Allen Lessels' UNH Notebook: Wildcats, Hogan not finished yet
DURHAM -- Senior games are emotional by their very nature.
The University of New Hampshire women's basketball team, despite losing only one player to graduation, had a particularly emotional Senior Game ceremony on Saturday at Lundholm Gymnasium.
"One senior, one really important senior," said fourth-year head coach Maureen Magarity.
The Wildcats honored Kelsey Hogan, the do-everything leader of a point guard out of Nashua North, before the game.
If it seems like Hogan has been around forever, well, it's because in collegiate basketball terms she pretty much has.
Hogan is wrapping up her sixth and final season as a Wildcat as she leads the team into the America East tournament that starts today at the University of Albany.
UNH is the No. 3 seed for the tournament, its highest ranking since the 1998-99 season, and takes on No. 6 Vermont in a quarterfinal game today at 2 p.m.
The winner of the UNH-Vermont game takes on the winner of a game between No. 2 Stony Brook and No. 7 UMBC in the semifinals. The semifinal game is schedule for Sunday at 11 a.m.
The women's championship game is on Monday at 4 p.m. in Albany.
UNH beat Vermont twice during the season: 60-45 at home on Jan. 20 and 71-50 at Vermont on Feb. 19.
The Wildcats are 18-11 overall and 12-4 in America East. They advanced to the semifinals last year when Hogan hit a long three-point basket at the buzzer for a 49-46 win over Stony Brook.
UNH has never made it to the league championship game.
The Wildcats are trying to change that this year.
"Their motto since the summer has been 'For the Ring,'" Magarity said.
"They want a ring. They want to win the championship. Kelsey has really taken that on this year as a challenge."
Hogan scored 12.4 points game during the regular season, a career best, to lead the Wildcats and sophomore center Corinne Coia is next at 11.6.
Magarity marvels at the way Hogan leads, competes and perseveres through her rehabilitation from various injuries.
Hogan led UNH with 20 points and eight rebounds in her first game in the fall of 2008. She played two more games that season before being sidelined by a knee injury.
She blew her knee out before the next season even started and missed the year.
The NCAA awarded Hogan her eligibility back for both seasons, which is why she's now closing out a rare sixth year.
She wants to coach and has been accepted into the Women's Basketball Coaches' Association "So You Want to be a Coach" program and will take part in the three-day event that will be held in conjunction with the Final Four early next month in Nashville.
First, Hogan and the Wildcats will see what they can do about getting to a title game.
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THE men's basketball team is in Albany this weekend, too, and also plays Vermont in the quarterfinals. No. 8 UNH and No. 1 Vermont square off on Saturday at noon. The Wildcats will try to regroup in Albany.
The program was rocked by the news that came out this week that Scott Weitzell, the team's longstanding director of basketball operations, has been fired amid an investigation into allegations that he may have taken video and still photographs of UNH players inside the team's locker room during a trip to Vermont in January.
Vermont is 21-5 overall and 15-1 in the league. UNH is 6-23 and 4-12. The Wildcats dropped two games to the Catamounts this year, 57-40 in Burlington on Jan. 20, and 79-44 at home on Feb. 19.
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THE men's hockey team, the No. 4 seed in the Hockey East tournament, plays No. 5 Northeastern in a best-of-three series at home in the Whittemore Center next weekend. The series begins with a game on Friday at 7 p.m. Game 2 will be on Saturday, either late in the afternoon or at 7 p.m., and Game 3, if necessary, will be on Sunday at 4 p.m.