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Head Coach Melissa Hodgdon
Office: (508) 286-3990

Mailing Address: 
26 E. Main Street           
Norton, Mass. 02766



“INSIDE THE HEART OF A LYON”  Wheaton College Women’s Basketball Featuring Sophie Black '17 (Blog #9)

Coach: Sophie, let's start with you giving us an overview of your junior year-starting with academics and continuing with your role as a junior on the women's basketball team?

Sophie: Junior year has definitely been the most challenging academically, but I enjoy all my classes and I like to be challenged. Just as I have been challenged academically as a junior I have also been challenged on the basketball court. As an upper classmen I had increase my role and become a more vocal presence on the court. The most important thing I try to focus on is being consistent every day, game or practice. This is a principle that the three senior captains stress the importance of. 

Coach: What helped you decide to be a Neuroscience major?

Sophie: I decided to become a Neuroscience major the end of my freshman year after having a talk with my teammate Kenzie Kuhn (15’). I was unsure of what I really wanted to do; I told Kenzie that I was really interested in Psych and Bio, and she suggested Neuroscience. I hadn’t previously thought of pursuing the major, but I set up a meeting with the head of the department and decided to give it a try. I’m very happy with my choice and hope to pursue a career in the medical field. 

Coach: The season has flown by. What are some highlights for you thus far? 

Sophie: The two highlights for me where the Coast Guard Game and the Smith game at their gym. The intensity on the court and on the bench was great and we individually and collectively executed and stuck to the game plan. 

Coach: When you came into the program I am sure you were a bit unsure about this whole "Wheaton Basketball True Team" thing but overtime what have you learned and how do you feel being a part of it has helped you grow? 

Sophie: Wheaton Basketball means being a part of something that is greater than yourself. A true team is one that plays together and plays for each other. If one of us is having a tough practice we pick each other up the next play, we don’t point fingers or hang our heads. Being a part of a “True Team” has helped me distinguish between the types of things I can control within myself and the things I can’t control. Wheaton Basketball is about thinking of others before yourself, whether it’s doing community service with Special Olympics and having a positive attitude regardless if you’re frustrated.

Coach: Saturday is "Senior Day" . We have three wonderful seniors that I know you are tight with. Can you tell us a bit about each one as a player and person?

Sophie: The three seniors are some of the best players I’ve played with but more importantly some of the best people. They are all very different, yet they are able to mesh so well together and lead the team. Starting with Kiley, she is super funny and goofy off the court, but on the court she has a strong and solid presence (don’t mess with her elbows). Becca is an aggressive and smart player, and can be very intimidating on the court. Off the court she’s “Momma Becci” and would do anything for us if we needed her help. Alyssa on the court is known for her crafty passes, and hard takes to the rim. She is without question the best dancer on the team, as well as the best DJ, going by the name “DJ Difficult”. We are all going to miss them dearly. 

“INSIDE THE HEART OF A LYON”  Wheaton College Women’s Basketball Featuring Rebecca Arnone '16 (Blog #8)

Coach: Becca , as a senior you know how tough NEWMAC play is. Talk about this last stretch-5 games in 10 days.....

Becca: This is my favorite time of the year in season because we finally get to experience conference play. The NEWMAC is not to be underestimated by any team. It is an incredibly competitive league that can compete with nationally ranked teams such as, Tufts and Williams. That's what I love about our league. On any given day, any team can win. That means you have to bring your a-game that much more to win. 

The last stretch has been a bit challenging for our team this year. We went 2-3 which isn't the best, however I think it was a turning point for us. Being a young team has been challenging for us. I think we struggled in this last 5-game stretch because we were trying to find that consistency in our play that we had earlier when we started the season. These past two weeks have been really good for us, and I think has taught us not only a lot about ourselves, but a lot about each other and what we can do. 

Coach : Obviously a tough loss at home vs Smith Saturday, but there was a good energy in the gym with it being Heller's Angels Day. Tell us about our relationship with their team:

Becca: We were extremely happy to have the Heller's Angels Day during our game Saturday against Smith! They are a Special Olympics team that our team personally works with throughout the year. We try to watch some of their practices and as well as support them at some of their games. We actually are hosting a tournament for them where Special Olympic basketball teams from all over come and have a huge basketball tournament! The members of our team not only will be supporting our fellow Special Olympians by we also will be helping out reffing!  

