CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The Lesley University women's basketball team had their best season under Head Coach Dan Hunt as they finished the 2007-2008 season with a 11-14 (5-9 North Atlantic Conference) record. The season was highlighted with key wins over stiff competition, a milestone reached by a senior captain, and the emergence of an exciting group of young players.
In November, the Lynx hosted the Bon Appetit Classic Tip-Off Tournament and won the championship to begin the year 2-0 before conference play began. Freshman Brianne Caira (Pelham, N.H.) won Tournament MVP while Lani Cabral-Pini (Wilmington, Mass.) and Hailee Lowe (Hamilton, Mass.) earned All-Tournament honors.
Going into their first conference game against Becker College, Lesley was 4-2 and ready to begin their road to the NAC Championships. The Lynx defeated the Hawks in impressive fashion 71-62 behind 20 points from Lowe and a double-double from senior Courtnie Leakeas (Lowell, Mass.). Despite losing to Lesley, Becker would go on to win the NAC Championship.
After New Year's, the Lynx played in a challenging tournament against high quality opponents Wheaton College (MA) and Emerson College. While the team lost both games, the experience of playing against such established programs made the Lynx a better team.
A few weeks later, after the Lynx dropped single-digit losses to NAC powerhouses Maine Maritime Academy and Husson College, the team hosted an exciting game that saw one of their players reach an important milestone. Senior captain Courtnie Leakeas became the second Lesley women's basketball athlete to pass 1,000 points in a Lynx uniform. The guard finished her career at Lesley averaging 12.4 points/g, 5.7 rebounds/g, 3.6 assists/g, 2.1 steals/g, and 0.3 blocks/g.
Following a 63-60 victory over MASCAC opponent Framingham State College, the Lynx unfortunately lost their next five games, including four games against NAC teams. Lesley got back on track against Elms College on Senior Night, beating the Blazers 79-33 behind four double-digit point performances from Cabral-Pini, Leakeas, Caira, and Kaitlyn Wechsler (Merrick, N.Y.).
Wechsler's 10 points that night as one of many stellar performances from the freshman forward. Wechsler averaged 12.0 points/g and 4.2 rebounds/g and in the process earned three NAC Rookie of the Year honors as well as All-Conference Honorable Mention. Her immediate impact this season gave Lesley fans a glimpse of what to expect her next three years.
The Lynx finished the regular season just outside of the final playoff spot, but had many positive moments to call the 2007-2008 season a success. With the university moving into the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) in the fall of 2008, Lesley will look to earn a conference championship against some new opponents.
To learn more about the Lesley University women's basketball team, please visit their website.