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January 06. 2013 10:41PM

Allen Lessels' UNH Notebook: Women's hoop coach Magarity takes timeout


University of New Hampshire coach Maureen Magarity talks to Kelsey Hogan of Nashua during a timeout in a game against the University of Hartford. (MARK BOLTON/UNION LEADER)
MAUREEN MAGARITY, midway through her third season as the University of New Hampshire's women's basketball coach, had herself quite a holiday adventure.

Late in her pregnancy with her first baby, Magarity was told by her doctor not to fly and sat out the team's trip to play Cleveland State just before Christmas.

Mike Roux, the associate head coach, and Brendan Copes, who is Magarity's husband and in his first year as one of her assistants, took the team on the road for the Dec. 22 game.

Magarity went out to recruit locally the night before the game and then returned home.

"I went to bed and soon after that my water broke," Magarity said on Sunday. "I called the doctor at 2 in the morning and then drove myself to the hospital."

Three hours later, Charlotte Rita Copes, five-pounds, 15 ounces and 21 inches long, was born.

"She's a long, skinny thing," Magarity said. "Brendan was talking about her grip and said she's going to be a heck of a rebounder. That was at two days old."

Mom and daughter are both doing well, but the baby, six weeks premature, is still in the hospital and Magarity is staying with her to care for and feed her. She hopes the baby may be discharged in the next few days.

Charlotte's early and quick arrival beat Magarity's parents - they were in Hartford and hustling en route from West Point, N.Y. where Maureen's father, Dave, is the women's basketball coach at Army - and Copes to the hospital.

Copes was in the airport in Cleveland, trying to get home.

"The nurses were so smart," Magarity said. "They called Brendan and FaceTimed with him and he was able to see the birth. . . . I felt bad for him. It is what it is. At least I didn't go on the trip."

Magarity has stopped by practice when she's been able to get away from the hospital and the next challenge is to get back and spend more time with the team.

"It's been hard," she said. "The team's been struggling and in a little bit of a funk and it's been hard to watch. You want to be there with them. Hopefully we can pick it up here. We're not playing well and we've got to get our act together a little bit."

The Wildcats dropped their fourth straight game when they fell to Stony Brook at home, 48-44, on Saturday and they are 5-9 overall and 0-2 in America East. They play UMBC, 5-10 and 1-1, Wednesday night at home.

Director of Athletics Marty Scarano, the players and others at UNH have been great, Magarity said.

"Everybody wants me to take care of the baby and I want to take care of the baby," she said. "At the same time, this is the season. It's not like it's May or June."

______


IT'S THE FIRST major showdown of what surely be several major showdowns in the second half of the Hockey East season.

This one pits defending NCAA champion Boston College against the Wildcats, two of the top-ranked teams in the country, for the first time this season in a home-and-home series next weekend. The teams play Friday night at Conte Forum at BC and switch to Whittemore Center in Durham on Saturday. Both games are at 7 p.m.

BC, now 12-3-2, was ranked No. 2 last week and UNH, 13-3-2, was No. 4.

The Eagles are also on the top of the Hockey East standings, one spot and two points in front of the Wildcats.

Boston College has played one more league game than the Wildcats and has a 9-2-1 record for 19 points. UNH is 8-2-1 for 17 points and Boston University is another point back at 8-4-0.

One of the several matchups to watch puts UNH's No. 1 penalty killing numbers in the country up against BC's No. 2-rated power play unit.

The Wildcats gave up a late power play goal in Saturday night' 5-2 win over Rensselaer, but still lead the nation. They have killed off 59 of 63 power plays for a 93.7 percent success rate.

BC has scored 19 power-play goals in 72 chances for a 26.4 percent rate.

Casey DeSmith, a sophomore from Rochester, made 20 saves against RPI and continues to lead Hockey East in save percentage (.934) and goals-against average (1.90).

Defensemen had three of the UNH goals on Saturday. Senior Connor Hardowa and juniors Eric Knodel and Justin Agosta each had one.

alessels@unionleader.com

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