I'd personally like to give a huge thank you to coach Hodgdon for working with the Heller's Angels. She constantly strives for the members of our team to be well rounded people on the court, in the classroom, and in the community. If it wasn't for her, we would never have the opportunity to engage in the community and experience a great relationship with the Heller's Angels. Here is a link to their facebook page, it has some great pictures from this past Saturday :https://www.facebook.com/hellersangels/

Coach: Senior year.....what has been the most surprising to you as a senior? And what are you looking forward to after graduation?

Becca: The most surprising thing for me as a senior probably has been the transition from being an unspoken, untitled leader on the court to being a senior co-captain leader. Although I was incredibly excited to take on this new role, I have found it has its challenges and difficulties along the way. I would never trade it, but I did notice how sometimes the pressure is put on you in certain situations, but I've learned how to deal with it along the way. Especially with the help of coach, Coach Simonds and my fellow classmates Kiley and Alyssa. 

The thought of after graduation is truly bittersweet. Am I excited to not be taking classes for a bit? Yes! Am I excited to have to start working a full-time job and pay bills and student loans? Absolutely not! All jokes aside, although I will miss the home that I have been raised in for the past four years, I am pretty excited to see what the world has in store for me after graduation. I would like to take a year off from school, gain some money and some experience in the mental health field (I am a psychology major) then I would like to start a new adventure and get my Masters in counseling of some sort.  

Coach:Lastly, tell us some highlights from your four years as a Lyon and what will you miss most: 

Becca: There are truly too many great moments that have happened during my time here at Wheaton. A huge highlight would be how fortunate our 2014-2015 team was to go to Hawaii for our team trip. It was amazing and I think everyone should be able to go there!! Another highlight was making it to the championship with our 2014-2015 team. It was an amazing experience with amazing people. A big highlight that happened here at Wheaton was when Fox News came to interview our new president, president Hanno and our college. It was pretty cool to be noticed on nationally recognized news. Although there have been many big things that have happened here in my career, nothing will replace the insurmountable memories that I have obtained over my four years from the amazing people that surround me. From my senior captains when I was a freshman, to the professors that I have made great relationships with. It has truly been an experience worth making, and I recommend any student looking for a well rounded education, especially athletes hungry for some good competition at the division three collegiate level.

“INSIDE THE HEART OF A LYON”  Wheaton College Women’s Basketball Featuring Rachael Zipper '19 (Blog #7)

Coach: So ….you had exam week back on December 11, then a week off . First, tell us a little  bit about your exams then about your time at home?

RZ: My exams went pretty well.  I only had 2 tests and the rest were papers.  My bio test was the hardest but I felt like I knew the material on the test.  I enjoyed being at home, I had my entire family over for Christmas so it was a lot of fun to see everyone. 

Coach: We resumed practice and came back together after 15 days off. What were you most excited to come back to campus for? How did practices go? 

RZ:I was excited to come back and see the team! We all stayed in touch over break and it was great to be back on the court with them! I was also excited to start practicing for Salem State! Practices were very intense when we got back! I struggled at first due to trying to play through my knee's stiffness.  But I was able to keep playing and we had a great two practices that definitely helped us with our tournament at SSU. 

Coach : We just got back from the Salem State Holiday Tournament. What was your favorite part of the trip? Mine may have been Kiley doing the “Beats” game J 

RZ:Looking back on the trip, I really enjoyed having everyone back to my house! My grandma cooked a ton of food for everyone.  Beats by far was the highlight of the night because Kiley She definitely shattered some glasses hitting the high notes of “Let it Go”.  I also enjoyed trying to scaring coach with the haunted crying noises on Bridget's phone at the Hawthorne Hotel. Since we were in Salem there is a ton of history and ghost stories. One being that the hotel was haunted by a crying baby.  But by far my favorite moment was beating Vassar! They were an aggressive team and we were able to maintain our composure and fight for the win!  

Coach: What are you taking for classes spring semester? 

RZ:Next semester I am taking Italian, Evolution and Ecology, Psychology 101 and Intro to Religion.

