Youth and strong leadership are two characteristics bringing both Owl’s basketball programs together as they get ready to start their respective seasons.

Sustaining success across the year is a priority according to both the men’s and women’s basketball teams, who start their seasons on Nov. 15.

The strategy that women’s head coach Keith Boucher is preaching is simple— “offense by committee.”

Losing key seniors is never easy for a team, especially when the senior is the top offensive performer. Last year, senior Siobhan Carnell averaged 16.3 points per game and became Boucher’s go-to when calling offensive plays.

“She was our leading rebounder, our leading scorer, took more free throws than anybody in the conference, was our leading assist person,” Boucher said. “She was like my swiss army knife.”

With Carnell no longer in the fold, Boucher wants to see the workload picked up across the team, rather than with just one or two individuals.  “Every night, it’s not going to be the same person,” Boucher explained. “And hopefully we do get three or four people that are scoring consistently.”

File Photo / Chris Palermo: Junior guard Meghan Shaw hoists a shot during a game against U-Mass Boston on December 12, 2012.

File Photo / Chris Palermo:
Junior guard Meghan Shaw hoists a shot during a game against U-Mass Boston on December 12, 2012.



Boucher said he believes their competitive level is what will drive the team to success this season.  “The thing that we lacked last year was competition every day at every position, and that’s not the case right now,” Boucher explained. “I think competition in practice has been much better because we’re deeper and I think we’re more athletic than we were last year, so I think that bodes well for the future. As long as we stay healthy mentally as a group, we can focus and get better.”

Senior guard Carly Kiernan said she is up for the challenge.  “I think we focus everyday on getting that much better,” Kiernan said. “Overall, we want a [Little Eastern Conference] championship.”

As a senior on the team, she said she is excited about the incoming freshman class and loves what they bring to the court.  “We struggled last year to pull off some wins, but the new kids have already stepped up, even in our scrimmages, they’ve really taken off and helped everyone a lot, and they bring a ton of energy to the floor which really helps us all.”

She also said the seniors want to put out a good attitude for the younger players to adapt to.  “We just really want a positive vibe and to just kind of show them that they can make a difference on the team as compared to last year.”

The attitude and mindset is not much different on the men’s side of the court.

Losing key seniors last year like Ryan Martin, Rashad Wright, Eric Fazio and Anthony Mariano, men’s head coach Rob Colbert looks for the team to step up and fill the gap left behind.

“I want it to be more of a team effort. I want to spread the contributions out both offensively and defensively and make it a little bit more team-oriented,” Colbert explained.

He said that not having a particular star player is actually not a bad thing, as long as the whole team is willing to contribute.  “I don’t think we have a thirty-point scorer out there,” Colbert said. “And that’s okay, provided that we get contributions from everybody.”

Prepping for the season starts with practice, and Colbert wants to improve daily.

“Every day, getting better,” Colbert said on the approach he wants to take this season.

“We’re really focused in on making sure that practice is what it needs to be. We’ve really spent a lot of time in terms of how we carry ourselves both on and off the court, in the weight room, individual instruction sessions, and so far it’s looked like it’s paid some dividends, we’ve had some great practices.”

As far as a goal for the season, Colbert is clear as to what’s on his mind: “The expectation for the team is to win the championship. It [the goal] doesn’t change based on who’s suiting up and who’s not, and I’ve been happy with their progress so far. “

Senior center Montel Walcott is looking forward to getting out there as a senior and showing what he’s made of.  “I want to show them that I’ve been here for four years and I’m one of the guys with the most experience,” Walcott said.

He echoed his coach’s sentiments about doing things together, as a team.

“He [coach Colbert] wants everybody on the same page, it’s kind of a way to hold everyone accountable,” Walcott explained. “You don’t want anyone to think ‘the seniors can do this, but the younger guys can’t’, that kind of thing. It’s a level playing field for everybody. It helps on the court too with chemistry.”

Both teams lost key seniors, but that doesn’t seem to stifle their enthusiasm for the upcoming year. Coaches Boucher and Colbert want to win championships, and know that it takes a team effort, not the stats of a single player,  to do so.


Ray Waldron can be contacted at

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