POTSDAM - The Clarkson University womens basketball team struggled with injuries in the 2012-13 season, but the Golden Knights precocious freshmen showed that it would behoove the rest of the league to keep an eye on the team as their development path continues towards a Liberty League post-season berth.
The Golden Knights, guided by fourth-year head coach John Hampton and first-year assistant Brittany Barton, were hit hard by injuries and by mid-season were without any upperclassmen on the squad. However, the remaining players gutted their way through the always difficult Liberty League schedule and that experience very well could point to a rapid rise.
Without a senior presence on the 2013-14 roster, Clarkson will look to juniors Brooke Butkovsky (Monroe, CT), Jovanna Snead (Poughkeepsie, NY) and Raeanne Clabeaux (New Woodstock, NY) for leadership. Snead missed the last quarter of the season with injury, while Butkovsky barely got on the court in the first semester after suffering a shoulder injury, and Clabeaux spent the year recovering from a knee injury. With a little bit of luck, the trio should be back contributing to the Knights cause.
The Class of 2016 received plenty of opportunities for playing time, and many took advantage. Ashley Loggins (Albany, NY), the Liberty League Co-Rookie of the Year, averaged 17.4 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, both first-year player records at Clarkson. In fact, Loggins led all freshmen in Division III in scoring and was third among all newcomers in rebounding. She also ranked 18th in the country in double-doubles with 15. Classmate Colleen Daley (Orchard Park, NY) broke Clarksons single-season record for blocked shots and ranked 37th in the nation in that category (2.35 bpg). Fellow sophomore Isabella Esposito (Essex, VT) finished third on the team in scoring at 6.5 points per game and is poised for another solid season. Additionally, sophomore Melissa Bogart (Voorheesville, NY), who led the Liberty League in minutes per game at 37.3, will certainly find time in the backcourt in roles as both a point guard and shooting guard.
While injuries decimated the team last year, that shouldnt be the case with a strong incoming freshman class along with a transfer. Junior Cara Manfredi (Glastonbury, CT), a transfer from SUNY Geneseo, will take over point guard duties and will add to Clarksons scoring punch from the perimeter. Additionally, the Knights brought in four versatile players with size, as each member in the group stands at 5-10.
The Golden Knights will open the season at the Oswego State Tournament on Friday and will begin Liberty League play on January 7th. The teams home opener will be against crosstown rival Potsdam State on December 3rd.