Collins picks upthe ball for Babson
Over three full seasons, with the terrific trio of Nicki Wurdeman, Kathleen King, and Sarah Collins ruling the paint, the Babson College women’s basketball team never lost a conference game to a conference foe.
Wurdeman, the program’s all-time leading scorer, and King, who ranks second in career rebounding and third in scoring, graduated after leading the Beavers to four straight NCAA Division 3 tournament appearances.
Now Collins, a 6-foot-2 senior center from Weymouth, is on her own.
Along with steady point guard and fellow captain Allanah Wynn of Quincy (Milton Academy), the last member of Babson’s ‘‘Big 3’’ is being counted on to provide leadership for a young team that tapped off the season with five straight wins.
She has been up to the task.
Shooting at a 51 percent rate (39 of 76), Collins is averaging 18 points, 16 boards, and 2.8 blocks per game. She has been honored as the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference Player of the Week twice.
“It’s hard to find the words to describe what it was like playing with Nicki and Kathleen,” said Collins, a fourth team All-America selection last season.
“Without them, it’s a different game for me, especially down low, working the boards and passing. But it’s a good pressure because it drives me to be even better this year and to pass on to our younger players what it takes to succeed. No doubt, we’re a target because our seniors haven’t lost a conference game,’’ added Collins, who posted her fifth straight double-double with 15 points and 17 rebounds, along with 3 blocks, in a 58-41 win over WPI on Wednesday.
The Beavers, ranked 23d nationally, entered Saturday’s matchup against Mount Holyoke unbeaten in their last 56 regular season games and 10 postseason NEWMAC games.
Wurdeman, the fourth leading rebounder in program history and the first Babson player to be selected to the WBCA All-America first team, is still on board as a volunteer coach.
“That’s been a help to me, and being named Player of the Week also motivates me to continue to have high expectations for myself and for the team,’’ said Collins, a former Weymouth High star who adds to her own Babson record every time she blocks a shot.
Through four games, Collins had career totals of 1,248 points (8th in program history), 849 rebounds (7th), 261 blocks, and 179 steals (7th).
Babson coach Judy Blinstrub said Collins continues to dominate on the defensive end while adapting to being double-teamed.
“Sarah’s also looking for her shot more and is handling guarding the other team’s power forward better this year,” said Blinstrub. “It’s a new challenge for her, and she’s embraced it.”
Wynn, a four-year starter, is joined on the roster by sophomore starting forward Nikki Heavern (Hull High), sophomore guard Erin Young (Westwood High), freshman forward Meg Otto (Scituate High), and freshman guard Marissa Cicchetti (Mansfield and Bishop Feehan).
“Allana is our floor general and probably the best defender I’ve seen in our conference,” said Blinstrub. “She’ll come up with a key basket when we need one, and she and Sarah know each other’s game so well.
“Nikki gives us a strong inside rebounding presence after playing more outside last season. Erin is one of the purest shooters I’ve ever coached. When she’s hot, she’s hard to shut down. And Meg is an outstanding passer from the post position.’’
Here and there
The Quincy/North Quincy Football Hall of Fame honored its new inductees Nov. 20 at the Sons of Italy Hall in Quincy during the 80th anniversary week of their Thanksgiving Day rivalry.
From Quincy High: Ron Mowbray (1961), Dan Morrell (1967), Mike Notarangelo (1984), Ally Sleiman (1992), Kevin Moore (1998), and Mike Lorenzano (2002). From North Quincy High: Bernard Creedon (1955), Dan Polvere (1969), Neil Fisher (1981), Justin Dilks (1984), Joseph Mulvey (1988), Keith Gott (1990) and Frank McNamara (1999). Moore and Dilks were inducted posthumously. Special honorees were George Burke (1950) of Quincy High and Michael Morrissey (1972) of North Quincy High. Burke is the former Norfolk district attorney, Morrissey the current Norfolk DA.. . .
Patrick Frodigh, senior captain of the Westwood High golf team, has been named the Christopher Cutler Rich Junior Player of the Year by the Massachusetts Golf Association. Frodigh, a Globe All-Scholastic, won the New England Junior PGA and Massachusetts Junior Amateur titles this year and was victorious 13 months ago at a Future Collegians World Tour event at Notre Dame University. Westwood High has won back-to-back MIAA state Division 3 golf championships. . . . Continued...