Women’s Basketball Drops Last Game, Will be 5th or 6th Seed


With a fourth seed spot on the line going into the conference tournament, Manhattan’s women’s basketball team came up short in their senior day matchup against Rider. The Jaspers fell 56-49 to the Broncs, who are just 5-15 in the MAAC.

Manhattan’s finishing record is 14-15 overall and 11-9 in the MAAC, their first winning record for the first time since 2011-2012. They clinched on Feb. 26 in their 60-43 victory over Saint Peter’s.

Before the game, Manhattan honored their five seniors Crystal Ross, Blake Underhill, Shayna Ericksen, Jacqui Thompson and Kylla Champagne. Head coach John Olenowski called them the “leadership class” as they brought a combined 400 games of collegiate experience into the 2015-2016 season. They are the largest senior class he has had in his seven seasons at Manhattan.

“We didn’t give up; we fought back,” Olenowski said after the loss. “We really tried hard to come back. We didn’t give up. We didn’t pack it in. We really came after them to try and get the win.”

Manhattan started out ahead with a layup from Ross before Rider quickly took the lead. The Jaspers got the lead back and ran with it to finish the first period up 12-8. Ross led with five points in her seven minutes played.

“I think at the start of the game we were a little bit sluggish,” Olenowski said. “I think [Rider] really capitalized on that and got the early lead. We were playing catch up it seemed like the whole game. We needed to have a better start and we needed to have more energy the entire game. So the slow start hurt us and unfortunately we couldn’t catch up later on.”

Manhattan bounced back in the second half with 18 points in the third period. Ross and Tatum led the Jaspers with seven points each in the third. Both Ross and Champagne had three rebounds. In the fourth period, Champagne led with three offensive rebounds and eight overall. Ross notched seven total defensive rebounds to lead the team. Both Champagne and Underhill played a team-high 34 minutes each and Tatum was third with 32 minutes.

Olenowski noted some positives to take from the loss, including Ross and Amani Tatum’s strong showings. Ross led the team with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Tatum had 11 points and four steals in the second half after being scoreless in the first.

Looking toward the upcoming tournament, the Jaspers can secure a first-round bye as the fifth seed if Monmouth loses to Saint Peter’s and will face Fairfield in the quarterfinals on Saturday March 5. If Monmouth wins against Saint Peter’s, however, the Jaspers will fall to the sixth seed and have to play a first-round game against Saint Peter’s on Thursday March 3.

“We have been preparing for the MAACs all year round,” Olenowski said.” We always have a one game at a time situation. So, I think that we’ll just keep going and realize that the next game we play is the biggest game that we play. We’ll keep it as a one game at a time season.”

According to NCAA statistics as of Feb. 26, Manhattan ranks among the top 20 Division I programs nationally in three categories. They stand at 15th place with 10.8 steals per game and 18th with 291 total steals on the season. They are 20th in turnovers forced with 20.37.

They also stand at 48th in the country with 4.7 blocks per game, 49th in blocks overall with 127 and 51st with a turnover margin of +3.11. Tatum is fourth nationally in steals and fifth in steals per game (91 and 3.37). Kayla Grimme ranks 29th in blocks with 65 and 32nd in blocks per game with 2.41.


Women’s Basketball Looks for a Strong Regular Season Finish


After finishing last season with only three wins overall, Manhattan’s women’s basketball team is just two games out of third place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference this season.

With under two weeks remaining until the conference tournament, the Jaspers are currently in fifth place. Head coach John Olenowski said that they want to improve to at least fourth place.

“It feels tremendous,” Olenowski said. “Last year was a struggle and to be in the upper echelon of the conference is what our goal was all season long. We are so happy that we are close to that goal.”

Last season, the team was in last place with a 3-27 overall record. They are currently 9-7 in the MAAC and 12-13 overall. They are coming off of a two-point loss to Canisius, just missing their final shot at the buzzer.

“Compared to last season, our team chemistry is much better,” guard Jacqui Thompson said. “We all have the common goal of getting to the championship, getting a bye the first round. I think everyone’s mindset is way different than last year.”

Differences between this season and last season are more depth and chemistry among the team as well as more player experience. Olenowski has emphasized defense for his team and it has shown significantly this season. With that comes more team and individual success.

Amani Tatum averages a team-best 11.6 points per game and leads the conference with 3.2 steals. Center, Kayla Grimme has 61 blocks on the season so far, equaling the second-highest total in program history for a single season. She averages 2.5 per game, which is the second-best in the conference. Shayna Ericksen and Blake Underhill average 7.5 and 6.5 points per game, respectively.   

“I think individual goals are great,” Olenowski said, “because we all kind of share them. Everyone is really happy for every player. So it’s a really positive thing that individual goals are being celebrated by the whole team.”

“Certainly, we feel that we can do very well in the conference tournament,” he continued. “So we are hoping we have a good shot to win it and get into the postseason tournament.”

Manhattan’s shot at winning the tournament might be aided by its place in the standings by the end of the season. One aspect to look at for the Jaspers is the rest of their regular season schedule. They have the easiest schedule remaining in the MAAC. After facing second-place Quinnipiac on Feb. 26, the Jaspers will finish the year with games against ninth-place Rider and 11th-place Saint Peter’s. Despite this, they are not taking anyone lightly.

“We got the hard games over with, sort of,” Thompson said, “but every team in this conference has been really up and down. Any night anybody can win. So yeah we have the lower-placed teams left but we have to take everyone like they are the first-place team.”

For Olenowski, Manhattan’s tough schedule to start the season has made his team battle-tested.

“Every game is a key one but certainly we have played all the top teams so far,” Olenowski agreed. “We are hoping that is going to be an advantage but we do realize that every game is a big game and we have to be prepared for it.”

