Women's Basketball

Lady Vikings, Now Ranked Second In The Nation, Prepare To Defend Top Seed

CONTACT: Jeff Foley (518) 629-8085 or (518) 373-1262
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Wednesday, February 28, 2001

Under Guidance Of Second-Year Head Coach Colleen Ferris,
Hudson Valley Is The Team To Beat At Regional Tournament

     In the final NJCAA Division III women's basketball poll of 2000-01, released yesterday, Hudson Valley Community College (23-2) jumped three spots to the number-two position, behind College of DuPage of Illinois (23-2). The Lady Vikings also are the number-one seed in the NJCAA Division III Region III tournament, which is being held at Mohawk Valley Community College. Hudson Valley begins play at 8 p.m. on Friday, taking on number-eight seed Herkimer Community College (16-12). Herkimer defeated Tompkins-Cortland Community College (9-11) on Feb. 27.

     "It's a confidence booster," said Hudson Valley's second-year coach, Colleen Ferris of Averill Park, of earning the number-one seed in the tournament. The overall winner of the Region III tourney advances to the national championships at Corning Community College. "But really, no seeds are better than any others. You're going to play tough teams no matter what."

     To capture the Region III title, Hudson Valley will have to win three games, played on consecutive days (March 2-4). Ten squads were selected from Region III, which boasts 21 women's basketball teams. The following is a list of the tournament seeds:

1) Hudson Valley Community College (23-2)
2) Fulton-Montgomery Community College (26-3)
3) Broome Community College (27-3)
4) Mohawk Valley Community College (24-4)
5) Jefferson Community College (20-9)
6) Corning Community College (14-11)
7) Cayuga Community College (15-14)
8) Herkimer Community College (16-12)
9) Tompkins-Cortland Community College (9-11)
10) Erie Community College (10-20)

     "It's going to be tough," Ferris said. "It's a game of endurance and who's in the best condition. And I think that plays in our favor. We have nine athletes on our team."

     Looking primarily at statistics, the Lady Vikings are led by freshman guard/forward Lindsey Bradt (Bishop Maginn). The NJCAA Region III Player of the Year is averaging 18.5 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. She's also shooting 54.7 percent from the field and 84.6 percent from the free throw line. Bradt leads Hudson Valley with 71 steals.

     "I don't know what to say about Lindsey," Ferris said. "I knew she was an athlete and did well at the high school level, but college is completely different. You can't really judge how well a player will do by what they did in high school. So I knew Lindsey would contribute, but not how much. Clearly, she means quite a bit to this team."

     Hudson Valley's sudden success (the Vikings were 7-18 in 1999-2000, Ferris's first at Hudson Valley) cannot, however, be contributed to just one student-athlete.

     "These players come from such varied backgrounds," said Ferris, referring to her squad, which features eight Section II hoopsters, seven of whom were recruited by Ferris. "It's really been surprising to see how well they work together. I've never had a team get along so well off the court. They do a lot of stuff together outside of practice and games."

     Ferris said second-year guard/forward and co-captain Kara Sheehan (Catholic Central) deserves much of the credit for bringing the Lady Vikings together as a cohesive unit. Sheehan is averaging 14.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, and she's shooting 51.4 percent from the field. But her most important contributions may not be so tangible.

       "Yeah, Kara's scoring and getting rebounds, same as last year, but she's really matured as a player," Ferris said. Sheehan, MVP of last year's Hudson Valley squad, earned All-Region III Second Team honors this season. "She has done a tremendous job as captain, dealing with a lot of stuff that makes my job easier. Whether she's playing or not, Kara has a calming effect on everybody. Her teammates need her presence, not just her statistics. What she does for this team runs deeper than basketball skills or ability."

     Ferris also sounded off about Hudson Valley's three remaining starters: Valerie Boyce (Schuylerville), Megan Davis (Greenwich) and Meghan Squires (Hoosic Valley).

     "I've been surprised by Val and Megan Davis," Ferris said. Both freshmen, Boyce plays guard/forward while Davis serves as the team's point guard. "Val has really earned a starting spot. She's a lot more aggressive than I thought she'd be, and she's very court-wise. She understands the small things. And with Megan, I knew she was a competitor and one of the best defensive players around – those are two of the reasons I recruited her. If she's not the one getting steals, she's still in there causing turnovers. But if you'd told me she'd score 14 or 15 points in a game a handful of times this season … that's not what I expected from her. She's come up big and picked up the slack when we needed her to."

     Squires, meanwhile, has at times dominated in the paint. The freshman center, whose sister, Christy, played for Hudson Valley's 1992-93 national championship team, is averaging 12.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. The 6-foot player recorded a triple-double against SUNY Morrisville on Feb. 6, contributing 15 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocks.

     "Squires can take over at times," Ferris said. "She's got a ton of potential."
     One thing is clear: Hudson Valley has the players in place to win. They've proven it all season long.

     "We're in the middle of a great run," Ferris said. "This year has been a lot of fun, and I'm proud of every one of my players. They've been committed to getting better each time out, which is why we're winning. As long as they keep working hard, we'll be in good shape."
    Hudson Valley Community College, located in Troy, offers more than 50 degree and certificate programs in four academic divisions; Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Liberal Arts and Sciences. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, Hudson Valley has an enrollment of more than 9,000 students each year, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and worker retraining.