Coach: What is the best thing in your opinion about this team?

RZ: The best thing about our team I would say is our chemistry. We all have different personalities that work well with each other. We are able to use that to our advantage because we all have the same attitude and drive that helps us focus and be intense at practices which definitely translates into our games!  

“INSIDE THE HEART OF A LYON”  Wheaton College Women’s Basketball Featuring Alyssa Almario '16 (Blog #6)

Coach:  Let’s start with this Alyssa, why did you choose Wheaton?

AA: I really liked the basketball program. When I visited the team was so nice and welcoming and as I experienced Wheaton I realized I really liked the small community and campus feel.

Coach: Did you declare a major or come in undecided?

AA: I declared my major sophomore year, but coming in I thought I wanted Psych. I had taken AP Psych in high school and that really interested me so I followed that path here and declared as a Psychology major and then added the Education minor. 

Coach:What do you want to do with that once you graduate? 

AA: I most likely will take one or two years off then go to grad school to be a guidance counselor or school psychologist. 

Coach: Senior year, how has it been different from the last three years? 

AA: I have had to become more of a leader. The younger kids on the team, which is the majority of the team, come to me and that is different. It has been a challenge but a role I have really enjoyed. Over my four years we have always been a structured team but the last two years we have become faster and better at reading one another on the court. Since my first year it seems we have become a more cohesive and true team each year which has led to us being successful.

Coach: What are some of your favorite memories over your time year thus far? 

AA: The team tournament in Hawaii last year was amazing and the weather was awesome. I was hurt but it still was an amazing trip. Making the NEWMAC final four sophomore and junior year was a good experience and so rewarding. This past weekend in New Jersey was so much fun. My family loves our program and was so happy to host them.  My uncle and aunt hosted us but many of my direct family and extended family supported us while we were there. Some of my former teammates and my assistant high school coach came as well. Fun trip all around with great memories and we got the win to top it all off. 

Coach: Let’s wrap this up with you telling giving us a little insight to your teammates?

AA: I have had so much fun with them thus far. We have developed a great culture of Wheaton basketball on and off the court. They make me laugh so much, we have a good time. Zipper ’19 is the “class clown”. Kiley (Shoemaker ’16), Becca (Arnone’16) and I are three very different people but we are like sisters. I have been roommates with Kiley since sophomore year! I am looking forward to January break. We are the only people on campus and we hangout a lot as a team. We play “Just dance” on the big TV in Meadows, watch movies, support our local youth and Special Olympic teams and eat a lot. Personally, I will still volunteer at headstart as well. 

Lastly, I have attached some pictures. One is our team in front of the tree at Rockefeller Center in New York, one with the team at my Aunt and Uncle’s house in New Jersey and one of my high school assistant coach and former teammate from West Orange High.


“INSIDE THE HEART OF A LYON”  Wheaton College Women’s Basketball Featuring Abby Hamilton '19 (Blog #5)

Coach:  Abby, tell us a little bit about your transition from Gorham, Maine to Norton, MA 

Abby: I went from small town to small town which is what I wanted. Things have been great. I have made a lot of new friends quickly and our team is very close. The transition overall has been relatively easy. I am very close to my family and my friends growing up I went to school with from elementary school all the way through high school so at first that was hard but Wheaton has made that all easy.

Coach: What dorm do you live in? What do you like about it? And what are some of your favorite things to do on campus?

Abby: I live in Meadows North. Meadows is big but north is separate so it is quiet. I face the back side of Chase. I like all the people on my floor, which makes it easy to live there.

I really only eat, sleep, play basketball and go to class. As far as classes go my favorite is Macroeconomics. I enjoy eating with the team after practices everyday. Also, my classmate/teammate Zip(Rachael Zipper) and our two friends Ellie and Tigerlilly(yes, that is her name-she is from England). Also hangout a lot. 

Coach: If you had to define your basketball program, what would you say? 

Abby: Our program is all about TEAM first and I love that. We are all unselfish and we can pick one another up when we need it. I do not think a lot of teams have that type of vibe. 

Coach: What was the biggest adjustment for you since high school basketball?

Abby: Pace and pressure. Especially being a guard I feel the ball pressure and aggressiveness is a big difference.

