By Chris O'Donnell
---- — One semester into her freshman year of college and Alex Moore of West Newbury feels she has a good handle on college basketball.
And that’s bad news for her opponents. And maybe more so for anyone planning on attending Rhode Island College to play point guard for the women’s basketball team the next three years.
Having been a two-guard and small forward at Pentucket Regional High, Moore is running the show for the Anchorwomen — the lead Anchorwoman it could be said, in a burgundy uniform. It is a natural role for her.
Moore has seen action in all nine games — a clip of 28.7 minutes per — and has started the last three. On Dec. 16, she was named the Little East Conference Rookie of the Week after a 59-53 win at Connecticut College (in which she compiled nine points, four rebounds, 4 for 7 field goal shooting) and a 69-67 overtime loss at Eastern Connecticut (12 points, six rebounds, three assists).
She was off the mark in a 76-53 victory over Salve Regina (0 for 10) last week, but she still grabbed five rebounds and dished five assists.
It was during that game that head coach Kara Williamson saw something in Moore that she doesn’t see often. In the middle of a RIC run, Moore brought the ball up the floor and gestured to her coach, unsolicited, she was going to keep running the same play: a screen for a post player.
The exchange was virtually unnoticed by everyone in the building, but it was a priceless player-coach moment.
“We were getting by their post players pretty easily,” Williamson recalled. “She recognized it was working. She picks up on things that I pick up on as a coach. We don’t have a lot of players who realize those things.
“Our team is very controlled with Alex at the point guard,” Williamson added. “She can score, but she does a good job at getting us set. It’s huge to have a freshman point guard who can do that. What she has is very hard to teach.”
Breaking into the starting lineup wasn’t on Moore’s mind at the beginning of the season. “I was just really looking to get some minutes off the bench,” Moore quipped. “It does show that hard work pays off.”
Moore’s averages — 6.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists — aren’t about to draw WNBA scouts, but she hurts opponents in subtle ways. She will take open shots and grab rebounds. “But I like running plays and executing,” she said.
Moore loves to defend too and is fitting nicely into RIC’s defensive scheme: The Anchorwomen have suffocated opponents to an average of 51.3 points the last four games, the only blemish the aforementioned 69-67 overtime loss at Eastern Connecticut.
At 5-4, RIC is in a good place considering its first seven games were on the road. After a 2-3 start, the Anchorwomen have won three of their last four. Nine of their next 13 games are at home.
The 2011-12 season saw RIC capture the Little East regular season and tournament championships and an NCAA Tournament bid, its first since 1985. Moore is accustomed to winning titles; she helped Pentucket to the MIAA Division 3 state championship as a junior as well as three Cape Ann League Division I crowns in four years.
A Cape Ann League all-star, Moore drew the attention of several New England schools, including Southern Maine, where she thought about joining former Sachem teammate Erin McNamara.
As nice as the reunion would’ve been, Moore liked Williamson and RIC from the start. The Anchorwomen defended tirelessly, ran the break and ran a motion offense. Sort of like Pentucket did.
Williamson knew about Moore and had seen her play with the AAU Boston Blizzard, but heard she wanted to attend UMass Lowell, which moved to Division I effective this season. “She was still undecided last spring, so we went after her pretty hard,” she said.
It also didn’t hurt that RIC had a criminal justice program. Moore aspires to a career in law enforcement with an eye on the FBI.
“It seemed like the perfect fit for me,” Moore said. “And it has been. I’m looking forward to seeing it all play out.”
Notebook: Speakingof McNamara
Moore’s former teammate, Erin McNamara (West Newbury), a senior at Southern Maine, has the Huskies off to a 6-3 start with team-high averages of 12.4 points and 3.0 assists in 31.6 minutes per game. She erupted for 24 points in an 86-57 win at Maine-Farmington.
UMass Lowell junior Taelour Murphy (Salisbury) set two school records in her first meet of the season and was named the America East Conference Track Performer of the Week. Murphy captured the 200 meters in 24.21 seconds at the Boston University Early Opener. She also captured the 400 meters in 55.34.
Despite a trying season for the Wentworth Institute of Technology men’s soccer team (2-15-1), freshman Allan Eagan (Newburyport) made seven appearances and scored his first collegiate goal in a 5-1 loss to Gordon College. The Leopards roster has 15 freshmen and sophomores.
Former Governor’s Academy standouts Cody and Nathan Ferriero have the Northeastern men’s ice hockey team off to a 9-5-2 start and ranked No. 16 in the latest USCHO.com poll. Cody, a senior, has one goal and four assists while Nathan, a freshman, has five assists, including three in a 5-2 win at Merrimack Nov. 22.
Derek Freeman (Newburyport), a freshman on the Colgate ice hockey team, scored his first collegiate goal in a 5-2 loss to defending NCAA Champion Yale. Freeman has seen action in nine games for the Red Raiders, who are 5-3-2 in the ECAC (7-9-2 overall).
Mike Fish (Salisbury) and Kevin Holmes (Newburyport) look to boost the Fitchburg State hockey team from a 11-14-2 clip last season. Holmes has compiled three goals and three assists while Fish has made 10 appearances with three assists for the 5-7-0 Falcons.
Beth Castantini (Newburyport), a sophomore on the UMass Dartmouth basketball team, scored 14 points in a 91-50 win over Johnson & Wales, hitting 5 of 6 field goals and all four free throws.
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