 on Saturday in a game it trailed by seven with less than four minutes to go. The game prior, SCSU rallied from 16 points down in the second half but dropped an 83-80 decision against NE-10 leading Saint Anselm.
Hamlet, an athletic 6-6 swingman, has been the catalyst for the Owls. He can rebound, defend and is among the top Division II scorers averaging 18.2 points.
“He’s the heart and soul of the team,” Donnelly said. “He’s a great kid. He’s been an anchor defensively. He just leads us in every way.”
Then there’s steady junior Greg Langston, of Stratford, who notched his second double-double of the season the past game.
“He’s unique because he’s a 6-3 guy who’s comfortable with his back to the basket,” Donnelly said.
Luke Houston came to SCSU as a prolific scorer but Donnelly has had to encourage him to shoot more at Southern.
“Sometimes he passes up some open shots but he’s taking it upon himself to become our best perimeter defender,” Donnelly said. Sophomore guard Tylon Smith fills the entire stat sheet and Vereen, a slick guard from Meriden who played for Donnelly three years ago at Post, is averaging 8.2 points and Donnelly said he’s the fastest player in the NE-10.
Donnelly hopes the second half of the schedule will be more favorable to his team. They are 7-2 on the road and 4-4 at home but he expects that mark to improve.
“Hopefully it’s a good thing that we have five games at home in the second half and after (Saturday’s game against) Bentley we have seven games against teams that we’ve already played. It’s going to be a dogfight,” he said.
Interestingly, SCSU is tied in the standings with border rival New Haven, another club in the midst of a renaissance.
“I always say it’s great for everyone involved that New Haven’s has turned their program around too,” said Donnelly, who took over a 2-25 team when he arrived at the school.
“I can’t say enough how great a job Ted (Hotaling) has done at New Haven and if we could both play meaningful games at the end of the season it’s great for the entire area of basketball.”
Southern hosts Bentley on Saturday at the Moore Fieldhouse at 3:30 p.m.

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Former Yale star Mark Arcobello could make NHL debut with Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday

Mark Arcobello, the Milford, Conn., native who went on to become an All-American down the road at Yale University, was recalled today by the Edmonton Oilers.
Arcobello, who had three assists in last Monday's American Hockey League All-Star Game at Providence, has had a great season with the Oklahoma City Barons. The feisty forward helped the West beat the East 7-6, and his final helper, which created the game-winner, came with 11.2 seconds left on a pass to Ryan Hamilton. This came a day after the former Bulldog helped the West win the skills competition at the Dunkin Donuts Center, the site of the 2013 NCAA East Regional.
In 43 games this season, Arcobello has 14 goals and 39 points for OKC, which has scored 140 goals in 45 games.
Edmonton head coach Ralph Krueger, making reference to the former Yale star, posted this on Twitter, "He's been a consistent player and gives us an option at wing and centre. His hard work in OKC has paid off."
He scored 49 goals and had 116 points while playing in New Haven. Arcobello's best night as a Bulldog may have been his last. He scored three goals and had three assists in the 2010 NCAA Northeast Regional Final against eventual national champion Boston College.
His NHL debut could be tomorrow night when the Oilers host Dallas in a game that airs live on TSN.

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