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Northwest Sports Notebook

One more game for Beckwith

By John Vellante
March 29, 2009
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That's all Val Beckwith wanted, at least one more game suiting up for the Bates women's basketball team.

The season, and her magnificent career, ended with a heartbreaking 76-71 loss to Trinity in the quarterfinals of the NESCAC tournament and left Beckwith just eight points shy of the program's scoring record.

The defeat, according to the former three-sport star and captain at Woburn High, was a bittersweet ending to her storied career at Bates.

"Sure, it's disappointing that our season ended with a loss," said Beckwith, a 5-foot, 10-inch forward. "We wanted to get one more win to keep our season going. One more win would have given us a chance for one more win after that, too. If we win, the points would have come. It really would have been nice to have had the chance to get eight more points, but coming up short really doesn't take anything away from the career I've had."

And what a career it was, capped off by being named NESCAC, New England Women's Basketball Association, and Maine Women's Basketball Coaches Association Player of the Year. And last week, she received All-America honorable mention from the Women's Basketball Coaches of America and was chosen Northeast Region Player of the Year and fourth-team All-America by D3Hoops.com.

"It's so overwhelming," said Beckwith of all the accolades. "It's nice to know that my hard work paid off and is being recognized.

"There are a lot of talented Division 3 players I have played against, and I have a lot of respect for them. Any one of them could have been chosen. The NESCAC honor is particularly satisfying to me because I think our league is among the most competitive in the country. . . . To know that the NESCAC coaches noticed me is a great honor."

Why wouldn't they have noticed?

In NESCAC play, Beckwith averaged a conference-high 19 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.64 steals. She wound up her career with 1,470 points, trailing only Emily King, who had 1,478 from 1996-2000.

Beckwith, who netted a career-high 28 points against Colby in January, set Bates records this season for free-throw attempts (190) and free throws made (142). Her 392 career free throws made also is a Bates high.

Bates coach Jim Murphy said Beckwith is "certainly" one of the top 10 players he has coached in his 15 years at the helm and that puts her in some pretty select company because Murphy has coached five NESCAC players of the year this decade. "She was remarkably consistent and played at a high level throughout her career." he said.

AROUND AND ABOUT - Brandeis sophomore Anna Hanley of Arlington finished 17th in the saber in the NCAA Fencing Championships in State College, Pa. Hanley won eight of her 23 saber bouts and was four wins away from a top-10 finish and All-America recognition. . . Lew Finnegan of Lexington, who helped lead Bentley to the NCAA Regional championship game, has been named to the Daktronics Division 2 All-East team. Finnegan was Bentley's second-leading scorer with 16.9 points per game. . . A tip of the hat to coach Blaise MacDonald and his University of Massachusetts at Lowell hockey team, which went from a fifth-seed to runner-up in the Hockey East Championships. The River Hawks swept fourth-seeded Vermont in the two-game quarterfinal series and stunned No. 2 Northeastern, 3-2, in overtime in the semis, before losing to top-ranked Boston University, 1-0, in the title game. UMass finished the season 20-16-2. . .

North Carolina freshman and former Globe All-Scholastic Laura Moriarty of Methuen set a school record in the 400-yard individual medley at the Division 1 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in Texas. Moriarty, who finished 19th in the event, was clocked in 4 minutes, 11.32 seconds, and that trimmed nearly a half second off the previous NC best that had stood for 25 years . . .

Former athletes Phil Long, (class of 1946, baseball, basketball, and football); Pat Stone Morrison (1966, basketball and field hockey); Jack Stephenson (1966, basketball and baseball), and who later was a coach and athletic director; and Michaela Blaney (1998, soccer, basketball and track), were inducted into the North Andover-Johnson Hall of Fame last night. Also enshrined was Jack Kelley, who coached boys' and girls' track teams for 30 years, and the undefeated (11-0) 1994 Division 4A Super Bowl championship football team. That team was unique in that it featured three female managers and the trio - Yvette (Frazier) Erle, Kim (Sacco) Faulconer, and Rory (Lever) Waldinger - were all honored. . .

Sophomore Samantha Farrell of Reading was a member of the Wheaton 200-yard freestyle relay team that finished 14th and earned All-America status at the Division 3 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in Minnesota. It was the first All-America recognition in the program's 18-year history.

Sports Notebook ideas or information may be sent to JohnPVel@aol.com.

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