2003-2004 Season Preview

Release Date:
November 13, 2003
The Office of Sports Information
(716) 649-7900 ext. 333

The Hilbert College women’s basketball team will enter their 2003-04 season with high hopes of returning to the North Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament in March. With three returning seniors, six sophomores and six newcomers, the Hawks look to improve on their 2002-03 record of 9-12.

Second-year head coach Andrea Agnello said the team “may look young on paper but this group has gained a lot of experience over the past year.”

Seniors Amanda Smolarek (Villa Maria/Lancaster, NY), Natalie Samuelson (Jamestown/Jamestown, NY) and Denee Hillebert (Pine Valley/South Dayton, NY) will carry a majority of the leadership responsibilities on and off the court for the Hawks.

Smolarek, a 5’11” center, was named ECAC Player of the week last January and finished the season averaging 11.2 ppg and 10 rpg.

Samuelson and Hillebert were both transfer students last season and will bring experience to the post as well as the perimeter. “Both players love the game and will set a good example for our newcomers to model,” said Agnello.

Running the offense will be sophomore transfer Alicia Mitchell (Traditional/Buffalo, NY), Lynn Workman (Newfane/Newfane, NY) and freshman LeShanna Gaston (Emerson/Buffalo, NY). All three should see time and will provide speed and toughness in the backcourt.

Six-foot-one sophomore Autumn Lee-Jeffries (Holy Angels/Buffalo, NY) averaged 10 ppg, 8 rpg, and 3 bpg a game last season and will be Smolarek’s counterpart in the post. Adding to the dynamic duo will be 6’1” freshman Amy Anderson (W. Seneca West/West Seneca, NY).

“We’re glad to have a quality player like Amy to add strength to the frontcourt,” said Agnello.

Sophomores Cheri White (Tonawanda/Tonawanda, NY), Kristen Curry (Wilson/Ransomville, NY), and Amber Fie (Olean/Olean, NY) will see time on the perimeter, primarily at the wing spots.

“All three are good shooters and like to attack the basket,” said Agnello. “The physical presence that all three bring will be of great help on the defensive end for us.”

Other notables to watch are Nikki Curry (Wilson/Ransomville, NY), Jeannette Testa (Forestville/Forestville, NY), Perri Kraengel (Frontier/Frontier, NY) and Angela Wesolowski (JFK/Cheektowaga, NY), who will be looking to provide a spark off the bench.

The Hawks begin the season at the Medaille College Tip off Tournament Nov. 21 and 22. Their first home game is at 5 p.m. Nov. 25 against Alfred University.

Hilbert College, located in suburban Hamburg, N.Y., south of Buffalo, is a private four-year college founded in 1957 in the Catholic Franciscan tradition. With nearly 1,100 students, Hilbert is a dynamic Western New York college that offers career-focused majors, including one of the top criminal justice programs in the region, and more than 50 minors and concentrations. The college’s engaging, student-centered campus community offers numerous leadership, internship, and service learning opportunities from which students launch successful careers while making positive changes in their communities. The Hilbert Blueprint promotes a well-rounded student experience over four years – starting with the Foundations Seminar in the freshman year, followed by Sophomore Service, Junior Symposium, and culminating with the Senior Capstone. Hilbert has expanded its academic offerings with the college’s first graduate programs and new Accelerated Degree Programs geared to adult learners.