BURLINGTON, VT – It was a season to remember for UVM women’s basketball. The team won their first America East championship in 13 years to earn a spot in the NCAA tournament, but now that’s all in the past.
“Technically we’re 0-0 and we have to earn every single win and none of our wins last season even matter,” said Emma Utterback, a graduate student.
The Catamounts are sporting nearly the same roster as last year, but there’s one glaring absence; up and up-and-coming star and three-point shooter Catherine Gilwee is out for the season with a lower-body injury.
“It’s a loss, I’m not gonna sugarcoat it,” said head coach Alisa Kresge. “But [we’re] excited about how she’s mentoring our younger ones, how our young ones want to be part of something special and fill a gap that we have.”
Andjela Matic could help fill that gap. The sophomore came off the bench in 20 games for UVM last season, shooting 40 percent from the field. “She’s put in the work,” said Utterback, about Matic in preseason. “She has a lot more confidence this year than she did last year.”
Sophomore Kiera Hanson could also contribute. “[She’s a] sharpshooter, she’s an amazing shooter and I don’t think anybody realizes how amazing she really is,” said Utterback.
This year, wins aren’t going to come easy for this team. But that was done intentionally.
“We are gonna be challenged that’s for sure,” said Kresge. “It’s really about how we grow and how we bounce back when things don’t go our way. If we felt like we could just walk through non-conference and we’d be ready for conference play we’d be sorely mistaken.”
In late November, the Catamounts head south to compete in the Gulf Coast Showcase against teams like North Carolina and Iowa.
“Wow,” said senior Anna Olson, on the impressive showcase bracket. “That’s who we could be, that’s what we can be. So I think it’s going to be both motivating and super exciting to play against some of these teams as well.”
And with that added experience, the goal is to get right back to the top. “I would love to go back to back. I’m not done making history with this team,” said Utterback.
UVM women’s basketball starts its season at home for an exhibition game against St. Michael’s on November 2. The regular season tips off at home against Miami (OH) on November 6.