The Jaspers have a tight finish to the regular season, with their last five games being over a 10-day period. They started the busy stretch in Western New York against Canisius and Niagara. They finish with two home games and a trip to Jersey City.

“We want to try and take it one game at a time,” Grimme said. “We’re in fifth place, only two spots from being in third so it’s a little easier to look at it in small steps.”

While the team is focused on the regular season and the next game ahead, they have a set goal on really making a run at the conference tournament, which starts March 3 in Albany, N.Y.

“We all talk and believe that we can win the tournament,” Thompson said, “so I think that’s our goal. We are going to take every game one step at a time but when we are in the tournament, our goal is to play the best basketball we’ve played all year.”

Once a Jasper, Always a Jasper

Caitlin Bricketto, former captain of the Manhattan College women’s tennis team and a 2015 graduate, has been named the operations manager of Manhattan’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.


“I think she brings a time dynamic in that since she was an athlete, and specifically one at Manhattan, she can help us relate to all the student-athletes,” Kevin Ross, Manhattan’s senior associate athletic director for media communications and marketing, said. “In our profession, the student-athlete is the most important element of the jobs of all administrators.”

Bricketto, a four-year letter-winner for the tennis team, was the recipient and of the Jasper Tennis Award for the highest cumulative grade point average by a graduate on the team. She also served as president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) her junior and senior years, receiving their Community Service Award.

“It’s really exciting,” Bricketto said about working at her alma mater. “I think that in my position now, it has made things really smooth. There was no transition; I knew what I was walking into. In terms of a new person coming into my role that didn’t go to undergrad here, it wouldn’t have been as easy as it has been for me to hit the ground running.”

So far, one of her major accomplishments includes overseeing the raising of more than $8,000 for multiple community service initiatives last semester. With that, the athletics program ranked second nationally in the NCAA’s Helper Helper Division 1 Community Service Competition. 

“A lot of times it is very difficult for former students to work at their alma mater immediately after graduation,” Ross said, “as the adjustment from student to professional is very difficult. However, in Caitlin is the exception to the rule as she has been able to adapt almost instantaneously and has been a professional from day one.”

Her job as operations manager involves two key parts. Primarily, she works with the Jasper Club, Manhattan’s booster club for athletics. She deals with everything that has to do with raising money for the athletics program, from fundraising and mailings to getting in contact with alumni and donors.

Another aspect of her job is working with the SAAC. This includes working directly with the athletes and getting any of their questions or concerns alleviated.

“I learned how important the athletes are to the culture,” Bricketto said about her time in the program as an athlete. “We are here; we are working as administrators to make the athletes’ lives easier.”


“I know that is very dear to my heart because of the things I went through with the tennis team,” Bricketto continued. “When we wanted to go on trips or when we wanted new sweats, we needed to raise money. There were concerns we had that we needed to have a voice with. Being a tennis player here exposed me to what the athletes need. I am able to pay attention to that as an administrator and make sure that those things get handled.”

Before her promotion, Bricketto worked as a graduate assistant for marketing under former director of intercollegiate athletics Noah LeFevre. She is currently enrolled in the college’s MBA program and was awarded a postgraduate scholar-athlete scholarship from the MAAC in August 2015.

“Caitlin represents everything that is great about our student-athletes,” LeFevre said when Bricketto received the scholarship. “She had a tremendous career at the college and really integrated herself into the fabric of the community. We are very fortunate to have her continue with the program.”

Bricketto said that she knew about her promotion for a month but it was announced two weeks ago. She called her job a learning experience so far and looks forward to working with the athletes and coaches.

“My day-to-day work as operations manager is working directly with the coaches,” Bricketto explained. “So far, I’ve been setting up meetings with coaches and finding out ways we can solicit donors and get money for their programs. I’m also working hand-in-hand to be the liaison between athletics and advancements. We are really trying to make sure that they have everything they need from an athletics standpoint and we have everything we need from a donor-list standpoint.”

Bricketto explained her position further, noting that advancements handle alumni. When previously asked, advancements would not know what teams needed to help their programs. With her position as operations manager, Bricketto said she wants to work hand-in-hand and bridge that gap between athletics and advancements.

“I want to be able to give the coaches the resources that they need for their programs to be successful,” Bricketto said, “and that would be through raising money for the things that will make their programs better.”

Sergeant to Retire Three Years After Pursuit of Boston Marathon Bombers

MBTA Transit Police Sgt. Dic Donohue is retiring almost three years after being critically injured in the pursuit of the Boston Marathon bombers, according to WCVB.

Donohue said that he is still not 100 percent despite having fought through “pain and limitations” to be able to return to active duty.

“I did not want my career to be taken from me without a fight,” he said to WCVB. “Unfortunately, I must now acknowledge the extent of my injuries and limitations. Physically, I cannot perform at 100 percent and must do what is right for myself, my co-workers, and my department. Therefore, I will step away from the job that I love so much.”

Donohue was in active pursuit of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as the brothers attempted to flee Boston after the bombings when he was injured severely.

“I am forever grateful to my fellow first responders and the doctors who saved my life. There are too many to list, but they each have a special place in my heart,” he told WCVB.

His decision to retire has come after living with almost constant pain in his legs, even with extensive rehabilitation. He said that the pain has made it impossible to fulfill his duties as a police sergeant.

“I am alive, and I have many plans for the future,” he said. “If I had a choice, I would continue to serve as a police officer for decades to come, but those were not the cards I was dealt.”

After retiring from the MBTA, he will teach criminal justice as an adjunct professor at a local college.

This article originally appeared on Metro.us.