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Globe South Sports Notebook

Walpole’s Stedman returns to lead Amherst

STEDMAN STEDMAN
By Marvin Pave
January 2, 2011

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Walpole’s Caroline Stedman, a 2010 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-American for Amherst College, is expected to return to the lineup after semester break.

Stedman, who is averaging 7.8 points and 3 rebounds in eight games this season, was sidelined with an injury for the nationally top-ranked Lord Jeffs’ (11-0) last three December games. The 5-foot-9 junior guard, just the second All-American in program history, is hoping for a Jan. 5 return against visiting Wesleyan University.

“Caroline does a little bit of everything for us,’’ said head coach G.P. Gromacki. “She is a tremendous athlete and she can play at a level that most players in Division 3 can’t play at.’’

Last season the former Walpole High star started all 33 games to lead Amherst to a 32-1 record and a third-place finish in the NCAA Tournament. She averaged a conference-best 17.1 points in New England Small College Athletic Conference games and overall a team-high 12.3 points per game. Amherst’s only loss last season came in the NCAA Division 3 semifinals.

Her standout 2009-10 season included several other honors: D3hoops.com Second Team All-America and Northeast Player of the Year; NESCAC Player of the Year; ECAC New England Division 3 Player of the Year; All-NESCAC First Team; and WBCA All-Region First Team.

After a freshman season in which she averaged 10.4 minutes per game, Stedman had her breakout sophomore season. She has also led Amherst in scoring (14 points) this year against New Paltz and in rebounding (5) vs. Keene State.

Amherst, which returns every starter from last year, has won each game to date by double digits and leads the nation in scoring margin (plus-36.8), including five wins by at least 40 points and two by at least 50. The team also has a 35-game home winning streak that could still be on the line when the Lord Jeffs take on last year’s round-of-16 opponent and archrival Williams, the nation’s sixth-ranked Division 3 women’s team, Saturday.

UNH’s Cox picked for ECAC top 50 Braintree native Ralph Cox, the former University of New Hampshire star and an inductee to its Athletic Hall of Fame, has been named as one of the ECAC’s top 50 players on its 50th anniversary hockey team.

Cox is UNH’s all-time leader in goals (127) and points (243) and is the only player in UNH history to score more than 70 points in three consecutive seasons, a feat that has been somewhat obscured by his well-documented story as the final cut on the gold-medal winning “Miracle on Ice’’ 1980 US Olympic hockey team.

The top 50 team was selected from among 145 nominees by a committee of former coaches and members of the media.

A two-time All-American and ECAC All-Conference pick (1978 and 1979) and the ECAC Player of the Year in 1979, Cox led the Wildcats to the league title with 42 goals and 74 points in 34 games in 1979. He is the only UNH player to score 40 goals in a season — which he did on two occasions.

Cox, a Boston Bruins seventh round draft pick (122d overall) in 1977, who was also the Walter Brown Award winner as New England Player of the Year, played in Finland and in three minor professional leagues in the United States, including with New Haven of the American Hockey League.

After retirement from pro hockey, Cox went into the real estate business. His son, Dylan, played hockey and lacrosse at Providence College, and his nephew, Ryan Cox of Norwell, skated for the University of Vermont and also played minor league hockey.

Sophomore trio bolsters Babson Three area sophomore players have contributed to the fast start of the undefeated Babson College women’s basketball team — starting forward/center Sarah Collins (Weymouth High), starting guard Allanah Wynn of Quincy (Milton Academy), and guard/forward Kelsey Olivere (Braintree High).

The 6-foot-2 Collins was second on the team with 16.8 points and 9.0 rebounds per game and had also added 16 assists, 31 blocks, and 25 steals.

“Sarah has taken her game to another level. Her defensive presence has become a force in the paint and she has become a solid offensive rebounder, which has resulted in many easy baskets for us,’’ said Babson coach Judy Blinstrub, whose team was 10-0 overall and 4-0 in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference. ’

The Beavers, who are ranked eighth nationally by D3Hoops.com, resume their schedule Thursday against visiting Springfield.

The 6-foot-2 Wynn was averaging 3.5 points and 1.9 rebounds per game to go along with 31 assists and 12 steals. She had 10 points in Babson’s most recent game, a 61-50 win over Oneonta in the championship game of the Las Vegas Hoopla. The 5-foot-8 Olivere had appeared in seven games.

“Allanah starts at the point for us and she is solid defender who usually has the job of shutting down our opponents’ dangerous guards,’’ said Blinstrub. “Kelsey has been a spark off the bench. She gives us a three-point shot and can defend well if we need to shut down a specific player.’’

Marvin Pave can be reached at 508-820-4223 or marvin.pave@rcn.com.