BABSON PARK, Mass.—After winning a fourth consecutive New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular season title last winter, the Babson College women's basketball program is primed to continue its tradition of success in 2019-20.
Head coach Judy Blinstrub, who has won 644 games over her first 35 seasons at Babson, returns eight players from a team that went 21-5 overall and 14-2 in league play last season. Despite the loss of four seniors, the Beavers bring back three of their top five scorers after winning 20 or more games for the ninth time in the last 11 seasons.
Senior captains Emily Bonifacic (Allendale, N.J.) and Katherine Tamulionis (Foxboro, Mass.) finished second and third, respectively, on the team in scoring and will look to build upon the top statistical seasons of their careers this winter. Bonifacic posted four double-doubles and averaged career highs of 11.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.2 assists while shooting 51.9 percent, and Tamulionis contributed career-best numbers in points (10.3), boards (2.8) and steals (1.3) to go along with 2.2 assists.
GUARDS ON THE GO
With the departure of three key contributors in the backcourt, junior guards Katie Jones (Ridgewood, N.J.) and Christina Bonfiglio (Westwood, Mass.) should see expanded roles in 2019-20. Jones averaged 2.8 points and shot 37.9 percent from three-point range last winter, while Bonfiglio (1.6 ppg) scored in double figures twice as a sophomore.
Senior Jacqueline Jozefick (Milford, Conn.) and junior Nicole Hiller (Rocky Hill, Conn.) give the Green and White a pair of forwards that are threats to score both in the post and on the perimeter. Jozefick shot 40.3 percent from the floor and averaged career highs of 5.6 points and 4.3 rebounds last year, while Hiller scored in double figures five times and chipped in with 4.2 points and 2.0 boards in just under 10 minutes per outing.
Senior Vanessa Onwe (Tarrytown, N.Y.) and junior Shaye Galletta (Riverside, Conn.) are both high-energy wing players that give Babson versatility with their ability to play multiple positions. Onwe played in a career-high 22 games and averaged 1.2 points and 1.4 rebounds as a junior. Galletta, who battled injuries, appeared in eight contests and contributed 2.0 points on 41.2 percent shooting to go along with 1.9 boards per game.
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
In addition to their eight returning players, the Beavers welcome five first-year players and two transfers to the roster this season. The first-year class, which features players from four different stats, should push to contribute immediately.
With the NEWMAC switching to a 10-game schedule for 2019-20, Babson will take part in a trio of early-season tournaments while playing 15 non-conference games overall this season. The Beavers are set to face as many as seven teams that reached last year's NCAA Tournament, which includes matchups against No. 1 Amherst and No. 21 Ithaca over the weekend of November 24-25 and a January 23 date with second-ranked Tufts. In all, the Green and White will face six NESCAC opponents and two more from the powerful University Athletic Association (UAA).
NEWMAC COACHES POLL
The Beavers were picked first on five ballots and finished second overall when the league released its annual preseason coaches' poll earlier this month. With the schedule change Babson will not open conference play until January 18.