Allie Clement hoped she would have an expanded role in her second year on the Marist College women’s basketball team. Little did she know how much bigger it would be.

With seven freshmen on the roster, Clement has taken on the role of an experienced veteran – even as a sophomore. And she’s handling it well.

Switching between shooting guard and point guard, Clement is averaging 9.5 points – third on the team – while leading the Red Foxes in 3-point shooting. She is also third in assists (1.9 per game) and second in steals (15).

Beyond that, she has had to become one of the leaders on and off the court.

“She’s doing very well,” said Brian Giorgis, Marist’s head coach. “She was fortunate last year. She started part-way through the year, but she played with a veteran crew. This year, she is the veteran and she’s had to learn at a pace much faster than other people have had to.”

And that’s fine with Clement, who sees this not only as part of her development as a college player, but simply as the way things are.

“Because I’ve always had younger sisters to look out for, I feel like (the freshmen) are my younger sisters now,” she said. “And I’ve always been that type of person who looks after younger kids. I always want to help people, I always want to connect with my teammates and help in any way I can.”

Clement, from Falmouth, helped McAuley High win four consecutive Class A state championships. She finished with 1,374 career points and was a two-time Maine Sunday Telegram Player of the Year.

She accepted a scholarship offer from Marist, located in Poughkeepsie, New York, and immediately contributed as a freshman, starting 24 of 33 games and averaging 5.8 points a game. Typically, she wanted more, so she spent much of the summer working on her 3-point shot.

And it paid off. She leads Marist in all 3-point categories: attempts (133), field goals (49) and percentage (.368). With two of the top scorers in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference playing for Marist – Tori Jarosz (17.6 points) and Sydney Coffey (14.0) – her outside shooting is vital to Marist’s offensive success.

“She helps stretch the defense and opens up the inside for our post player (Jarosz) who leads the conference in scoring,” said Giorgis. “She gives you that third (scorer). We have two top scorers, you always need that third one. One of our goals every game is to have three players in double figures. When we’ve done well, we’ve done that.”

Instead of being just a 3-point shooter, Clement wants to become a better jump shooter and drive to the basket more often. She’s only taken 12 free throws this season.

“I need to add my pull-up jumper to the mix,” said Clement. “It was always my go-to shot.”

While Giorgis said her on-the-ball defense has improved this year, Clement said she “has a long way to go” on defense. And Clement said she needs to cut down on “silly turnovers. Sometimes I think too fast and try to make a pass that’s not there. I need to take a deep breath and slow things down.”

Playing the point again also has been an adjustment. While she played the point in high school, she was strictly on the wing as a freshman.

“She’s progressing nicely,” said Giorgis. “And, again, she’s had to. She’s had to have a faster learning curve.”

You could probably say the same about the Red Foxes, who take a seven-game winning streak into Friday’s game at Saint Peter’s in New Jersey. Their record is 11-11 overall but 10-2 in the MAAC, tied for first place with Iona. They played a tough non-conference schedule early that included losses to St. John’s, Louisville, LSU and Missouri State, games that Clement said helped prepare Marist for its conference schedule.

“We’re getting better,” said Clement. “I don’t think we’ve peaked yet, which is great. I know we’ve come a long way from December.”

BASKETBALL

Norwich University junior forward Heather LeBlanc of Sanford was named the Great Northeast Athletic Conference women’s player of the week. LeBlanc averaged 18 points and 16 rebounds in two victories for the Cadets. For the season, LeBlanc is leading Norwich in scoring (13.8 points per game) and rebounding (10.9 per game).

n Bowdoin College senior guard Lucas Hausman, of Hamden, Connecticut, was named New England Small College Athletic Conference men’s player of the week. He scored 35 points in an 85-82 overtime win against Colby, including seven in a row to rally the Polar Bears in the final minute.

n Bentley University’s men’s team continues to be led by a trio of local players. Senior guard Tyler McFarland of Rockport (Camden Hills) leads the 15-4 Falcons with 22.5 points per game, followed by grad student Keegan Hyland of South Portland with 19.5 points and senior guard Alex Furness of Wells with 14.4. Hyland, who went over 1,000 points this year, also leads the Falcons in rebounds (8.0), assists (3.3) and steals (1.3). McFarland is second in rebounds (7.3) and fourth in assists (2.4) and Furness is fourth in rebounds (5.3) and second in assists (3.2).

n Freshman forward Victoria Lux of Arundel (Thornton Academy) is averaging 6.4 points and 5.6 rebounds for the 17-3 Bentley women.

SWIMMING AND DIVING

Bentley senior diver Nicola Mancini of Falmouth was named the Northeast-10 Conference women’s diving athlete of the week for the seventh time this season. Mancini, a three-time All-America selection, swept the diving events in a meet against Bridgewater State, winning the 1-meter board with a score of 294.15 and the 3-meter with 310.70.

n Saint Michael’s College senior Catherine Tierney of Cape Elizabeth finished first in both the 500 freestyle and 1,000 freestyle races in a recent meet victory over Norwich. Freshman Allison Plummer of Bath (Morse High) finished second in the 50 breaststroke, the 100 breaststroke and the 100 individual medley.

TRACK

Bentley sophomore Ryan Cadorette of Saco (Thornton Academy) ran a personal-best 14:55.89 in the 5,000-meter run at the John Thomas Terrier Classic at Boston University last weekend to finish 35th among 89 runners.


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