By Jim Fenton, The Enterprise (Brockton)
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- The Bridgewater State University women’s basketball team will have a youthful look this season.
Eleven players on the Bears roster are either freshmen or sophomores with only three juniors and one senior.
“We’re a very young team,” said coach Bridgett Casey, now in her 23rd season. “We have a high IQ freshman class here. I can see us being three or four freshmen deep and that’s nice to have that.”
Bridgewater State, which opened Wednesday night at Endicott College, went 14-13 last season and finished third in the MASCAC at 8-4. Four starters, including first-team all-conference forward Kailyn Aguiar (11.1 points, 9.5 rebounds), will have to be replaced.
The lone senior is Nicole Bostick, a Coyle-Cassidy High graduate who appeared in 25 games and made 10 starts last season, averaging 5.1 points.
“She’s been plagued with the back injuries on and off for three years, but knock on wood, she’s in a really good spot right now, feels good and is playing really, really well,” said Casey of her co-captain.
Joining Bostick in the starting lineup will be sophomore guard Olivia Dziadyk, who started 17 games last season, and sophomore forward Maggie Hester.
The center spot will be split between junior Destiny Fitzgerald, who averaged 8.3 points and 5.6 rebounds last season, and junior Leah Simmons of Abington, a Fontbonne graduate.
Freshman Kylee Piche, a former Enterprise All-Scholastic who helped Bridgewater-Raynham go 21-2 last winter, will also be a starter.
“She’s very athletic, very fast,” said Casey. “She has good court awareness, great athletic ability with her jumping and she’s a defensive specialist. She’s a great all-around athlete.”
The top reserves will include sophomores Hannah Moniz of Taunton and Hannah Dziadyk. Moniz has been moved to the low post from the guard spot and “she’s definitely more comfortable there and stretches out the defense with her 3-point range.”
Junior Devon Tabor will be a co-captain with Bostick.
“Their leadership is what we value as a team,” said Casey. “Our slogans are an ‘all-in attitude’ and ‘we over me’ and Nicole and Devon make sure we stay true every day in practice to our core values.
“We’re very excited to be in this position with all 15 players having a ‘we over me’ mentality. They’re pushing each other every day. We wanted to bring that back. They’re working extremely hard. To get back on top of the MASCAC is the team goal and we’ve got a couple of months with these non-conference games to take the right steps.”
The Bears were picked to finish fourth in the MASCAC preseason poll.