Coach: We just finished our first team roadtrip-what was your favorite part? 

Abby: My favorite parts were hanging out in hotel and Kiley being  my roommate. Kiley also scored her 1000th point this trip. She is a great teammate. Kiley is really funny and she hated the attention but I really love her and the other two seniors. They have made my adjustment to being a part of the team easy.

Coach: Thanksgiving is coming up, what are your plans? 

Abby: My mom is picking me up Tuesday after practice then we are going home. We go to my uncle’s house every year. I also get to see all my high school friend’s who will be home as well.

I attached  some pictures from our first roadtrip.Us on our bus and my classmate Zipper sleepingJ


“INSIDE THE HEART OF A LYON”  Wheaton College Women’s Basketball Featuring Kiley Shoemaker ‘16 (Blog #4)

Coach:  Senior year Kiley, tell me a little bit about your life on and off the court?

Kiley- Not really any different on and off the court but it has been more stressful-class, homework and basketball. Senior Seminar has provided a lot of reading each week , Lab in Social Psych is a lot of research and learning about the research process, Intro to Business class has reading and Abnormal Psych has a quiz each class so I have been busy.

As a senior captain is a different role for me and I put more pressure on myself because I feel more responsible in all aspects, however that is what I came here for –to be a leader on and off the court.

Coach-  First game Sunday, what are you looking forward to most?

Kiley- I am looking forward to having a game where we can apply what we have worked on the past five weeks. It is a true test to see how far we have come. Playing at home is a great way to start our season, and the game proceeds will  benefit the twins –Craig and Jorden Powers.I attached a picture of them.

CoachOther things you want to do or accomplish before you graduate?

Kiley- I want to win NEWMAC’s……we have been so close the last two years and I still have that goal for this team.  I also want to do the Head of the Peacock in the spring. As a WAM I am hoping we can make the Big Event the most successful it has been since I have been here. I want to graduate with a gpa of 3.0 or better-I am a Psychology major with a minor in Education.

Coach- Tell us a little bit about your family ?

Kiley- I have a younger sister Jacy that is sophomore at SUNY Oneonta, and older Josh who is interested in culinary arts. We have no pets. My mom and dad (Pam and Paul) reside still in Fayetteville where my dad grew up. I am actually the only athlete in my family. Our family are huge Syracuse Orange fans.

Coach Tell us some funny things about your teammates?

Kiley- Everyone on the team is really funny in their own way-we are all so different-we call our self the “misfits” because we are. Every day someone makes you laugh in a different way-it is really awesome. We can have fun and work hard everyday.

Last thing I want to say  is I could not imagine any better classmates then Becca and Alyssa. They make the bad days better and the good days great.


“INSIDE THE HEART OF A LYON”  Wheaton College Women’s Basketball Featuring Emily Cuthbertson ‘18 (Blog #3)

Coach:  What is the biggest difference you feel between freshman and sophomore year?

Emily: As a student the biggest difference is course load. I am a Biochemistry  major and balancing the demands of the in class work and homework is a lot more challenging this year.

As a person I like sophomore year better because I know more people, I know my resources and all that has been very helpful.

As an athlete I would say there is a lot more responsibility now because as a first year there was a lot of upperclassman that took on those responsibilities, now I have to be a leader.

Coach: We are a couple weeks into practice, what have you liked about this team?

Emily:  The team dynamic is different this year; there is a lot of input and feedback from everyone. Our senior captains are open to our ideas and opinions. I think everyone is understanding and patient since we are all learning and a young team.

Coach: What are you looking forward to most this season?

Emily: I am looking forward to seeing where our season goes. I am  not looking at any specific game but  I am excited to see how good we get as we get keep getting  better every day .  I have seen a lot of potential and good things that we can keep building on. I also really like away game bus trips, pregame “fired up” routine and “secret sister” on game days.

Coach: Have you set any individual goals for yourself  as a student and as athlete?

Emily: As a student I always have the goal to stay above a 3.0 gpa

 A mental thing for me as a basketball player is to be a solid defensive player. To not get beat.

 Also, a random thing that affects me as a student athlete is eating. I am very picky and struggled last year, now as a sophomore I know what is available so I am open to trying to a lot more options. I have made it a goal to eat better and more often.

As a person in general routines and structure work for me.

Coach : How you stepped up as a leader especially for the new student athletes in the program?

Emily: On the court,  I am trying to help teach  our new teammates what I learned as a first year. Like using tools I learned to help them  be a better teammate and to play Wheaton basketball.

Coach: Give me a run down of a typical weekday in your life?

Emily: Wake up , get ready , eat breakfast  at Chase everyday , then I go to class for 9am T/Tr and M/W/F at 10:30 am.  I like to do my homework at night rather then the morning. Go to class ALL day since I have class and  three labs. I usually do a little homework before practice . After practice we all go to Chase to eat then I go back and shower  before I study. When we have a day off from practice I  like to go off campus for a break –usually go home to New Hampshire to see family.

Coach : Lastly, you won the Team Hard Hat award last week, what di d that mean to you?

Emily: I t meant to me that my teammates recognized I was trying to help them get better all week in a positive way. The award is based  on the the Hard Hat book by Jon Gordon and we are giving the award based on the “21 Ways to Be A Great Teammate”.


“INSIDE THE HEART OF A LYON”  Wheaton College Women’s Basketball Featuring Maria Matrango ‘18 (Blog #2)

Coach: Maria, you transferred to Wheaton over the summer. Tell us what were some things that drew you to look at Wheaton once again?

Maria: Strong academics –especially science since I want to become a nurse. I also really liked the womens basketball program and the overall people at Wheaton. I thought about my first visit to Wheaton and how everyone made me feel really at home.

Coach: You are living on lower campus. Tell us a little bit about your dorm and what you like about the area.

Maria: Lower campus is great. Mostly underclassman live in this area. I love the atmosphere and attitude in the dorms. Everyone says hi and people are friendly and willing to get to know one another. Another nice thing about living on lower is two of my teammates live in my dorm.

Coach: Give us a day in the life of Maria Matrango??

Maria: I usually wake up between 7:30 am-8am depending on the day. I eat breakfast and go to class. I am usually done by 11am.  After that I go and clean my room, I like to be organized and hate a mess. I then do homework before I meet most of the team for lunch in Chase. After lunch I do more homework until practice . After practice we go as a team to eat then I shower and study before bed.

Coach: Favorite meal at Chase Dining Hall thus far?  

Maria: My favorite me at Chase thus far is their chicken stir fry with terryaki sauce. I like it especially because of the chicken and they put as many vegetables in it as I like.

Coach: We have had four practices as a team. What tangible and intangibles have stuck out to you most about this program?

Maria: Some of the things that have stuck out to me this far is the hard work that everyone puts in and the energy that fills the gym with a genuine desire to be there to improve and achieve a common goal is what makes practice and being a member of the team so enjoyable. Another thing I like is that when we are in the gym it seems like that is all that matters to all of us to work hard together and improve everyday.

Coach: Off the court, who on our team cracks you up?

Maria: Ruthie –who is also a transfer and who lives in my dorm as well. I can always count on her to put a smile on my face and make me laugh.

Coach: Who is the most studious?

Maria: I do not think there is a single person that is the “most studious” because on any given night you can walk into Wallace Library and find several members of our team  working homework, studying on  long term assignments.

Coach: Who eats the most in the dining hall?

Maria: Not one person eats the most, after practice we are all hungry and we EAT a lot…..

Coach: Tell us about your classes, major, professors , etc:

Maria: I am a Psychology major with a Pre Nursing track. I want to become a Pediatric Nurse so being a Psychology major allows me to focus on child development to understand what children are going through when I treat them as patients in the future.


BLOG #1: PROCESS - each day is part of the process. Each moment we approach as an opportunity to get better in that process. 

2014-2015 the process brought memories made of much joy and some tears that it came to an end too fast.

This season we have the same approach. We "get better everyday as students, athletes and people". We will define who we are through the process. 

"Hoopin' with Hodgdon" is the title of our blog this year. Every now and then I will blog basically by interviewing a player on our team. This will give you all insight to the student athletes that make up this TEAM as we experience our 19 week season.Stay tuned for week one October 15th......Thank you for being part of our process-

Team Together-
Coach Hodgdon


Heller's Angels (Jan. 16, 2016)